Focus: The mask of pride
Micah 6:8 (NKJV) He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?
Physical problems often accompany depression. Eventual health issues are practically guaranteed to the person who continues in addiction. When sickness and disease are prolonged—the person with the plague is easy prey for the spirit of depression. Disease, depression, and dependency all take their toll on your mind, your will, and your emotions. An ongoing cycle of struggle can be so typical in these areas—if a serious effort isn’t made to break the chains of bondage.
Each of us has to take the responsibility of keeping the Word of God in a place of priority in our daily life. If we don’t keep ourselves immersed in it—we will start to live life by our feelings. Feelings usually tell us to do the opposite of God’s principles. When we aren’t frequently reminded of how the Lord wants us to live—we start to get numb. Sin gets easier. In fact, it might not even seem like sin anymore.
Doing what is good and right doesn’t come naturally to us as humans. Living a life that demonstrates a love for showing mercy and the ability to walk humbly, requires constant self-examination and help from God.
Let’s take a look at the story of a man called Naaman in the Old Testament. The meaning of “Naaman” is good looking and well-formed. These characteristics had most likely helped Naaman gain his position as commander of the army to the King of Syria.
Although Naaman was highly regarded and known for his courage and success—he wasn’t immuned to the dreaded disease of leprosy, for which there was no cure. This awful affliction attacked the internal organs, tissues, and skin. Victims usually had to be isolated and were forced to call out, “Unclean” if anyone unknowingly approached. They were required to wear hooded black clothing so everyone would know they had the disease. From a lack of circulation of the blood—people who had leprosy ended up losing all sensation in their fingers and toes. In time, parts of their extremities would fall off. Death came slowly as the heart, kidneys, liver, and lungs shut down in the later stages.
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In the Bible, leprosy is used to typify sin. Leprosy, like sin, is a slow, progressive disease that kills.
Naaman’s wife had a young servant girl who had been taken captive from the country of Israel. The obedient child recommended that her master seek out the prophet Elisha from her native land. She was confident Elisha would be able to call on God to heal Naaman’s condition.
Naaman was desperate. He obtained all of the necessary documents and prepared a large amount of silver, gold, and fine clothing to present to the prophet for his services. He made the journey with his chariot and horses. When Naaman stood at the door of the prophet—Elisha sent a messenger who proceeded to pass on Elisha’s instructions for Naaman to submerge himself seven times in the Jordan River. The Jordan was known for its disgusting, dirty water.
None of Naaman’s gifts were accepted and the prophet Elisha never even greeted Naaman personally. Naaman was indignant. He went away mad. He was about to return to his own country—but his servants encouraged him to do as he was told. This was not easy for Naaman. He thought he should be able to wash in some of the clear rivers in Syria instead of the dirty, smelly Jordan River. The thought of lowering himself into that body of water required a great amount of humility for Naaman.
God was working to show Naaman that money and power couldn’t heal him. If Naaman wanted to be set free—he was going to have to lay down his pride and trust God through the word of the prophet Elisha.
When Naaman came up out of the water after the first dip—nothing had changed. He continued to plunge under the water five more times with no results. But, after the seventh time, his skin was like that of a little child. He was healed and whole. Naaman went back to Elisha and said, “Indeed, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel; now therefore, please take a gift from your servant.” But Elisha said, “As the Lord lives, before whom I stand, I will receive nothing.” And Elisha told Naaman to go in peace.
God used Naaman’s infirmity to not only reveal his healing power-but to teach Naaman the importance of a humble heart.
It’s really hard to have to do things that are humiliating. It’s not easy to admit we’ve been wrong or have a weakness…but that admission is often the key that unlocks the door to freedom…just like admitting we are powerless is pivotal to progress in recovery.
Declaration: I will find new strength by recognizing my need to be humble. I will stop trying to hide behind the mask of pride. I will be honest about my shortcomings and let God be made strong in my weakness.