Bible Study, Musings, Spiritual Formation

The Heart, part2

(Review for Men’s Ministry Series: The Heart of a Man)

The famous Maslow Hierarchy of Needs, starting with “basic” or lower-level needs and moving to the higher-level needs, the hierarchy:
1.    Basic physical needs: food, clothing, shelter.
2.    Security: physical welfare and security of belongings.
3.    Social: sense of belonging, acceptance, friendship.
4.    Self-esteem: accomplishment, respect for self, capability.
5.    Self-actualization: performing at your peak potential.

But others have observed that it’s not the basic needs that drive man, but the higher level needs.  And many believe that the primary need is actually the need to be a part of something bigger than themselves–something signficant.  This makes sense to Christians.

But any legitimate need can be fulfilled in illegitimate ways.  For example, the need for acceptance and significance can lead to manipulation and being overly concerned with what others think.  The need for self-esteem and significance can lead to pride or arrogance.

And while our culture seems to elevate individuals with a healthy pride–or at least tolerates celebrities and athletes with over inflated egos–Scripture paints a different picture.

Our culture values power, Scripture values strength–but a strength seasoned with compassion, which produces a self-controlled strength.
Our culture values self-sufficiency, but this often leads to isolation and loneliness and Scripture paints a picture of inter-dependence.
Our culture challenges men to be in control and to stand out, while Scripture teaches men to be servant leaders.

When we begin to ask the question, “What are the natural or ‘fleshly’ motivations, desires and intents of the heart?” we see three larger categories: pride, fear and strong desire.

While these three are inter-related, feeding off each other and influencing each other–to better understand and deal with our heart issues, we need to spend time looking at each area.

The problem of pride is driven by cultural expectations and man’s yielding to the flesh.
So what should a godly man look like?  How should a godly man deal with pride?

So what should our response be?

Thinking correctly about yourself

Romans 12:3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. (ESV)
Romans 12:16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be conceited. (ESV)

Realize it is a heart issue

Proverbs 3:7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. (ESV)
Proverbs 6:16-19
There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, 19 a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. (ESV)
Proverbs 8:13 The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. (ESV)
Proverbs 30:7-9 Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: 8 Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, 9 lest I be full and deny you and say, “Who is the LORD?” or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God. (ESV)
Proverbs 26:12 Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him. (ESV)

Remove and Replace

One cannot simply stop being proud or arrogant.  This like many (if not all) areas of sin requires a life of repentance leading to a remove and replace process.

 2 Timothy 2:22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. (ESV)

So what do we replace pride with?

Ephesians 4:1-6  I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call– 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (ESV)

What will counteract our tendency toward pride?  Seeing the value of people.  How do we learn to value people? Notice the progression in Ephesians 4.

Understand there is only one God who is father over all–we’re all related.
Understand that one God provided the same salvation you value, to others–they are as special as you are.
Understand that God created us for community which requires maintaining unity, yielding a solid bond of peace.
How can we maintain unity and peace?
By carrying or supporting others in love.
This will require patience.   When do you need patience–when people are not easy to get along with, when situations are not what we want them to be.
How should we be patient–gently.
So humility is the opposite of pride and it is demonstrated in gentleness and patience.

Do you want to overcome pride?  Be closely related to people–carry their weaknesses, deal with their idiosyncrasies. Begin to focus less on less on your accomplishments, your rights, instead focus on their strengths and help them be successful.

This is not easy–but will be rewarded.

In the meantime–enjoy this.

Author: Steve

I love to study the Bible and I love to engage with others in learning. I had been privileged to do this on a regular basis through church ministry and through part-time teaching at a local Bible colleges. Helping individuals learn to feed themselves through their own study of God’s Word is joy-giving to me. Influencing groups to do life and church from a biblically grounded, theologically faithful perspective is my passion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.