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These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.
Proverbs 6:16-19 NKJV
http://bible.com/114/pro.6.16-19.NKJV

As men of flesh, we are very good at coming up with laws, at coming up with rules and lists of DOs and DONTs. We are even better at trying to measure and compare them to decide which one is worse than the other. We are good at coming up with grand ways of talking about and examining wickedness in detail and elaborating upon it in our words.

But how good are we at eliminating it from our lives on our own? Is your life free from pride, deceit, anger, envy, gossip, and dissention? I can’t say that mine is yet when I examine myself closely. There are still areas of my life that can be changed and improved,  that can see the touch of deliverance.

One of those areas is my attitude towards my job. For several months, the expectations of my job grew completely out of hand, to the point that it was beyond unreasonable – it stepped right into the level of ridiculous. It ran me ragged with little to no sleep for weeks at a time. It kept me at work unexpectedly for 33 hours straight. It greatly impacted my ability to operate properly as the head of my household with my family and as the servant of the Lord in my commitments to minister the gospel.

And my job continues to be a fiery trial,  as pressure is always on to either compromise my integrity by participating in things that are immoral and illegal that “everyone else does” (in the words I’ve heard repeatedly from some eager to devise evil plans and participate in deceit if it will earn them a little more mammon).  And up until yesterday,  I thought the fiery trial was having to deal with the amount of hours and the interruption to my life and the temptations to compromise my integrity or not stand my ground and speak truth even when it isn’t what others want to hear.

But no, that was the diversion of the enemy so that he could attack from another position. You see, the real trial was that I was slipping into pride. I was seeing things as “them against me”. I was seeing it as their evil plans against my crusading to do what is right. And I stepped right into the trap of righteous indignation – of pride.

And what is first on the list in Proverbs 6 but pride.

Yes, I try to be strong and bold and I still find those areas in my life where I fall short because I’ve slipped off of that narrow path of loving God and loving others. I encounter the very trials and persecution promised to the blessed, and then I react in the weakness of my own flesh instead of relying upon the strength of God. I open my mouth and my untamed tongue testifies to my foolishness.

A much younger friend at work and I were talking yesterday and I was sharing my frustrations when he said something that rocked my perspective – he said,  “You’re being sharpened.” Such a simple statement.  Something that I knew in my head as a biblical truth. But it was something that I wasn’t applying in my heart with respect to my job. I found my heart in opposition to those in authority over me at work.

Pride. I found myself right in the middle of something the Lord detests and considers abominable. And how did I get there? By comparing and examining what someone else was doing – by looking at a speck in their eye past the log of pride in my own. But that message that my coworker shared with me that was the familiar voice of the Word of God. I immediately recognized the voice of the Good Shepherd,  and  it’s power healed my blindness and I could now see the log in my own eye. I could now recognize the area in which I need to be humbled and corrected. And it was all through the encouraging words of a fellow believer who saw me struggling and had the heart to share love.

You see, there are traps all around us. But even those traps can serve as either chains and burdens we drag along with us, or we can be delivered from them by learning how to recognize the tricks of the enemy and avoid them in the future. If we aren’t learning how to disarm and avoid the traps,  we are carrying unnecessary burdens along with us. But by helping each other, we can break those chains together.

I’m so thankful for my friends who share encouragement. You never know when a simple word of encouragement is the exact message that God is sending to one of his blessed children. As the angels tread up and down Jacob’s ladder looking for a vessel to deliver the message, I encourage you to share that encouragement and love v today. You never know what chains may be broken and what burdens lifted.

Praise God for the body of believers, loving and encouraging one another. Praise God for the daily lessons of humility as I examine my life and am changed in His hands,  as I lay down more of those things that are poisonous and fruitless in my life,  and as I learn to let His light shine.

Have a blessed day,  friends.