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Taking a good hard look at myself

April 30, 2010

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:7-10

This morning I received an honest and rather blunt email from a friend I value greatly, in it they shared that something I had written (not on this blog) was arrogant and offensive.  My first reaction was actually to smile at this amazing friend, who has a really wonderful gift of telling me how things really are, and through this pointing me towards God.  Actually my friend is a prophet, she speaks the painful truth and in turn points me to God.

And my prophetic friend is right, I had been rather naïve and somewhat arrogant, and yes I unfortunately have a tendency towards arrogance.  With her stinging rebuke ringing in my ears I took off for a walk through the bush, taking some time to chat with God.  While I walked, James 4:10 came to mind: Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. I headed for my caravan office (see photo below!) determined to come to grips with this amazing passage.

The key message for me is the importance of humbling myself, which in the greek literally means to bring low, that is, to realise who I really am, to notice my many shortfalls, to strip back the exaggerations and face the bare facts about me.  And when I face the cold reality I realise how much I need God.

I need to submit myself to God, to come under the influence of God in every aspect of my life.  And this happens through honestly facing my shortfalls, such as my arrogance.

My arrogance comes from a deep seated need to please my father, it is completely illogical as sometimes these things are (my dad is very proud of me and we love each other very much).  And this manifests in seeking the approval of others, and I do this by showing off.

So today I wash my hands and purify my heart: I take the decision to reform, to abstain from needing approval from others.  I realise that my strength comes from the one who created me, my assurance from the one who will lift me up.

I cannot be double-minded and seek approval from the world and from God, I choose God.

I praise God for this challenge and for my prophetic friend!

God bless,

Mark

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Yahweh’s Yarn in a Year : 1 year Bible reading plan

The Portion for next two days is: Jeremiah 17-21 and Mark 11-12

(I don’t post on my saturdays, so two days provided).

To access the complete plan for the year click here.

This is me in front of my new office for my company Global Scope Media, and where I spend time in the Word and studying – yes a caravan!  Love it!


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60 Comments
  1. Joshua Lewis permalink

    Hello my name is Joshua Lewis that message I just read really touched my heart because I struggle in the same area. Thank you for that message. God has been trying to really deal with me in this area and two weeks ago I lost my job because I allowed arrogance, boasting, and pride get in the way. So thank you again for this message

    God Bless
    Joshua Lewis

  2. I NEEDED THIS FOR MYSELF.I THINK GOD IS GOING TO DO A “NEW THING” AND HE IS GETTING US READY.AWESOME.I LOVE YOUR PAGE..GOD BLESS

  3. Pearl Watson permalink

    I have the same problem, but mine stemmed for a need to always be in control, depending on no one except myself. God had to humble me and I became disabled and totally dependent on others. I still had to work through my pride and arrogance and become humble. I will share this, I’ve found it’s a life long battle. I’ve been in this battle for over 20 years, but it gets easier the more I submit myself and sacrifice myself, transforming my mind all according to Rom 12:1,2, every single day, putting on my spiritual armor as well. I have found that as I do this every day, I find myself growing closer to Him and further from my own selfishness. I hope that I have been able to give you some encouragement as you encourage others.

  4. That testimony really changed my life as well! As you spoke about trying to please others by showing off, I saw myself too. I am also inconsiderate because I always expect certain ppl to do things for me. I repent and turn to GOD my father for forgiveness and to spend more time with him!! Thank you for that testimony!!

  5. Great word Mark, especially the last sentence about not being double minded by seeking approval from both the world and God!

    What a challenge this is to me, as I still find myself conforming for approval from other’s.

    So humility is the cure!

    I heard a great quote the other day that I think you will like.

    ‘Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less!’

  6. Claire permalink

    Thankyou Mark for your honesty and humbleness in sharing this. Recently I have been left in charge of a group of people at work and got highly irritated when some of them made errors in their work and felt that their mistakes demonstrated that I was inadequate. I asked Father God where this came from and a memory came back from my childhood when I used to be left in charge of my brother and whenever he did anything wrong we both used to be punished often hit and be made to go without a meal. Sometimes he would not listen to my pleas to behave and would carry on leading to more punishments. My sister who wasn’t living with us at the time has recently become a Christian and no goes to my church. The way I have dealt with this in the past is to bury it never talking about it and to distance myself from my siblings and my father as life does not hurt as much that way. However this revelation has left me in pieces and scared to talk with God about it as I will not be able to put a lid on it all any more. Yet I know that this has to be resolved and I have to humble myself to God and give this to Him. Thank you Mark your post has helped provide some guidance for me today. Be blessed .

  7. Hi Mark, Thanks for sharing this with us. It was a blessing for me. 🙂

  8. ronnie fowler permalink

    oooo bro brown what a revelation..submit is the key word in my life when i came to christ i bought hundreds of books of many and as the keep stating resist the devel and he will flee..but totall incomplet as it says submit..thanks for your work and blessing to you..ronnie fowler ark..usa..

  9. Eghosa David Obaseki permalink

    It is a quality in great men to allow introspection regularly. You are a great man Pastor Mark and an inspiration to me. Keep up the good work of GOD.

  10. Brad permalink

    Hi there, my name is Brad Mortensen.
    I am a 14 male from New Zealand and I have just recently started reading your blog, I can’t remember where I found it. It may have been some advertising or something. But I feel that God is amazing as every single blog you have put up is in exact relation to my life.
    Thank You Mark and God Bless
    You are a blessing to this world
    BRAD

    • Kia Ora Brad! I spent 6 years living in Wellington!! Now back in Australia. God bless ya bro. Mark

  11. John Whaley permalink

    Mark,
    Thanks for the challenging word! I needed it! I am going through some difficult times in my life right now that God is using to refine me; causing me to take a hard look at my life from His perspective. It is both painful and refreshing at the same time. I totally identify with the “need for approval” struggle you face. However, mine comes from not having a strong relationship with a father who I believe does not know Jesus and so wanting to have a strong relationship with him.

    Thanks again for being sensitive to the Holy Spirit. I wake up each morning looking forward to what God has to say to me through your blog. It has been a great source of encouragement to me as a man who simply wants to be like Jesus!

    Be Blessed!
    John

  12. Kevin J. LeBoeuf permalink

    I’ve just started receiving these devotions and I want to say thanks for spending time with the Lord and His Word..It shows through your writings..I really needed that today on arrogance..I’ve never seen myself in that light before and no one (but my wife) has ever said anything of that nature to me before..BUT, if she sees anything remotely connected to arrogance, pride or anything else, then it’s time for me to do some soul-searching and get with the Lord..Today will be a fresh start–“I CHOOSE GOD…” I like it already..”Get thee behind me Satan…..” Just wanted to say thanks..

  13. Heidi Guttermuth permalink

    Thank you so much for your share. I find when things start crumbling for me is when I have put myself before God. When I humble myself, as you said, things fall into place for me and there is peace. I draw closer to God.

    May God continue to bless you in your ministry.

  14. Suzanne McClere permalink

    Thank you again, Mark, for letting us share in what God is showing and teaching you every day! Because of what you are doing we are all growing closer to God.

    Sue

  15. Abegunde Timothy permalink

    I have realy for some time now been studying my self on pride.I discovered that I am very proud,but rather people use me as example of some humility.Ah,I discovered that deep within us all,we are battling with pride.

  16. Bruce Musalika permalink

    Thanx Mark, the only fact that you dare post this testimony here proves that you are really a humble man because you are not afraid of exposing yourself to help others, I pray that God help me to be humble as well, true humilty

  17. Linda Gowan permalink

    I skimmed this blog quickly at first because arrogance is not something I struggle with – oops, right there you know it IS a problem! That bit about “showing off” nailed me… As soon as I start thinking about how humble I am I know I am being prideful… It’s a vicious hamster wheel of deceit the enemy has us spinning on at times! So thank you again Rev Mark for being honest and real before God and with us, this is a blog I will save and re-read often =)
    God bless!
    (PS-love the caravan office – for me that would feel like going on vacation to spend time working for the Lord… totally groovy!)

  18. joan permalink

    hey mark,
    recently i have been really drawn to research the way the satan is using the music industry to cast spells on people through subliminal forgive my spelling please) messages and such. there is so much information out there and I was wondering if you would be able to maybe go over ways to protect yourself from temptation and ways to keep Jesus in your hearts and thoughts always. I am so scared for the world because I feel liek there are so many people out there who have no ideal the spiritual war that is being fought all around them. I would love some information on this as we are in the end times. I would also love to get advice on how to prepare myself mentally for all that is comming, and also if you have any tips on how to open peoples eyes to the truth and bring them to Jesus without sounding preachy. Any help is appreciated.

  19. I am so blessed by your wisdom, brother Mark. I am so grateful!

    I have a request. Could you get your websites tweaked to show your photos or graphics in both Safari and Firefox? Thank you!

    Our Lord’s Blessings!
    Diane in Novato, CA

  20. pramod permalink

    Dear mark;

    Thanks for this beautiful message, believe it or not last week Saturday something so similar happened to me too. i was at church and someone similar spoke the same thing to me. i went back, took some time off and was looking into my ways and found that i too was in a way looking for approval. i just know that you were meant to write this for people like me and i know i was meant to read this!! praise god.

    HOWEVER THE REASON FOR MY REPLY WAS TO CLARIFY A DOUBT!! i don’t remember when or where, but i remember hearing that John the baptist was the last of the prophets. we are all covered under the title of SAINTS and APOSTLES and our gifts, the gifts of the holy spirit!!

    hoping to hear from you at the earliest!!

    all prayers and love.

  21. david dunn permalink

    Thanks for your hard work, that let us know we should continue growing, learning and praying for our soul. God Bless You.

  22. Garry Thomas permalink

    WOW, this one really hit to the core of me this morning. I too have always seemed to seek the approval of others. I never received it from my dad and I find myself needing to be the center of attraction, the focus of everyone and first in all that I do/the winner. This has set me up for extreme disappointment over my life and just as early as last week the Lord has been dealing with me to, and I quote the Spirit, “Shut up and be STILL and Trust the Lord”. This is how GOD has to talk to me, rather blunt and straight forward. I have been following this Journey since it has begun and have really enjoyed some of the things you have written, but this one exposed me for the defective person that I am.
    Thanks Mark for your transparency!!!

  23. Rai Lynn Allen permalink

    How did you know I needed to here this? Lol My whole life has turned upside down this past two months and came crashing down yesterday due to my arrogance, temper, meddling, and my wicked tongue. I hope I can remember
    what you wrote today and learn. Thanks

  24. Tom Stephens permalink

    What? No coat and tie? You look way too comfortable. LOL Hope your day (or night as the case may be since we are about 12 hours apart here in Texas) is so full of JOY you don’t know where to turn to pass it out next. Thanks for all of your posts. God bless you.

  25. Hosanna M. permalink

    This seems very inspiring for keeping up with God. Here in Africa not a lot of people are aware of such sites. I have just signed up and I love it, its Awsome. Everyone out there, never lose your faith!!

  26. Caroline Smith permalink

    This is another one that I needed to hear. My shortfall is my anger, and I am beginning to come to grips with it. My husband pointed out to me all my shortfalls yesterday when we were talking about my anger. We have even talked about me getting control of my anger and how hard it would be for me to do so because i have been at it for so long. However, we do identify that I am slowly starting to calm down. God is still working on me with this short fall.

  27. Carla permalink

    Mark, Thank you for sharing this blog. I’m not arrorgant, but I do tend to try and please other people b4, pleasing myself. I need to humble myself in many ways, and this blog, was another way of God telling me what I need to do. Thanks again

  28. Karen - Omaha, Ne permalink

    I am very touch and humbled in what everyone is saying.

  29. Shundra T. Jones permalink

    I am going through right and I know that things are going to get better for me I just have to wait patiencely on the lord to do his work in my life. God has been so good to me that we that blessing come that I just thank him for it to were I know that everything is going to be ok.

  30. Julie cowley permalink

    Caroline, be encouraged, and ask God for help, I know he will heal you. He did me.

  31. Ushi Augustine permalink

    Hello mark, thank you so much for your message. Honestly i was touched when i read your message. I use to be arrogant and proud, and there was no humility of any sort from me. I even find it hard to wash my own cloths and clean my house. I often implore the assistance of my friends and neighbours who i give money, then i stood and watch. i find it hard to relate with people, my cousins and neighbours. I see them as low to my level. Now, i have lost my job and i sit at home doing nothing. Now, i have realized my mistakes and i have made up my mind to have a total change, to humble myself before God and also turn to him. Please pray for me.

    Regards,

    Austin

  32. Joanne Heatley permalink

    whoa that touched a nerve ouch!!!!
    Thanks for your most timely word Mark.
    We all have areas that need refining and I’m finding God using the situation I’m in to refine those areas in me!!!
    I even asked a few days ago what was happening, and wondered what I’d done to seemingly lose His protection, to which He replied that He was refining me through these events.
    I would really like to be refined quickly as it hurts!!!
    Please pray for me x

  33. Arrogance, we all could use a bit of humility. Thank you Pt. Mark for reminding us that we need the Lord to remain humble. In some instances, he uses people who love us to kindly place before us in a mirror our crooked ways.

    The Weather Ahead: Tools for Understanding and Sharing the Scriptures.

  34. As I’m sitting here looking over your blog and the comments, I start noticing that God has been dealing with a lot of people about pride and the things it produces like selfishness, envy, jealousy, etc. God has been dealing with my heart about this. I remember when I first asked God about 2-3 years ago, what was producing jealousy in my life and he responded “Selfishness” and I later learned that Selfishness is a fruit of pride. I cried like a baby, but God’s loving words came to me and said “I correct and discipline those I love.”

    I thank you for sharing this with all of us, and my prayer is that, just as God exposed our pride before our very eyes, I pray that he breaks it and uproot it from out of our hearts in Jesus name! Be encouraged that “He who began this good work will carry it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:6)

    Also here are some scriptures that can be of help to our overall deliverance of pride.

    “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Prov. 16:18)

    “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45)

    “Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth- a stranger, not your own lips.” (Prov. 27:2)

    “Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but a person is tested by being praised” (Prov. 27:21)

    “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” (Phil. 2:3)

    “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;” (Ps. 24:1)

    “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Gal. 2:20)

    “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” (Colossians 3:23)

  35. Thank you Rev.Mark for sharing your experiences with the world each time you send out these posts.I’m sure that all of God’s children who are called by His name need to take time to take inventory of our lives and humble ourselves before the Lord,we may not be aware of it but we all have some flaws.
    Continue to spread the word as the Holy Spirit leads you.

  36. Avianca permalink

    Hi… I struggle with this daily. I am a female mechanic and have been installing tires for the last four years. In my other two jobs I am the only female and most of the time I work harder than my male counterpoints. I am constantly showing and proving. Always seeking approval from them… and I do realize this. Lately, I often catch myself and begin to pray for forgiveness from my Father, Whom I know I should only be seeking approval from because He’s all that matters. And yet, I still seek the world’s approval. I have fallen so far and I am going through so many things right now that is harming me emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically. It is affecting every aspect of my life. I know it is because of my pride and arrogance. I am breaking and I know I need to break in order for my Father to use me in His Own Fashion. I am not out of His Reach. And for that: I am grateful. I have hope… I have faith… Although at times these falter, I know my Father loves me. This will NEVER change; His Love NEVER falters. As my struggle continues, I reflect on King David. His life story expressed through the Bible guides me. The Shepherd’s Seed has deep roots. Thank you Mark and all who have shared. The struggle and the path is hard but His Approval is well worth it. I love y’all.

  37. Sister Pam OP permalink

    I do spend far too much time thinking of myself. Did I say the right thing, do the right thing, what did I do wrong, is it good enough and on and on it goes. The devil constantly inserts doubt into my mind. Submitting to the Lord and bowing low will help break this dangerous cycle.

  38. Lydia Reyes permalink

    We are all a work in progress. As our sister Pam said , We have to submit to God by humbling ourself to him. He knows us better than anyone in this world. As we continue to stay focus on him and not on ourselves we get to find out the areas we fall short. It is so admirable of Pastor Mark to be open in sharing alot about himself in these post,even his downfalls.There are so many encouraging comments that come thru this site and I thank God for all of you. The love of God is strongly felt.

    • Sister Pam OP permalink

      Dear Lydia,
      Like you, I am so thankful for the members of this blog and Father Mark for bringing us together. It’s great to read the comments to gain additional insight into the scripture and encourage one another. God bless you.

  39. Demy permalink

    I don’t know why, but I was listening to this song, and it reminded me of this blog! Enjoyyy(:

    • Sister Pam OP permalink

      Dear Demy, Open our eyes to truth, a good message. There is much in this song and video that both Muslims and Christians can appreciate. We worship the same God who created heaven and earth. Life is incredible!

  40. Kathryn Delaney permalink

    James 4: 7-10 “TAKE A GOOD HARD LOOK AT MYSELF”

    Thank you Mark, great to see you enjoying your time with the Lord in your caravan, funny, as we used to have a wonderful time as children holidaying with mum, dad and my 4 bros and sisters in caravans, and I used to live in a large one with annex at Port Macquarie New South Wales, Australia, (sorry if you are Oz as don’t know where you are from yet), when my first child Christian was 1 year old.

    That scripture is fantastic and I felt so encouraged and also rebuked by the Lord through reading the devotion about it…. yes, I wonder sometimes why I am depressed and down and feel guilty about it, but it’s true, we need to go through this sometimes to learn to get over ourselves and our sin, and lack of trust in the Lord…. then the Lord blesses us with the great times when we go through the testing of trials and tribulations.

    Praise God for devotions like yours, great to spur us on with pure spiritual insight!!!! Hallelujah and Praise the Lord,

    God bless to you and your family,

    from Kathryn and my family

  41. Deji permalink

    I needed this always wanted to have people’s approval,always wanted people to call me good,hard working
    Please pray God helps to deal wt this other problem self loathing n inferiority complex n at times the reverse.

  42. Robin Yap permalink

    I thank God for letting me read this. Keeping myself humble has been my struggle for many years. I keep on lifting myself up and even telling people “make stories” about me. I am struggling up to this moment on keeping myself humble. I know that God gives multi-talents to those people he can use for His glory but I sometimes lift myself up instead of Jesus’ name. I want this kind of attitude to be renewed by God into a new attitude that will lift Jesus in my life. I ask for your prayers. I know that God deserves all the glory and praises.

  43. Nancy M Nichols permalink

    Mark, Good Morning… I almost always take time out to read and reflect on your Journey Deeper devotions, and really like that I am able to view them from my cell phone. It’s like “devotion in motion”, and sometimes what seems like roller-blades. Thank you for blessing all of us with your ministry. I also have a request. I am currently working on an International Non-Profit Organization registration with a Corporate Attorney from my home state of Kansas, America. Would you be interested in endorsing a Mission Support project with Seed 2 Sow? Thank you, Mark. Be blessed – Be loved – Be HUMBLE.

  44. Sherri Sopher permalink

    So blessed by an ‘humbled’ by your daily testimonies. Thank you for your honesty and transparency, and may you be lifted up!

  45. Sharon permalink

    Ouch. I struggle so with this also, but don’t seem to be going forward. I try too hard to fix things myself instead of allowing the Lord to heal me of problems like this. Thank you so much for sharing. It is an encouragement.

  46. EDITH L WERDEBACH permalink

    AS I WAS READING THIS RESPONSE FROM YOUR FRIEND, IT WAS AS IF SHE WAS TALKING TO ME. I AM REPENTING OF THIS. LIKE YOU, ITS JUST THAT I WANT SO MUCH TO PLEASE MY FATHER…SOMETIMES I GO OUT OF BOUNDS WITH MY WORDS..THEY COME OFF AS BEING REALLY OFFENSIVE… REALIZING NOW THAT ITS ACTUALLY MYSELF WHO NEEDS TO BE HUMBLED…THANKS SO MUCH FOR THIS REVELATION. U SEE IT DOES NOT MATTER WHO U R…CORRECTION IS SOMETIMES NEEDED ESPECIALLY WHEN ONE MAY NOT REALIZE THE POWER AND ILL EFFECT WORDS CAN HAVE ONE OTHERS. THANKS FOR OPENING MY EYES!!!

  47. GAIL MEDWID permalink

    I ADMIRE YOUR HONESTY. MY HUSBAND AND I HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT THESE HONEST WEAKNESSES.. WHILE PAINFUL WE TOO REALIZED THAT ONLY GOD HAS OUR ANSWERS.
    ONCE A LIGHT BULB IS ON YOU, THE ONLY WAY IT CAN BE DEALT WITH , IS IF WE BELIEVE IT IS WRONG. ONLY THEN CAN GOD GIVE US MEANS AND WAYS TO DUMP WHAT I CALL GARBAGE.
    I AM SO GLAD YOU CCAN OPENLY EXPOSE YOURSELF LIKE THIS BECAUSE IT GAVE ME HOPE FOR US.
    LOVE YOU IN JESUS NAME.

  48. Wow, reading your blogs are a breath of fresh air. As I read them I can reflect on my own life, as I struggle with my own enemies within. Thanks for your words of wisdom and inspiration. God Bless you!!

  49. Stacy permalink

    It amazes me how faithful you are in reading God’s word, Rev. Brown! Please pray that I will be as faithful. 🙂

  50. Sheila permalink

    Mark, I come to you needing prayer. I have more bills than money and sometimes they can overwhelm me. I read the word and understand what it asks of me. Please pary for my strength and confidence to make it through this seemingly dark and imtimidating tunnel. I know God is with me, sometimes I wish he would just let me know.

  51. Bobbi permalink

    Photo. Seriously? I want one!!

  52. sara permalink

    thankyou so much for this message as you have made me relize that i was not doing gods will at ALL times.

  53. METROMIKE permalink

    IT’S NOT THE STATE OF WHERE YOU LIVE..IT’S ALL ABOUT THE STATE OF GOD IN ONES LIFE..THROGH THIS JOURNEY..THE LIFE..BE BLESS..AND CONTINUE TO BLESS OTHERS..YOU BRO. IN CHRIST..METROMIKE WASHINGTON D.C. PEACE !!

  54. Melody permalink

    Just wanted to say I get your words all the time but don’t usually read them right away, but it seems every time I do read them is the right time. This word is right on track for me. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

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