I'm working on a series of posts, but they aren't finished yet. That's why I haven't posted anything for a few days. A lot of times when I write something, I write and re-write and re-write. Writing is difficult because one cannot convey facial expression, tone, or voice inflection. Often the spirit of writing can be misunderstood because there is no tone or body language present. I've had this happen to me so often! I write something that I mean to be an encouragement and people take it as being condescending instead. It's HARD to make people see your motives and your heart simply through the written word. I find myself explaining and over-explaining sometimes just because I don't want people to get the wrong impression from what I say.
I used to really enjoy proving other people wrong, especially if I could do it with the Bible. I still enjoy a good debate, but the satisfaction of winning is not the priority now. I guess I've grown up a little bit and realized that maybe I don't have all the answers. That pride of being right is something that God has dealt with greatly in my life. I still think I'm right. If I wasn't I'd be changing my beliefs. However, I now try to keep my "rightness" from making me proud. It is possible to be right and be loving, gentle, and kind when showing the truth to others, instead of being arrogant, selfish, and full of pride. The proud me was the old me. Pride is an awful sin because it doesn't like to go away. Every once in a while it flares back up again. I'll catch myself especially in my writing and think... "Wow, that sounds just a little bit TOO arrogant." Then I re-write :). Maybe when you read my blog posts you think I still sound proud. Haha... you should have read them before I re-worked them! Then you'd think I really have issues.
God gave me a verse a few months ago that greatly convicted me in this area. It was during a time in my life when I was re-evaluating a lot of what I stood for. It was also a time when my faith and my beliefs were being put to the test. I believe God used this trial to strengthen my convictions, but also to show me that my pride was getting out of hand. My pride was actually pushing people farther away from the truth, instead of bringing them closer to it. The passage God used to teach me was II Timothy 2:24-26.
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; (that's the part that hit me... we're not supposed to argue. It hit me so hard, it actually brought tears to my eyes, and if you know me it's pretty hard to make me cry! I guess God can do the impossible :) but be gentle (I emphasized gentle, because my first instinct is to think people are dumb for not believing the Bible... not very gentle) unto all men, apt to teach (apt means quick and ready to teach; that's the part I like because I love getting into the Bible and learning about God), patient (yah, patience is not my strong point either, especially when dealing with doctrinal issues),
In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; (I love this part to because if we are meek and humble when we teach someone who is in some sort of doctrinal error, God will work in their hearts through what we say, and they will see the truth!).
And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. (Anything contrary to Scripture is of the devil. He is the one out blinding the minds and hearts of people. We need to remember these people are deceived, and sometimes it takes much time, effort, good teaching, and gentleness to open their eyes).
God is teaching and continues to teach me. Perhaps you've been reading some of my posts and thinking that I'm pretty arrogant and proud. I try not to be. I am sure, steadfast, convicted, and convinced about the things I say. I KNOW that what I believe is true because I've been assured of it. When my beliefs were being tested God gave me this verse, and it really encouraged me.
But continue thou in the things which thou has learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou has learned them, And that from a child thou has known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (II Tim. 3:14-15). I know Paul was speaking to Timothy here, but I've made these verses personal. I have been taught the Scriptures since I was a child. I have been assured of that which I have learned, because I know they aren't just someone's opinions or ideas but actual truths from the Word of God. I will continue. Sometimes my confidence may seem like arrogance. Really my confidence is faith that what God said is true.