Galatians 6:3-5 (KJV)
3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
4 But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
5 For every man shall bear his own burden.
Am I deceiving myself? When anyone thinks that they am something special or that they have accomplished mighty things by themselves they are deceiving themselves. Others may think they are a special person, or have special gifts and talents, and that is fine. They might see gifts flowing through that person and realize God has blessed them in certain ways, and in their eyes that person is special. But when they start believing that in their special-ness, and start to verbalize that belief, they are in trouble. Everything good that we do and everything we have comes from God. When we start to take credit for it then pride is rising up within us. Pride will always deceive us. We must guard against the appearance of pride in our lives.
You cannot get rid of this pride. It is an element of our flesh. You can only learn to control it, but first you must acknowledge it is there. Until you do that, you have lost the battle. Once you acknowledge it is there, then you can start to guard against it. The best way to guard against pride is to have somebody who will help you watch for it. It must be somebody you can trust and that you allow yourself to be accountable to. It always comes down to your decision to listen or not to listen. In my case my accountability partner is my wife. She sees pride in me very quickly and very easily. She knows when it is rising up. When I went through my struggles years ago with pride I came home and I gave her permission to point out pride anytime it came up in my life and I promised her that I would listen. Through these last 10 years I can’t tell you how many times my pride has crept back up. And every time she has corrected me I have listened.
How can she tell that pride is creeping up? My pride will manifest in several ways. The first is know-it-all pride. I demand that I know better about something and I boast that I know the right way. I demand in my way be listened to despite her saying that it will hurt or it’ll do damage. Or I might diminish someone else’s ability. These are all signs of know-t-all pride. Plus there’s the most obvious one – the person who always says “I Know” when you are trying to help them correct something. They think they know, but since they have not done anything about it yet, they really don’t know. I was there and still find myself there a lot. When I get in these situations, my wife is quick to point them out now. When I listen to her I can look back and see how I was wrong and I go and ask her forgiveness. This is the one I struggle with the most.
Another area of pride is needing to be in control. I was always a very controlling person. I had to have my way, or I had to have my way followed. I want to direct the choir, and I haven’t the foggiest idea what we are singing! But I’ve learned it it’s much better to roll with the punches so to say. It is easy for her to point out when I get controlling because once she says something I usually recognize it right away and I back off. In most cases I have not been given the authority to be in control. Turns out I’m robbing that authority from somebody else. I must guard against this all the time.
These are the two types of pride that I struggle with the most. Some other types are vanity, a haughty spirit (arrogance), unapproachable pride, spiritual pride, and so on. I challenge you to ask God to show you the ways pride rises up in your life. I pray God will send an accountability partner to you that can help you with your pride so that you do not think you are something when you are nothing. The last thing we need to do is to be deceiving ourselves. Because when we deceive ourselves, we certainly deceive others. Deception is never God’s way!
Proving your own work is not prideful. It is showing that we have done the research and done what God has asked us to do. God desires to work through us to accomplish His means not our own. So when you are looking over the works of your hands, the words that come out of your mouth and the thoughts that are in your heart, who gets the glory for those? When you prove these things out, do they bring glory to you or to God? If they are bringing you glory then there is something amiss. But if they are bringing God glory then your work is proven and you can rejoice in it.
I often get many compliments on the beauty of the poems and songs that God gives me and I write down. It is imperative that I do not think these songs and poems come from me. I cannot start to think that I created them. They are not the work of my mind and my words, they are God’s. When I start to think they are mine, I am in trouble. It is then that I will start to accept the glory for myself. It is my obligation to deflect all the glory to God and let people know that these words were given by God and I am just a vessel. Even
Now we come to what seems like a contradicting from verse 2 where Paul writes that we should bear one another’s burden. He now says we should bear our own burdens. But both are true. We need to lift one another up with intercessory prayer and help others through the trials and tests that they face. That is one of our primary calls as Christians – top intercede. Another is the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:11-21). Both have to do with bearing the other persons burden. At the same time we must make sure that we are walking on the straight and narrow. We must be doing what God is asking us to do and not becoming proud or boastful about it. Then we are putting the other person first and not ourselves.
If we are not bearing our own burden then we will find ourselves drifting away from God instead of drawing near to him. There is no middle ground. You’re always going one direction or the other and I have convinced that if you’re falling away from God you’re not bearing your own burden. You’re not studying the word as you should be or you’re not spending time with God In prayer. You’re not praising Him as you should be. You’re taking the glory for yourself instead of giving the glory to Him. That’s what happens when you don’t bear your own burden. These are all things that you should be doing on a regular basis. And you should be doing them with joy but God loves a cheerful Giver. He loves it when you give yourself to him wholeheartedly.
Through your day today remember to bear your burden and bear your brother’s burden. Imagine if you’re bearing his burden and he’s bearing yours on a daily basis! When trouble comes, you are there to help each other through. When the storms arise, you offer a safe haven to talk and weep about the pain and suffering that is going on. When it’s time to rejoice, you rejoice together. Neither of you think of himself as better or superior, and n either of you take credit for the success of the other. That goes to God! This is how it should be. This is the love of Christ manifesting itself in our lives.
That’s really all Paul is after here. He wants us to follow Christ, and give of the love that He gave to us. Let us all go and do so!