What I write about here makes plain sense, but only to the biblical spiritual person. Some are destined to struggle more in life than others by pure virtue that they refuse to repent; and this includes a lot of so-called Christians who’ve never truly been filled with the Holy Spirit.
Those who cannot repent of past or present sins cannot actually know God, no matter how much they go to church, pray or read the Bible. (I suppose a person cannot sustain the vitality of Christian activity without the presence of the Holy Spirit guiding them in any event.)
Our relationship with God is basically contingent on our relationships with others. If we’re estranged from others and we haven’t done all we can to bring healing i.e. if we’re actively or passively living in resentment, we can’t be rightly related with God; we’re grieving his Holy Spirit.
We all know how this feels. We know what it’s like to not forgive, and to struggle to let go. But, what’s at the root of the failure to forgive and repent is the vice or sin of pride. Humility, or feeling for God and the other person, is missing. Humility is the virtue we need before we can know God’s healing and majestic Presence.
We can be sure that God will bring the proud down to size eventually. He scatters “those who are proud in their inmost thoughts” –Luke 1:51 (NIV). God stifles the proud, hemming them in; “I will break down your stubborn pride and make the sky above you like iron and the ground beneath you like bronze” –Leviticus 26:19 (NIV). “In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God” –Psalm 10:4 (NIV). “Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor” –Proverbs 29:23 (TNIV).
In Isaiah, we learn of a nation’s pride, and of that nation’s inevitable fall. “We have heard of Moab’s pride--her overweening pride and conceit, her pride and her insolence--but her boasts are empty” –Isaiah 16:6 (NIV). The result: “But now the LORD says: ‘Within three years, as a servant bound by contract would count them, Moab’s splendor and all her many people will be despised, and her survivors will be very few and feeble’” –Isaiah 16:14 (NIV).
“The Moab oracle is linked with the immediately foregoing ones by its revelation of a real Gentile security in Zion. The fact that Moab lost this [hope of Gentile salvation] through pride links with the Babylon oracle... [Already the Bible is calling forth a time of salvation for the Gentiles]... Pride is not the preserve of great powers [or the last days]... It brings destruction and sorrow in the here and now, standing between the needy and the security they can obtain only by submitting to the... promises of the Lord.”
The spiritual condition of Moab then is the oft-times condition of our hearts now. God never lets us get away with it whether we believe in him or not. His wisdom, which is true to life, turns the proud on themselves. Anybody (believer or non-believer) can tap into this wisdom--the wisdom and justice of humility.
We must somehow realise that God cannot tolerate proud behaviour. This is a literal interpretation of the verse, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near” –Matthew 3:2; 4:17 (NIV). Judgment is brought on by the proud in the here and now, as much as in the final analysis.
NB: “Knowing” God in the context of this article is the ability to experience his Holy Spirit within ourselves; directing, goading, purging, purifying and correcting us.
Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.