The tenth commandment is very clear: To please God, you are not to desire or set your heart upon anything that will detract your attention from Him.
God uses “things” to test our hearts and reveal what’s inside. He not only uses these things to test us, but He uses other people’s things as well. In other words, how you respond to someone else being blessed says a lot about the condition of your own heart.
How can you tell where your heart is? According to author Robert Morris, from his book The Blessed Life, ask yourself the following three questions:
- Am I looking to God or to people to meet my needs?
- Do I get angry or resentful with people who don’t help me as I want them to?
- Do I blame others for my circumstances?
Depending on how you answered, these may be warning indicators that you’re looking to men rather than to God as your source of provision. When you do this, you not only set yourself up for ultimate disappointment, but you run the risk of becoming prideful.
Pride, Poverty, and Gratitude
It’s important that you discern the presence of a spirit of pride or poverty in your life. And if present, it’s vital to your spiritual effectiveness in God’s Kingdom that those spirits be replaced by a heart of gratitude.
Here are four tests to help you discern the difference:
When you think about your situation in life:
- Pride says, “I deserve more!”
- Poverty says, “I should feel guilty.”
- Gratitude says, “Thank you, Lord.”
When someone says, “You have a nice house”:
- Pride says, “We were going to build a larger one.”
- Poverty says, “It was a foreclosure.”
- Gratitude says, “Thank you, the Lord has blessed us!”
When someone says, “That’s a great suit”:
- Pride says, “It’s tailor-made.”
- Poverty says, “It was half price.”
- Gratitude says, “Thank you!”
When someone says, “That’s a nice car”:
- Pride says, “It fits great in my three car garage.”
- Poverty says, “It’s a company car.”
- Gratitude says, “Thank you!”
You see, pride wants people to think you paid more. Poverty wants people to think you paid less. Gratitude doesn’t care what people think: it only cares what God thinks! When someone remarks about something you exercise stewardship over, just tell the truth and be grateful!
The Comparison Trap
Pride causes us to compare ourselves with others. Poverty causes us to compare others with ourselves.
But what do pride and poverty have in common? They cause us to compare ourselves with others — good or bad — rather than being grateful to God for what He has provided.
Don’t fall into the comparison trap. Pride says, “I earned it.” Poverty says, “I shouldn’t have it.” Gratitude says, “I received it by grace.”
Look at this message that God gave the Israelites before they entered the land of promise:
“And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day” (Deuteronomy 8:18).
The key to resisting the pitfalls of pride and poverty is to remember that we were slaves to sin. The work God has done in us by grace is His blessing on our lives that will produce anything that is good.
Robert Morris is the founding lead senior pastor of Gateway Church, a multicampus church in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Since it began in 2000, the church has grown to more than 39,000 active members. Learn more at PastorRobert.com
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