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Wash and be clean

And his servant came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? How much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean?'

2 Kings Chapter 5 Verse 13

 

The letter 'I' is right in the centre of two words, 'pride' and 'sin.' There is no doubt in my mind that the sin that plagues me most is pride. From it stems unbelief, murmuring, impatience and a multitude of other faults that make up the person writing these words.

Pride is a sin that must be dealt with on a daily basis. I know of a few fine Christians who have as part of their make up a very short fuse. Their temper can snap for the least thing and it is not a pleasant sight. Yet they are more aware of their failing in that category than anyone else, and many have a real battle to keep their tempers under control.

If we do not make a serious attempt at curbing our sins then God will deal with us in such a way that we will have no doubt as to what He is trying to achieve! Lessons in the school of faith can be very painful indeed!

The Bible tells us to mortify our sins (the deeds of the flesh) and as yet I have failed to accomplish this. I often become disheartened as a result.

Pride is difficult to deal with and almost impossible to mortify! The Lord Jesus Christ is our model and we strive to be like Him, yet I am all to aware of the need of more mortifying, more pruning in my own life.

I truly fear the pruning shears, yet my heart desires to bear an abundance of fruit in this life and I am sensible enough to realise that I cannot have one without the other. I do not ask for the knife, rather I shrink from it, yet I have such an overwhelming desire in me to shine for Christ that I am a bit more willing today to go through seasons of pruning than I once was. Pride will suggest that we do not have need of pruning. Pride tells me that there must be something more to the way of salvation than what is offered.

Pride wants a part of it! Humbly accepting God at His Word sparks a conflict within the soul. Salvation would be far easier for pride to accept if my own works had a part to play!!!!  Perhaps it would have been better for me had I been born in Galatia!

Pride suggests that there must be some good work that I can do to merit God's favour. There must be something that I can do to wipe my slate clean. I just cannot accept that I am - in Christ - perfect in the sight of God and I have had no part to play!

Surely God cannot simply forgive me for all my sins and shortcomings every single day just because I confess them and do my best to turn from them. They are there!! Always with me, sin is part of me and no matter what I do I cannot shake it off.

The Bible and the message of salvation by grace through faith is just too simple to accept!! Surely there must be a catch!

It was all too easy for me to accept God's forgiveness when first I was saved but not now. I wholeheartedly accepted God taking me from darkness to light, and I accepted that the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son cleansed me from all my sins.

That was then! Now that I daily sin against that same Light I find it difficult to humble myself again and again to accept the same blessings! How long will God keep forgiving me?

OH! What a foolish, foolish man I am!

I cringe when I think that my pride dare suggest that my way is better than God's way!!

It is all of grace, all of it! Away with pride, let it sink to the depths of the ocean - and give me Christ alone as He is freely offered to me in the Gospel. I am clean today. I am saved for all Eternity. I do love the Lord with all my heart. I do want to serve Him for the rest of my days. His way is best - and it is the only way.

Pride is a spoiler

Naaman is typical of many who wanted to be saved but will not be! After all, the man held a high-ranking position as captain of the host of the king of Syria. But though he was a mighty man of valour, yet he was a leper.

It is hard to imagine these two descriptions meeting in one person, but that is the way it was. News came to him of a man that could cure him of his leprosy so he headed for the home of Elisha.

What happened next really sent Naaman to the floor - pride in action and not a pretty sight! No way was he going to accept a message from a mere servant and he definitely was not going to dip himself in the Jordan!

It was just too much to ask, he was higher than that, and he was not going to demean himself by following madcap instructions like washing in the river Jordan seven times!
You would think that a man would do anything to be rid of leprosy, but such is the nature of pride that it will not accept what is genuinely best! Ask me to dip in the Abana or Pharpar, my home rivers and I'll consider it, but not the Jordan.

On a similar note, then, why are so many heading to a lost Eternity? The answer is that like Naaman they simply will not accept God's way of doing things. It's rather like  Christians in our days who would be far happier and more productive if we started the day, God's way!
Thankfully Naaman was a man who would at least accept good counsel. His servant pointed out his folly, and pride was eventually swallowed.

And when he obeyed the command he emerged clean! It's the same now. The way that God cleanses can be enjoyed by all who are willing to confess their sins, turn from them and humbly accept that the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross at Calvary was accepted by God as the perfect offering for sin.

The way of salvation is simple. But we are the ones who complicate it.
Is God asking you today to do something great, or is He asking you to wash and be clean?

Author : Iain Mackenzie   Edited by : Pastor Al Moak