Love and Pride Cannot Co-Exist

1 Corinthians 13:4
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud…

Written by: Patty Esposito

It’s so easy for me to want more, to show off more, or to desire to be more. If I can get just this one last thing, it will make me happy. And if I’m truly honest with myself, I want that one last thing to make me look more impressive in front of my friends and my community.

Proverbs 16:18-19 says, “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. Better to live humbly with the poor than to share plunder with the proud.”

Ouch! That hurt! Do you see the connection to what Paul is teaching us through the verse above?

The definition of pride/proud reads: to puff up, have a big head, excessively high opinion of oneself or one’s importance. Do you see it? Love and pride cannot co-exist if you’re truly walking hand in hand with Jesus; It just can’t happen. If we’re living with a prideful heart, we are objects of our own selfish love. It’s when we live in humility that we learn to love and serve others in a way that honors God. A person who wants to be holy and filled with Godly love will not be concerned at all with the boosting of his own needs.

Devo Relationships 8.21Thought of the day: Ask the Lord each day to help you see beyond your own needs and remove any form of pride from your day. Remember He says, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” – Matthew 6:33

Prayer: Heavenly Father, strip me and purify me of my pride. I humbly bring to You repentance and sorrow over this stronghold. Humble me to be used only for Your glory and honor. Amen.

What’s in a Name?

Romans 8:15
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

Written by: John Esposito

What we call each other in our relationships often indicates the level of intimacy we have with one another. For me, those that are business associates or casual friends generally call me by my proper name—John. But those who know me intimately, like family members or very close friends, call me Johnny. The more informal version shows a certain level of comfort and intimacy.

In Romans 8:15, the scriptures call us adopted kids of our “Abba, Father.” The level of love and intimacy portrayed here is that of a child and their daddy. To think the mighty God of the universe can be called upon by a term of endearment—Daddy—is indeed very comforting. My Daddy loves me and is interested in all areas of my life. He loves intimate conversations through prayers, worship, and praise. He loves to hear us call Him Daddy and desires intimate time with us on a daily basis.

Devo Relationships 8.20Thought of the day: Think about the special names you share with your spouse, family members, and close friends. Meditate on the thoughts of joy and intimacy that come when you say or are called by those names.

Prayer: Father, hallowed be Your name. I praise You and thank You for calling me Your child, having adopted me into Your family. Thank You for being my Daddy, who I can share my most intimate thoughts and needs with. Amen.

Search Me and Know Me

Psalm 139:23-24
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Written by: James Rogers

On some level, I think most of us believe we have life figured out. Unless there is a glaring failure or mistake, we tend to move through our day with the idea that we are the hero in our stories and the people we don’t like or trust are somehow the villains. Sometimes we are the hero in our own story. And if we’re not careful, sometimes we can also be the villain. How do we know the difference?

Today’s verse challenges us to open our hearts to God. We can’t always see the offensive ways in our own character. We all have blind spots. This passage came from King David as he invited God to test him and to know his heart. He was willing to hear the truth. He was willing to be corrected. He wanted to go in God’s way everlasting, which meant he wanted to be right with God in all things. He did not want a stone to go unturned.

Devo Relationships 8.19Thought of the day: None of us are perfect. We all have faults and God wants to lead our lives as we become more like Jesus. This verse is an expression of humility. It’s an act of laying down our obsession with being right, while simultaneously opening our hearts to correction. Why would we want to do this? So that we have a right relationship with God and a right relationship with others. That is the work the Holy Spirit wants to do in us.

God performs this function in our lives as we read His word, pray, and spend time with Godly others. We need to be open to God and His work in our lives. We need to pray for wisdom and discernment. When God brings wise people into our lives, we need to welcome and explore their feedback. God might use someone else’s correction to get at something we are struggling to address.

Proverbs 27:6 says: “wounds from a friend can be trusted…”

It takes humility to accept this type of feedback, but loving accountability from honest and trustworthy people is a blessing.

Prayer: Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Give me wisdom and courage to be the person You want me to be. Bring people into my life who offer Your truth. May I be more like Jesus every day and may You receive all of the glory. Amen!

Meekness of Wisdom

James 3:13
“Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.”

Written by: Russ Ripley

In 2 Chronicles 1, we read about Solomon and how God appeared to him in the night. God told Solomon, “Ask what I shall give you.” I sometimes wonder what I would ask God for if He asked me. Wealth, fame, good health, or long life? What would you ask God for if He asked you?

In verse 10, Solomon answers God by saying, “Give me now wisdom and understanding to go out and come in before your people, for who can govern this people of yours, which is so great?” Because Solomon asks for wisdom and not the things I might have asked for, God gives him wisdom and all of the other stuff. Solomon is then known by his wisdom.

Do you know someone who everyone knows is wise? Someone who everyone goes to when they need answers? I was blessed to know someone like that. Everyone in her family and circle of friends would go to her when they had an issue on which they needed wisdom. Why would so many people go to this one woman for answers? Because she always spoke the truth (wisdom) in love (Eph 4:15). Her willingness to help others always came from a heart that loved them and wanted the best for them, even when the truth (wisdom) she shared was difficult. It came from a heart that loved God and loved others.

Devo Relationships 8.16v2Thought of the day: Do you know someone who others look to for wisdom? Is their wisdom rooted in meekness and a love for others? Jesus modeled this kind of wisdom.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to seek Your wisdom and understanding. Help me to always seek the good of others when I share Your wisdom. Thank You, amen.

I’m Sorry…What Did You Say?

James 1:19-20
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

Written by: Matt Swartz

I am by nature someone who can be defensive when it comes to conflict. When things start heating up, I shift into a mode where I listen only to formulate my response. I know this is completely unhealthy. But I also know it comes from a place in me that says self-preservation is the most critical mission in life, which suffocates the ability to really listen when things get messy.

Here is the problem with thinking self-preservation is the critical mission in life: It doesn’t leave room for growth. This defensive posture makes the faulty assumption that my point of view is 100 percent accurate and cannot be challenged. It flies in the face of this challenge from James 1 which says listen first, respond carefully, and avoid anger. This verse deeply impacted my defensive posture because it said that proving I am right is not my mission in life.

Devo Relationships 8.16Thought of the day: When it comes to your relationships, how would you grade yourself on how well you listen? Do you listen to respond or listen to understand?

Prayer: Jesus, help me today to make the choice to be one who listens well in all my relationships. Amen.

His Wisdom vs. Our Wisdom

1 Corinthians 1:26-31
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

Written by: Alfred Burgess

In this passage Paul says, “Think of what you were when you were called.” Most of us were probably not notable according to the world’s standards. We were not born into wealthy families. We might not claim a huge social media following or have achieved multiple degrees that mark our intelligence.

But God does not choose His children because of their outward appearance or status: “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise.” What does this have to do with the gift of wisdom? Paul is reminding us that God’s wisdom and His way of thinking do not align with ours. What the world admires is not the same as what God holds valuable.

In saying yes to Jesus and being made new, we have been given access to His divine wisdom. Through Jesus, we are made right with God and set apart. We are holy! If we are to boast of anything in this world, we are not to boast of our wealth, degrees, or popularity. Our value is based solely on our connection to Jesus. In Him, we are chosen and given wisdom, confidence, and a certain future.

Devo Relationships 8.15Thought of the Day: Thank God today for the precious gift of wisdom given to us through Jesus.

Prayer: God, help me to see Your ways and make wise decisions. Help me to know when I ask You for wisdom, You will grant it. Help me to believe You always desires the best for me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Encourage One Another

Hebrews 3:13
But encourage one another daily, as long as it’s called ‘Today’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

Written by: Gina Rock

If you were to step into my home, you’d see quickly that I have an affection for houseplants. They are tucked into corners or displayed on shelves. I love the life they breathe, both figuratively and literally, into our space. There’s a learning curve to helping houseplants thrive. I’m no expert, but because I love my plants, I invest time in them by watering, pruning, researching, and enjoying them. I’ve seen firsthand the toll that a season of neglect can take on them. They may droop or wither, their soils’ nutrients might deplete, or they may become a complete casualty. The latter has happened more times than I’d like to admit.

If the life of a simple plant requires so much effort, wouldn’t it make sense that the living, breathing people in our lives may benefit from our investment as well? We live in a world where stress, sickness, sadness, and loneliness are very real things and can deplete our very souls. But we serve a God who is the Creator of all life, the living water, the light of the world, and He cares intimately for each of us.

Devo Relationships 8.13Thought of the day: As we read Hebrews 3:13 about encouraging one another, I wonder who are the “one anothers” in our lives that need to be pointed to or reminded of a God who loves them and can sustain them? Are there people in your family, neighborhood, workplace, gym, or social settings that are thirsty for truth and encouragement? A simple kind word, a verse, a prayer, a smile, or any act of love can point them to a good God who can heal, love, and make well again.

Prayer: God, thanks for loving me and caring for me. Give me eyes to see those around me that need encouragement and to be pointed to You. Amen.