He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40:2 (NIV)
Once upon a time, a long time ago, (much longer ago than I’d like to admit) I attended a summer camp. The particular summer I am recalling is most unforgettable. There is something about nearly drowning in a lake that leaves a lasting impression on a person.
All campers were participating in a “how long can you tread water with your clothes on – survival drill”. (No, this was not a prison camp… more like girl scouts, but I tell you what, it was not for the faint of heart!) Shortly after confidently catapulting my young self into the lake off the dock, I inconveniently found myself ill-equipped in the area of treading water. I however was too prideful to cry out for help. If it had not been for the watchful eye of a camp counselor willing to intercede on my behalf…
I wouldn’t be here to relay the top two things I learned from that experience. (Aside from the fact that becoming a Navy Seal was not to be in my future.) First, I believe God was telling me the pride in me needed to die before it ended up killing me.
Pride comes at us in every possible imaginable form. Why? Well, Scripture tells us God resists the proud (1 Peter 5:5-6). Of course the enemy will do everything in his power to tempt and trip us up on our own pride, creating distance in our relationship with our Heavenly Father! God gives grace to the humble so let’s beat the enemy at his own scheme and enter our moments in humble submission to our God (2 Cor. 2:11). How? Proper focus. We don’t need to think less of ourselves, just think of ourselves, less; fixing our gaze on Jesus and His Word of overcoming Truth, consistently (Heb. 12:1-3).
The second thing that sunk into my water logged brain that day, was to be like that camp counselor; someone that sees the need AND steps in.
Jesus is our Wonderful Counselor (Is. 9:6) and has never lost sight of even one who is struggling, lost, or even on the verge of “drowning”. As a believer in Jesus as our Savior we have His Spirit within us, the greatest Counselor of all time and all His sessions are free (our God already paid the price)! He is willing to teach, guide and lead us (Ps. 32:8). He longs for each one of us to come to a saving knowledge of Him.
Is the pipeline through which He speaks to us plugged up with foolish pride?! Are we willing to notice what His eyes notice and to move as His hands and feet would? Are our minds and hearts soft enough to change and conform to His (Rom. 12:2); to take a different perspective or new approach to things or people (Ez. 36:26)? Sometimes the struggles are not obvious, and there is no audible cry for help. We need God Almighty to lead us, giving us His understanding and ways (Is. 55:8-9). Are we willing to step out in faith trusting that as we humbly offer our availability to God, He will step in as our perfect Ability (availAbility)?
Ask God to kill the pride that would keep us from a close relationship with Him, that we might draw near to our Wonderful Counselor and receive the saving grace He so lavishes on the humble. A grace we can in turn freely extend to one another.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (NIV) For the Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.” Luke 10:10 (NIV) …and aren’t we glad He did!!! Praise our most Wonderful Counselor!