This originally appeared as a devo for whillschurch.org.
Remember a few months ago I told you about my friend who will send me emails in mid-conversation? He did it to me again on Monday.
“1 Corinthians 4:1-7 talks about the Corinthians receiving spiritual ‘things’ from God and claiming it was of their own doing. That’s PRIDE bubbling up and out of their lives.
A little jump here, but stay with me. That got me to thinking about those people who pray for me, yes ME. They may pray openly or in private, secret places for me because they are moved to pray.
How much of my success do I take a prideful ownership of when it is actually a result of people praying?” (emphasis added)
Nothing like a punch in the face to start the week, right?
How much of my success do I take a prideful ownership of when it is actually a result of people praying?
I grabbed my Bible and opened it up to 1 Corinthians 4, had to read exactly what my friend was talking about. Verse 7 stopped me.
“For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” 1 Corinthians 4:7
What do you have that you did not receive? We ‘Mericans have a real problem with pride. We value the “pick yourself up by the bootstraps” (whatever they are) stories. We like to say – I’ve worked for everything I’ve ever gotten. I get it.
It just doesn’t translate over spiritually. It’s doubtful that it really translates over any other kind of way either.
Everything good I have is from God. Everything. My job, my successes, every parental victory, every spiritual insight, every “win”, every marriage ‘win’, every answered prayer – all of it exists not because I am some spiritual giant or have some secret spiritual codebook or because I’m a pastor and I have a direct line to God. It’s because of God. More pointed – it’s because of the prayers of other people.
I challenge you to write down who you think might be praying for you. Now understand this after you are done with your list – there are probably twice as many that really praying for you – people that you would never guess. This is why we push Connect Groups and the Live Connected value so much. These groups introduce you to people that will pray for you – at times without you ever knowing about it.
I hit reply all on the email. My friend had sent this to his wife and son – both of whom I know very well. I sat looking at the blinking white screen, wanting to add something profound…something deep and insightful to this conversation.
I felt the nudge. I have a love/hate relationship with The Nudge. He is The Nudge.
“Grant, take a moment here and really deal with the question. How much of ‘your success’ have you taken ownership of when it’s probably because of prayer to Me?”
The Nudge is always right. It’s not always pleasant.
Ok, most things.
Alright – everything.
I wrote back this:
“Sitting here eating a big piece of humble pie for breakfast.”
3 minutes later, my friend replied back:
“Pass the fork.”