Pride; June 9, 2017

1 Samuel 18:9-10 And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.
The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully upon Saul.

Saul had already laid the groundwork for demonic possession by his disobedience, as recorded in chapters 13 and 15, but here we have the decisive moment, and the thing that threw open the door was jealousy. Saul had demonstrated his pride multiple times previously, and jealousy is a negative reaction from pride. It is very clear that his son Jonathan was not a prideful person, because he rejoiced in David’s successes rather than resenting them the way Saul did. Demonic possession doesn’t happen without access having been granted, and Saul certainly took the steps for that even though he wasn’t doing so consciously. That’s why genuine deliverance almost always involves repentance. If we won’t repent of how we opened the door to the demons and receive the Holy Spirit in their place, we won’t stay free for long, if at all. (Luke 11:24-26) Satan’s fundamental power is deceit; every other power he has is yielded to him by the people to whom God has given it. That’s why when we are genuinely submitted to God, standing in His truth, we can resist the devil and he will turn tail and run. (James 4:7) The devil told Saul that he was worthy in himself of being anointed as king, Saul believed it, and thus opened the door for his own downfall. Jesus wasn’t speaking casually when He said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32) Holding to His teaching includes repenting of not having been obedient previously. Our spiritual armor is based on the humble assurance that we can’t do it ourselves, and so have to appropriate what God has done for us. (Ephesians 6:10-18)

I have swallowed the devil’s lies more times than I like to think about, and really more times than I am aware. Any time I allow myself to descend into personal pride, I send out an invitation for further deception. It is when I know full well that I am nothing in myself but Christ is everything in me that I walk in the victory God intends for me. My times of flirting with the devil have all been rooted in pride. There is a fine line between self confidence and assurance, and I don’t always stay on the right side of that. I tell my students that I don’t like the Japanese word for confidence, because it means literally, believing or trusting in yourself. I tell them that when I believe in myself I betray myself every time, but when I believe in God, He never betrays me. I say that from experience! I have demonstrated without question that I can’t communicate the Good News of God’s Kingdom in my own wisdom and strength, but God can and does allow me to do so when I am yielded to Him. His wisdom and strength are more than up to the task! Only in humility will I avoid the traps the devil lays for me, and walk in all that my loving Heavenly Father intends for me.

Father, thank You for enabling me to express this so clearly this morning. Help me walk in this truth all the time, and not just occasionally, so that all that You desire may be accomplished in and through me, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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