Joseph the Carpenter, Husband, and Father

Knowing the Voice of God

Solemnity of Saint Joseph – Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Monday, March 19, 2018 – Fifth Week of Lent

23 “Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord and not for your masters, 24 since you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you serve the Lord Christ.” – Colossians 3:23-24 New Revised Standard Version, Anglicized Catholic Edition (NRSVACE)

He who knows the voice of God is truly blessed, he who hears and obeys the voice of God truly knows the grace of God the Father.  It could be said that Joseph, husband of Mary, Father of Jesus knows the voice of God. It could be said that his faith led him in such ways as to accept the unacceptable, believe in the unbelievable, and love and forgive despite the harsh and stiff laws of man. There is nothing more rewarding than to rise up and confront the world in its most terrible of moments with God’s courage, conviction, and love as Joesph had done. Joseph for all his flaws was a man of deep faith and courage. He loved with his heart and listened intently to each word from the lips of our God in heaven and rightly in the Bible (Matthew 1:19) Joseph is described as a righteous man. Moreover, Joseph was the type of man who not only wanted to do what was right for others, but also to do those things in the right way.  We know that Joseph listened to and could understand God. But listening is just one part of the total action of Joseph, for he also obeyed our Lord. So, let’s walk together, my brothers and sisters through the story we all know concerning Joseph and his four dreams.

The Birth of Jesus the Messiah

First Dream – Joseph the Husband: (Matthew 1:19-25) Joseph was engaged to Mary and she came to him telling him about the ‘Immaculate Conception’, knowing the baby was not his and did not want to get her in trouble with the law chose to dismiss her quietly. But God had other plans, for he sent an angel to Joseph in his dream, assuring him that the baby was of God and that Joseph was to name him Jesus. But above all Joseph was to take Mary as his wife.

Question ‘What does Joseph immediately do after waking from this dream?’ 

Answer: That’s right, Joseph does what he was told to do without any reservations. In addition to this, he also makes sure Mary stays a virgin until Jesus is born. In this way, Joseph plays an essential part in the plan of salvation. 

The Escape to Egypt

Second Dream – Joseph the Protector: (Matthew 2: 13-15) While still in Bethlehem after the birth of Jesus once again we read that Joseph was asleep and an angel of God appeared to him in a dream forewarning him of King Herod’s plans to kill every male child the age of two and younger. The Angel instructs Joseph to go to Egypt and wait there until told to come back.

Question ‘Again what does Joseph immediately do after waking from this second dream?’ 

Answer: That’s right, Joseph does what he was told to do without any reservations. Again, setting it up for scripture to be fulfilled – ‘Out of Egypt I have called my son.’

The Return from Egypt

Third & Fourth Dream – Joseph Loyal Servant to God: (Matthew 2:19-23) This time once again came to Joseph in a dream telling him to get up and go to Israel, but when Joseph heard that Herod’s son Archelaus was ruling over Judea from the fourth and final dream, Joseph became concerned and thus changed their destination to the district of Galilee, settling in the town of Nazareth. In doing this Joseph once again fulfills yet another prophecy concerning Jesus, ‘He will be called a Nazorean.’

Ok, I’m not going to ask the same question and give you the same answer as the first two times, however, it is painfully obvious that Joseph is both listening and obeying God’s every command to the letter. Joseph exhibited some core characteristics of a righteous man in his actions above that I would like everyone to take note of;

1.) Joseph exhibits a great deal of confidence in the angel’s messages, always immediately do what was being requested of him without delay.

2.) Joseph exhibits an enormous amount of faith in that his dreams were indeed inspired and from an angel of God. This is also recorded in, (Luke 2:41-42).

3.) Joseph exhibits a real maternal fatherly roll over Jesus in that he not only acts as a protector but also caregiver during those first days.

Scripture also tells of Joseph and Mary having other children of their own, (Matthew 13:55), but moreover, Joseph taught Jesus how to be a carpenter, (Mark 6:3), this is certain as it was the Jewish custom for fathers to pass down to their sons their trade and training at the age of 12 for this is a known Jewish custom, therefore Joseph becomes a teacher in the training of his son’s to be a tektōn (τέκτων), Greek for artisan/craftsman, in particular, a carpenter or wood-worker or builder. Following Jewish customs we also know that Joseph was very religious as scripture also records that Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the temple, once every four years. So, we can conclude Joseph had an immeasurable influence on what religious message Jesus received under his tutelage. I would like to think that Jesus used some of the lessons His step-father had taught throughout His ministry. So, with these additional character traits my brothers and sister take a moment and reflect on Joseph as a father figure;

4.)  Joseph as the legal father of Jesus taught him a trade, that being a carpenter. This would allow Jesus to earn money and provide for his family once Joseph had passed on.

5.) Joseph instructed Jesus in matters of religion as a member of the Jewish faith. Thus, Joseph takes his family to the temple every four years.

In these ways, Jesus was taught life skills as well as how to practice his religious customs. I have heard by several priests that out of every person on earth God could have possibly chosen to raise His son, God chose Joseph, from the House of David, again fulling scripture, (Isaiah 9:6-7).  With all these admirable traits Joseph as Saint is looked up to for his characteristics of loyalty, commitment, labor, selflessness, humility, honorable, chivalrous, and as a brave servant leader.

Saint Joseph – Patron of Use All

Pope Pius IX proclaimed Saint Joseph the patron of the Universal Church in 1870. Having died in the “arms of Jesus and Mary” according to Catholic tradition, he is considered the model of the pious believer who receives grace at the moment of death, in other words, the patron of a happy death. – Foley, O.F.M., Leonard. Saint of the Day, Lives, Lessons, and Feast, (revised by Pat McCloskey O.F.M.), Franciscan Media, ISBN 978-0-86716-887-7

Referring to Saint Joseph, Pope Leo wrote, “[h]e set himself to protect with a mighty love and a daily solicitude his spouse and the Divine Infant; regularly by his work he earned what was necessary for the one and the other for nourishment and clothing…” – Quamquam pluries, (August 15, 1889), in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Veneration of Saint Joseph is believed to have started somewhere around the year 800 A.D. referencing Joseph as ‘Nutritor Domini’, or (educator/guardian of the Lord). Saint Joseph believed deeply in the dignity of the human person, in the family, in sacrifice, and in the love of service to his community and to God. Because of his qualities as a believer in God, he also is the patron saint of families, fathers, expectant mothers (pregnant women), explorers, pilgrims, travelers, immigrants, house sellers and buyers, craftsmen, engineers, and working people in general. The following countries and cities claim him as their Patron Saint as well, Americas, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Croatia, Indonesia, Mexico, Korea, Peru, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Finally, as there are special payers said for Mother Mary, there are also the same for Saint Joseph. These prayers within the Catholic Church focus on the seven joys and seven sorrows of Saint Joseph which include prayers for daily protection, vocation, happy marriage, happy death, and hopeless cases; specific prayers, novenas, and devotions include the Prayer to Saint Joseph and the Novena to Saint Joseph.

Saint Joseph indeed emulated the words of  (Colossians 3:23-24) in all that he did, he was the perfect model of a servant leader, embodying the what it meant to be a father, teacher, husband, believer, and most importantly of all a protector. There is no better a person to be your personal hero and patron. Saint Joseph is the one man who helped preserve the salvation story fighting earnestly for Jesus, for Mary, and for God. Today my brothers and sisters take time and join in with the world and celebrate Saint Joseph, Husband of Mary, through the INVITATION TO PRAY. 

LETS PRAY

ANCIENT PRAYER TO ST. JOSEPH

Over 1900 Years Old

Oh, St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the throne of God, I place in you all my interest and desires.

Oh, St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession, and obtain for me from your divine Son all spiritual blessings, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. So that, having engaged here below your heavenly power, I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers.

Oh, St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you, and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press Him close in my name and kiss His fine head for me and ask Him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, patron of departing souls, pray for me.

Amen.

May the Lord bless you, protect you from all evil and bring you to everlasting life.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Saint Joseph, Pray for us.Sancte Ioseph – ‘ora pro nobis,’

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Listening Faithfully Blog written by Brian K. Stark © 2009-2018

 

Acceptance of the Unchangeable Thinks


8  “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8  (NRSVACE) 

My brothers and sisters in Christ, I say to you… I hear your voices, your many pleas for things I cannot provide you. Instead, I offer these words of wisdom: In times when our lives spiral out of control or when people with power over us decide to do ungodly things or when rudeness through favoritism overcomes that special place in associates hearts; know your place and stifle your frustrations, choosing instead to do what is good.  For what will come from a confrontation when the other person or members of a group have already twisted your words or have bore falsely against you?  For I say to you if they have done it once what is stopping them from doing again? Instead, let the love of goodness overtake you and give your frustrations to God. Therefore, goodness in your hearts will be preserved in the eyes of our Saviour, our actions will then have confirmed the sacrifice of the cross.

A wise man once offered this prayer; “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” ~ Reinhold Niebuhr

Remember my brothers and sisters in Christ, that when walking with God you have serenity, love, peace, forgiveness, absolution, from God; therefore you are blessed and made holy. Let not temptation bring you down by allowing your mind to be filled with the many things you would like to change but have not the power to make happen. Let not your heart be deceived by the actions of a few who would lead you to ruin. Instead, make preparations for only those things you have the power to change, and when you take action let those choices be filled with goodness done for the sake of holiness only.  Fill your heart with courage to make the tough choices, to take action on them, to carry out fully the goodness of the needed change. Forget not to pray to our Lord in Heaven, asking Him alone for the path which you must follow and be confident that God will give you the wisdom to tell the difference between what you can and cannot change.

6 “For wisdom is a kindly spirit, but will not free blasphemers from the guilt of their words; because God is witness of their inmost feelings, and a true observer of their hearts, and a hearer of their tongues.” ~ Wisdom 1:6 (NRSVACE) 

Thus, my brothers and sisters in Christ, your obligations have also been given to you through the Holy Spirit which loves kindness and who is gentle to the people of God. Stay away from those who curse the Lord, those who have filled their hearts with hypocrisy,  walk away from the blasphemers for all these individuals will be judged accordingly. Rest assured the twisted words and actions will come calling upon them and for the holy – such as you – my brothers and sisters, for you surely do not want to see this judgment when it comes. Hence walk away and be confident in the power and uprightness of our God. Know there will always be those who profess to be Christian and thus dwell among you the faithful flock of God yet they are truly sent by Satan to do the work of evil; be aware of whom you speak to, befriend only those you can trust and have professed their faith in public. For God hears all, sees all, knows all, and will give you the rights to make only the changes which he wills to be changed that which fits within His overall plan for your life. Therefore, you have heard it said,

14 ‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.’ ~ John 14:1 (NRSVACE)

Amen,

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Special Posting: Veterans Day 2012 (Thank You For Protecting Us)

“5 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” ~ Galatians 5:1

Service

On this day I stand before the world and I proclaim that God is our master and He alone set us free, but it is through our will and His love that we remain free and that we never fall back into slavery. As a veteran myself I heard the most power call to serve my nation, to lay down my worries, my wants, and my desires and to stand in the face of evil with my fellow brothers and sisters of this nation and protect our sacred right of liberty and freedom which our founding fathers carved out for all of us. I do not think it a joke or something frivolous in which our elected officials use our collective might for their own political gain, but rather for the honor bound promise God has entrusted with this nation to protect freedom, to give every person no matter from where they come the right to live in peace and be free of the horrible yoke of slavery. It was these sets of principals I joined the United States Navy in 1991 and it was the most rewarding experience and one I held as the highest of honors to serve this great nation. So on this veterans day I solute all of our men and woman who are currently serving our nation, putting their lives in harms way day and night, every day of their enlistment. I solute those members of our armed services who serve here in the states in both the reserves and in the Army NATIONAL GAURD who without your support our troops could not have done what they have accomplished thus far in all the conflicts around the world. In reflection the United States is the most powerful country on Earth, we have the largest force ever assembled in history and it is by the shire service our brothers and sisters who voluntarily serve which makes this nation the greatest of any nation ever in the history of the world. Our nation was founded upon Christian values, God is on our currency, Christ is in our blood, and it is this which makes our armed services unique because we fight for the singular purpose backed by these words from our Constitution;

“We the people of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” ~ Preamble of the United States Constitution, September 15, 1787.

Duty

“17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” ~ 2 Corinthians 3:17

No one can convince me that America is not worth fighting for, no one can turn my convictions from my land, from my love. I know God is with me, I know He is in the land that which I dwell, because there is written the proof of His Almighty love, power, and might. I have His sworn oath of duty in my hands, in my heart, and in my life. Because there is this promise in my country I know God is here in the United States of America and in all other nations which prize freedom above all other things. Freedom is upon my lips, freedom is the word that comes forth like a sword of vengeance against all who wish to oppress others, for I have seen God in our Armed Forces, and in our  military might. Every citizen has the duty to uphold God and this promise, we all share in the burden to defend our liberty. No one be them male or female has the right to take from the land without swearing and oath to protect that same land which he or she took from. I say to you live in this way, with these promises and your life will be blessed with abundance. Serve with this duty in your heart and this becomes your shield when the fight becomes ugly. Our services members serve with such honor and I solute all those who have fallen in the duty of this great nation.

Responsibility

“13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” ~ Galatians 5:13

On this day remember your brethren who has gone before you who also served, who also was called to freedom and to be free. Remember the oath you

took and serve with responsibility to never take advantage of others who are defenseless and weak.  This is the directive every service member serves, and is also what makes our nation so great. We never fail to leave our brethren’s behind, we never fail to answer the call of our allies in need, and we never fail to remember our loved ones and the reason why we serve with such ammunition and vigor. Though our services members serve far from home, it is their humility which raises them up from the plateau of  greed, sin, violence, and merciless plunder,  and allows our nation to free people from around the world who have called upon our might which is blessed by God.

On this veterans day 2012 I want all veterans to celebrate your service, your sacrifice, your will to lead, and your dedication to our great nation and to all people whom we protect from tyranny. May God bless you, your families, and continue to bless the United States of America.

Amen

 

Reflections 2: When We Follow Him

“24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 16:24 – 25, NKJV, Pp.952).

Our Lord Jesus Christ is so direct, so cunning with His words I think sometimes we hear them, read them, and can even feel the emotion behind each and every phrase that he spoke, but somehow we fail to allow his message to sink in and really touch our souls. I feel we erect a barrier, a shield of shorts around our hearts that allows nothing good in, which prevents His healing touch to really work the miracles in our lives in the way they were intended too.  As I reflect upon Our Lord Jesus, His message, His longing for us all to put down our troubles and worries and pick up our cross, I have to also suggest that the faith Jesus exhibited in God is what gives meaning to His words, to His message, to His command to Follow Him.

I am also led to the conclusion that Jesus’s message was delivered in such a way that for those men and women who heard his voice, touched his skin, and who had the privilege to hug and interact with Him, they understood exactly His intent, for the message was crystal clear. Some of them, as some of us today just refuse to submit to Jesus. In fighting this unwinnable battle of wills we are also fighting against God our father in heaven. In propagating this strength test of sorts somewhere down the line we make a conscious choice. Some of us rebuke God because it is an easier road to follow, leaving our cross to rot where it is. Still others are so horrified that it is our very life we are required to willingly sacrifice that we simply panic and do everything imaginable to save it, condemning ourselves in the process.  But the majority of us are like Apostle Peter, we have no problem with the sacrifice of our own life, if it would mean Jesus didn’t have to die, and as innocent as that may sound it was against the very purpose of Jesus Christ being here in the first place, because through our death, we die a sinner, a rebel, and are ultimately separated from God Our Father. So to Peter, Jesus replied the only way he could and in doing so he also was talking to every man, women, and child that would ever live on this planet.

“22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!’ 23 But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men” (Matthew 16:22 – 23, NKJV, Pp.952).

To follow Jesus we must commit our souls to Him completely, lay down our own wants and desires and follow Him with absolute faith, without question of where He is leading us. It is this requirement that separates the people of God from every other people in the world. It is this one prerequisite that keeps the people of God focused on the end game, thwarting any distractions.   Yet, some of us can hear His calming voice, but with our eyes we see the enemy coming closer and like Peter, we become fearful which leads us to become irrational and then we sin before God.  I find this response to be ironic, because Peter knew as did the other disciples, as we all know today, why Jesus was headed down the road that he freely chose. Yet, even armed with this knowledge Peter still allowed fear to momentarily blind him making him unable to accept the truth of Jesus’s mission. In retrospect Peter was coming from a place of earthly concern, fooled into believing this concern for Jesus was coming from a place of love. In allowing this Peter momentarily allowed Satan in, and Jesus saw it, heard it, and was responding to it. In that moment, Our Lord was also responding to each and every one of us each time we allow Satan in, speaking directly to our immortal soul as he cast Satan out.

“26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own soul?” (Matthew 16:26, NKJV, Pp.952).

As I have stated before and will state again, it is righteous to have a healthy fear of God and a massive amount of respect for Him. For it is with His grace we continue to multiply, to live, and be so blessed. It is because God loves each and every one of us that we exist at all. It is so mind-boggling to me that some of us are so lost, so hungry for God’s love and yet run so fast in the opposite direction. Grant-it for many it is out of ignorance, but for those unlucky people who continue to practice willful disobedience in living an immoral, offensive life that which is chalked with sin, so much so it physically destroys them and hurts everyone around them, while ignoring God’s many pleas, for them we must pray for Gods mercy. For in all they do, in all their efforts they have accomplished nothing, for we are nothing when compared to God, as all things are accomplished through Him and by Him alone. I know God must really shake his head in wonder every time He looks down from heaven, hearing our many complaints, requests, and cries for help, only to turn the other cheek when He presents us the answer. Truth is Jesus asked this very question over two thousand years ago when He frustratingly announced;

“26 But why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46, NKJV, Pp.998).

Jesus went on to explain the many differences in a person’s heart that does what he says, from one who does not in the following two verses, and as straight forward as His commandments are, none of them was as direct and as skillfully aimed at our human hearts as when he said over and over to the multitude, “Follow Me.” He said it because we are lost, and within Him, through Him we are found.

I am constantly inspired by those of us Christians who confess their faith and live a day-to-day life filled with God’s commandments, but I morn for those who live their lives as they see fit, absent of remorse while skillfully executing their own set of faulty morality. I can tell the unmistakable difference in a person who is filled with love from God, from one who is filled with love of self. The person filled with the love of God is peaceful, and holds a heart that strives to do good not for themselves, but for those who are around them. In their presence you feel safe, secure, and at peace, because they are humble before our God. But the person filled with selfish ambition and blind, reckless greed, well for them they betray their own self-serving intentions by the words that come from their diseased hearts.

Challenge question: Now that you know what is required what will you do in your own life today to honor God our most deserving Father?

Amen

If you have been moved by this blog I humbly invite you to leave a message telling me your thoughts and how this reflection has touched you. May peace and love be with you all the days of your life.  May God keep you and bless you.

Reflections 1: The Sin of Pride

” 1 And God spoke all these words: 2 I am the Lord thy God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. 3 You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20: 1-3, Zondervan NIV Study Bible, p.116-117).

I begin this new series of reflections this Sunday, April 18, 2010 called the Sin Series with this most basic, but important of commandments delivered to Moses by God, to illustrate how we are fooled into sinning in the first place. I want to introduce you to a world that is at war, but one we do not see with our own eyes, one that is fought for the ownership of our immortal soul. God clearly stated who he was, and what he wanted within the commandments which he delivered to Moses. God stated clearly through profits that were to follow in the many years since what he wanted from us. God has clearly warned us not to believe in anything other than his words, his promises, which he has faithfully kept. He tells us like we tell our own children not to do this, or that, but like our children we rarely listen. We are all guilty before God, we are all unworthy before God, and that also includes Lucifer, hence the need for Lucifer to go to war against God. To prove who is truly greater, but the one thing Lucifer forgot in starting this war was one very simple thing, he is not God, and Lucifer was created, God was not. Nevertheless Lucifer is remarkable in that he has a silver tongue, one which fooled one third of all the angels in heaven to rebel against God. (For a visual that would be like looking up at the night sky and watching one third of all the stars in the heavens fall before your very eyes.) So it is no wonder why we sin, if we are consistently tempted by Lucifer the great deceiver, right? But wait, before you get to righteous in this defense, remember you are held accountable for all your sins before God.

“10 You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. 11 It is written: ‘As surely as I live’, says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God”  (Romans 14: 10-11, Zondervan NIV Study Bible, p.1768).

“1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 ‘Honor your father and mother’-which is the first commandment with a promise- 3 ‘that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.’ 4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6: 1-4, Zondervan NIV Study Bible, p.1768).

Within these words of the Bible, God has commanded all of us to obey him, male and female, adult and child alike. But Lucifer within the creation of sin, through pride, stood opposed to God, thus paving the way to convincehumanity to rebel also out of pride. This is his first and most favorite trick, that of pride and it is the sin which turned him form an archangel into Satan. Interestingly there is a list found in the Bible of all the things God hates, the chief thing among them is that of being too proud;

“16 There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17  haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, 18  a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19  a false witness who pours out lies, and a man who stirs up dissension amoung brothers”  (Proverbs 6: 16-19, Zondervan NIV Study Bible, p.967).

If you look closely all these things come from pride, all of these things are an accurate description of the original sin of Lucifer which turned him into Satan. Saint Thomas Aquinas wrote a book called Summa Theologica, though unfinished it explores this chief of all sins, in which he writes; “I answer that, some say pride is to be taken in three ways. First, as denoting inordinate desire to excel; and thus it is a special sin. Secondly, as denoting actual contempt of God, to the effect of not being subject to His commandment; and thus, they say, it is a generic sin. Thirdly, as denoting an inclination to this contempt, owing to the corruption of nature; and in this sense they say that it is the beginning of every sin, and that it differs from covetousness, because covetousness regards sin as turning towards the mutable good by which sin is, as it were, nourished and fostered, for which reason covetousness is called the “root”; whereas pride regards sin as turning away from God, to Whose commandment man refuses to be subject, for which reason it is called the “beginning,” because the beginning of evil consists in turning away from God” (Aquinas, T. , Summa Theologica: Part I of Second Part Q. 84 Art. 2). Thus through reason, the exact opposite of pride is humility, within that you have Satan as the opposite of Jesus Christ.

St. Augustine of Hippo wrote, “‘Pride is the commencement of all sin’6 because it was this which overthrew the devil, from whom arose the origin of sin; and afterwards, when his malice and envy pursued man, who was yet standing in his uprightness, it subverted him in the same way in which he himself fell. For the serpent, in fact, only sought for the door of pride whereby to enter when he said, ‘Ye shall be as gods.'”7  (Shaffle, P., Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 1887, p.132).

I know in my life when I have got a bit full of myself, I have always felt a change take place, a transition of internal control from myself, to Satan. When I have become prideful I get caught in whatever I am doing. God has always been quick to send someone who points my false belief out in spades. I am always quick to respond, and ask for forgiveness, and offer my gratitude in his wisdom and patience. Likewise God has always been quick to bless me, and to show mercy. This interaction with God is unique only to God, as Satan on the other hand is incapable of forgiveness, or mercy, because Satan turned away from God in rebellion, we to turn away in rebellion. Pride ushers in though more than just an act of rebellion, or thinking oneself better than God, but allows the heart to become drowned in other emotions such as, arrogance, impatience, intolerance for others, and the lack of forgiveness. All which attack the heart squeezing from it every ounce of God given love. This is typically known as the hardened heart, and a baron, fruitless, lifeless place where there is no happiness, or joy, leavening behind instead a soul which is in pain and starving. It is an absolute take over, and Satan does not take prisoners, nor does he give back what he has stolen, and the sin of pride comes from within us, but originates from Satan.

“(In saying this, Jesus declared all fools “clean”), 20 He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean’. 21 For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean” (Mark 7: 20-23, Zondervan NIV Study Bible, p.1539).

Knowing these things then how does one keep from this sin, keep from falling into this trap set by Satan?

The most important thing to remember  in dealing with pride issues, is the acknowledgment that nothing is truly yours as God gives you everything, from cloths on your back, to the food on your table, the money you earn, to your wife, husband, children, friends and family. There is nothing God does not have something to do with in your life. Each accomplishment was granted by God, each achievement was his blessing to you.

“9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself; ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men-robbers,evildoers, adulterers-or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even lookup to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18: 9-14, Zondervan NIV Study Bible, p.1607).

The exact opposite of pride is humility.

“Those who praise themselves will be humbled. Those who humble themselves will be praised.” (Lost Gospel Q: Q 67, p.67).

There is a fine line between being to prideful and being proud in the good things God does for us, celebrating and glorifying God. There is a difference between saying you did this or that, giving yourself praise, believing in your heart that you made the accomplishment happen, and that of saying God gave me this accomplishment, he allowed it in my life. The difference is that one gives glory to self, and the latter gives praise to God. The first is pride fullness, the second is humility. It is easy to be prideful; it is easy to destroy and to celebrate self. It is much harder to believe God grants all things, and to fall upon your knees and give him praise for your good fortunes in life. It is much harder to create and maintain your relationship with God; it is way too easy to turn away and to celebrate self, which is a sin.

Amen

If you have been moved by this blog I humbly invite you to leave a message telling me your thoughts and how this reflection has touched you. May peace and love be with you all the days of your life.  May God keep you and bless you. Amen.

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For more information about sin and Lucifer please purchase the book Listening Faithfully: Sin Series now available on Amazon Kindle Edition.