“You’re a liar,” the man said to me. His words and the power of truth were like a sword, thrust through my heart. What made matters worse was that we were in church and everyone was listening.
It all happened many years ago when I was a relatively new believer. A friend had invited me to attend a meeting where a well-known, traveling minister was going to be speaking. If I had known what I was about to get into I would have never opened my youthful mouth.
“Before we close the meeting tonight, are there any questions?” the minister had asked. Somehow, I had found the strength to lift my hand.
“I’ve been struggling with pride,” I said. “I know, that of myself, there’s nothing I can do about it—God is going to have to change me. I was wondering though, if you might have some advice about overcoming pride.”
“Yes, I do,” the elderly gentleman said as he looked at me with discerning eyes. “The word I have for you is not an easy one. Do you think you’ll receive it?”
“Ah, yes, I think so,” I said.
“It’s a hard word but an effective one. Are you sure you want it?” he asked again.
“Yes,” I said bracing for the unknown. And that’s when the words, “You’re a liar,” slid out of his mouth like a dagger from a sheath. Thankfully, the minister didn’t leave me there, standing in my pain for long.”
“Brother,” he said in his thick British accent. “I’m not here to embarrass you but to help you. The message you’ve just received is an important one for us all. You said that when it came to your pride you knew that there was nothing you could do about it. Well, that’s not what the Bible says at all.” He then went on to explain that according to the book of Romans, Chapter 3 and verse 4 that every man is a liar and only God is true.
His point was simple. Anytime our thoughts don’t line up with God’s, it’s always we who are not telling the truth. That’s why he was able to call me a liar. I must admit that it was comforting to find out that in the context I’ve just mentioned, every one of us is a liar. It wasn’t just me.
On the issue of pride, I had said that there was nothing I could do about it. Little did I know the truth. 1 Peter 5:6 says this: “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:” You see, I had been believing a lie. God doesn’t humble us—we must humble ourselves. Yes, God resists the proud, and, He may allow us to be abased, but walking in humility is our responsibility.
Just like our lungs were meant to breathe, so our hearts were meant to humble. By the way, humility is not some outward show, marked by a certain demeanor, but rather, it’s the fruit of having a proper estimation of ourselves. It’s just that simple. Humility is little more than walking in the truth. So, if my heart puffs up, and believes that I’m something great apart from the grace of God, it’s my job to pull those vain thoughts down, not God’s.
I have to tell you, as piercing as those words of truth were; they’ve done more to help me in my walk with Christ than hundreds of well-crafted, sermons. Though I still struggle with pride at times, at least now I know what to do about it.