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No matter how desperate your circumstances are, you probably aren't as bad off as Job was. Satan had done his worst in Job's life. If you read the book of Job, you will see that for some 41 chapters, Job tried to get God to heal him. He was completely focused on his own need the entire time.

Then in Chapter 42, Job finally turned his focus outward. He prayed for his friends. He began to serve the needs of others rather than focusing on his own needs, and the power of God was immediately released in his circumstance. Not only was he healed, but he also ended up twice as wealthy as he had been previously.

In your life, just as in Job's, the power of God will be released when you orient your life toward the mark of service to others. It will heal you, restore you, and provide for your every need. In fact, as you press toward the mark of servanthood, the power of God will open doors of opportunity that you never dreamed existed.

He will exalt you and give you visibility and influence in your community. He will keep on propelling you toward your dream until one day you will look around and find you have arrived at the high calling of God for your life—the place of fulfillment, the place of meaning and purpose, the place of blessing.

This is how pursuing a godly mark helps you to avoid dissatisfaction. It gives your life meaning and purpose. If you press toward the mark, you press toward a higher place in God. And even though your flesh would rather be somewhere else, you can be satisfied where you are, knowing that if you press the right way, things will change.

This is especially important to maintaining your contentment, because all dissatisfaction is rooted in the past. If you couldn't remember anything that happened more than one minute ago, you would have nothing to be dissatisfied about. You could only be excited about what tomorrow holds in store for you.

God Will Not Leave You Helpless
Hebrews 13:5 reveals the second point of view you need in order to overcome the temptation to be disturbed and disquieted. Again, The Amplified Bible really makes this point clear: "Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money, including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions; and be satisfied with your present circumstances and with what you have; for God Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. I will in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let you down (relax My hold on you)! Assuredly not!"

You can see how emphatic God is here. He will always meet your need. He will always take care of you if you will trust Him. When this is a settled issue in your heart, you can be content in whatsoever state you find yourself. It doesn't matter what Satan is trying to do in your life; God said He would not in any way fail you, give you up, nor leave you without support. And don't forget - God said godliness combined with contentment is a source of immense profit.

You Need Time To Grow
The last thing that will help you to remain satisfied is found in Luke, Chapter 2. There you can read the account of Jesus' birth and subsequent dedication in the temple when He was eight days old. From that point on, nothing is revealed about Jesus until He is 12-years-old and Mary and Joseph, after three frantic days of searching for Him, find Him in the temple.

And after this, nothing more is said of Jesus until He is 30-years-old, except for a small but important detail about the child Jesus: It says, "He increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man" (Luke 2:52). In other words, He grew in the things of God.

Now, if Jesus Himself needed to grow up in the things of God, then surely we do too. Many of the things we get so impatient about are simply a matter of growing in God. Many of the "due seasons" that must pass in our lives before we receive from God are directly related to becoming mature enough to handle the thing God wants to give us.

God simply won't give you a huge amount of responsibility that you can't manage. Growth takes time, and just as in Jesus' life, there will be some silent years in yours. Don't become dissatisfied with where you are; just let God continue to prepare you for the next level by pressing toward the mark that He sets before you.

If you find yourself becoming impatient and thinking, "I don't want to wait anymore. I want to do what God has shown me now!" It is a sign that pride is manifesting in you, and you will need to deal with it.

Be patient. It takes time to grow in God. While you grow, keep in mind that God will never leave you nor let you down. Forget what is behind, and keep pressing toward the mark He sets before you. God will see you through your present situation.

You can overcome the temptation to be disturbed or disquieted. You can become a person who remains content. And as such a person, you will be in line for increase in the kingdom of God. Thus the first step to closing the door to pride is to eliminate dissatisfaction and become a person of contentment.

Develop A Heart of Gratitude
The second major thing you can do to drive pride out of your life is stated in Romans 1:21-22: "When they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened." Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. It is important that you see the progression in this Scripture. First, they knew God but didn't give Him glory. Second, they were not thankful and became vain, or empty, in their imaginations. Third, their hearts were darkened, or deceived, and they were in pride by professing themselves to be wise.

The simple truth of this verse is that you ultimately will become prideful if you do not learn to be thankful. Fortunately, becoming a thankful person involves nothing more than making a quality decision to have a heart of thanksgiving, to look on the light side of every situation instead of the dark side. It is a decision to focus your attention on what God has already blessed you with instead of what you don't have.

Start looking daily for a blessing for which you can be thankful. Do this the most when you feel like doing it the least. Resist the temptation to call other people's attention to your situation in order to garner a little pity from them. Just refuse to look on the dark side, and instead find something you can thank God for.

Build upon your foundation of contentment a house of thanksgiving to God for all His blessings in your life. Become someone who has a heart of gratitude, and you will close a major door to pride and deception in your life.

True Humility
The focus of this entire chapter has been on how to close the door to the deception of pride - the mother of all sins. Nothing slams that door as completely as pride's opposite - humility.

If you can learn to truly humble yourself, pride won't stand a chance. True Bible humility is a recognition that without God you are nothing but that with God, you can do absolutely anything - and give Him all the glory for it. Biblical humility eliminates the "me, myself and I" orientation in your life. In other words, it removes selfishness as a motivation for the things you do.

Selfishness is really, in this context, almost a synonym for pride, in that dealing with pride requires you to remove self as a motivation for what you do. This is called dying to self. It is a putting to death of the tendency of your flesh to motivate you to serve your own interests. This is what constitutes genuine Bible humility. Once you have taken self out of the picture, you can really be excited about where your life is going, because then it is God who is orchestrating your life rather than you.

The wonderful truth about humility is that it is the key to walking in God's increase and blessings. If you humble yourself (you have to do this; don't ask God to do it for you) under God's mighty hand, you enable Him to exalt you, lift you up and honor you before men. Then when you are in this exalted position, you give God the glory instead of taking the credit yourself. God's kingdom receives greater visibility and increase as a result of your light shining in the darkness of this world.

So how do you stop being self-centered? How do you come to a place of humility, when your motive is no longer to serve your own self-interest but rather to exalt and magnify God and His kingdom? Jesus, of course, is our primary example of humility.

What mind did Jesus have?

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name (Phil. 2:6-9).

The natural question to ask at this point is, "How do I serve?" Certainly there are things you can and should do as an individual to serve. However, the most basic and most effective way to serve is to make your resources available to the part of the Body of Christ to which God has called you - your local church. God designed the local church to reach the lost and help believers grow into the image of Jesus. The church enables your supply of time, finances and prayer to produce the most fruit for the kingdom of God.

Another way to serve is in your family. Serving in your church may be the most effective way of reaching large numbers of people for Christ, but serving your family will reveal more about your understanding of this principle. Serving those who are closest to you and who know you the best can be more difficult because you are with them a lot more than anybody else is. If Jesus can wash the feet of His disciples, then surely you can wash the feet of your spouse or your children. You can even wash the feet of someone you dislike!

Do it by faith and say, "Lord, I want to be able to serve from my heart. I want the very last remaining bit of pride removed from my life." You will see a miracle happen as the yoke of pride is supernaturally broken off of your life.

Don't allow the "demon" of self to rule you any longer. To close the door to pride once and for all, deal with discontent, become a thankful person and purpose in your heart to be a servant to others.

Source: Doorways to Deception by Mac Hammond.
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers

Author Biography

Mac Hammond
Web site: Mac Hammond
 
Mac Hammond is senior pastor of Living Word Christian Center, a large and growing church in Brooklyn Park (a suburb of Minneapolis), Minnesota. He is the host of the Winner’s Minute, which is seen locally in the Minneapolis area and can also be viewed at winnersminute.com. He is also the host of the Winner’s Way broadcast and author of several internationally distributed books. Mac is broadly acclaimed for his ability to apply the principles of the Bible to practical situations and the challenges of daily living.
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