COUPLES WORKBOOK - Chapter 1
I AM A "HARD HEAD" AND HAD TO LEARN THE HARD WAY TO DEAL WITH MY PRIDE
Our story begins in Puerto Rico where I was serving as a liaison officer to the Puerto Rican Air National Guard. Shortly after we arrived, we began attending a small mission church and I was asked to teach a Sunday school class. Since I had grown up in a Christian home and gone to Christian schools, I gave the appearance of knowing a lot about the Bible. Unfortunately, I only had a lot of "head" knowledge about the Bible but no experience.
In college I had gotten in with a very worldly, "unchurched" crowd. I dropped out of church and fellowship with the Lord and remained backslidden for ten years. Then, in 1967, I settled down to marriage and a decent life and was ready to take my place as a "good Christian." However, I found that, as I taught the class, the Lord began to deal with me about all of the proud, wicked, and disgraceful things I had done as a swinging bachelor. I was being a hypocrite in leading a double life. One night I could not take it any longer. I knelt by my bed and begged the Lord to have mercy on a wretch like me. I confessed the sins my conscience brought to my remembrance and asked the Lord to forgive me and turn my life around. I totally surrendered my life to Him. What great peace and joy flooded my soul as I felt "clean" on the inside for the first time in many years!
Then the Lord put me in the school of the Holy Spirit. One of the first lessons that He began teaching me was about pride and the need to receive the grace of humility. I began to realize how prideful I was as a Captain in the Air Force and that I needed to receive the grace of humility. One day a sergeant at the site where I worked teased and humiliated me, and I felt I did not deserve to be treated so. I pulled rank on him and "chewed him out." That night, I lost all my peace and joy. The Lord began to deal with me about humbling myself and seeing I was a sinner. I deserved hell for my sins and Jesus took that hell for me, but I was still deserving of hell even though He had graciously pardoned me. I did not have to go there. This little bit of humiliation that the sergeant gave me was nothing compared to the hell I really deserved. I knew that I needed to ask the sergeant's forgiveness. I asked the Lord for help because I had never humbled myself like this before. I said, "Lord, if you want me to ask him, please enable me to do it when no one else is around." When I went to the site the next day, I went to the sergeant's office where there were usually a lot of men. But that morning, there was no one around. I knew the Lord was nudging me to go ahead and apologize. My heart was beating like a jackhammer, but I plunged in and said, "Please forgive me for taking advantage of my higher rank and humiliating you yesterday." The sergeant said I did not need to apologize and that everything was OK. I told him that normally I would not apologize, but that I had become a Christian and the Lord wanted me to. Well, he never teased me again; but he sure did watch me from then on!
During the three years I was stationed there, I was able to lead several of the men at the site to the Lord. But painful lessons had to be learned first. Pride certainly goes before a fall (Proverbs 29:23). The Lord was to teach me this basic truth in many ways. When the Lord sees our pride, He takes us into the valley of humiliation. Pride hates humiliation and says, "I don't deserve this. I am too good for this." We become angry and offended at God and others. At this point, God can give us the grace of humility which says, "I am a sinner and deserve far worse than this; I deserve everlasting punishment for my sins. This little bit of humiliation is nothing compared with what I really deserve!" The children of Adam and Eve do not think with humility but with pride. This is unfair! I had a lot of pride to deal with and the Lord had many humiliations in store for me.
Psalm 18:27 "For You will deliver an afflicted and humble people; but will bring down haughty looks" (Amplified Bible).
Proverbs 11:2 "When swelling and pride come, then emptiness and shame come also; but with the humble-those who are lowly, (who have been pruned or chiseled by trial) and renounce self-is skillful and godly Wisdom and soundness" (Amplified Bible).
Proverbs 16:18-19 "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of a humble spirit with the meek and poor, than to divide the spoil with the proud" (AB).
Romans 3:9-12, 13 "...all men are under sin ... None is righteous, no, not one. ...no one seeks out God. All have turned aside; ...no one does right, not even one! All have sinned and are falling short of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives."
Romans 6:23 "For the wages which sin pays is death (hell); but the (bountiful) free gift of God is eternal life through (in union with) Jesus Christ our Lord" (AB).
Have I had a true conversion experience?
Have I really dealt with my sin in repentance and turned from my old ways?
Or am I still continuing in my sinful habits even though I may be active in a church?
Have I humbled myself in the valley of humiliation and truly surrendered my life to the Lord, so that I follow His guidance in all that I do?
Am I seeking the grace of humility in the humiliations I am going through right now, or am I reacting with offended pride?
Preface, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12,
Ephesians 5: 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 5: 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.