The Lord opened my eyes to a passage I have read many times. But today, He gave me a new perspective.
I cannot tell you how many times I have read these verses and focused on everything but the bolded part - pride in one's lifestyle. I mean, I get that we aren't to love the things of this world... fleshly desires, lustful thinking... but I have never thought about the idea of having pride in our lifestyle. Then this morning, it was as if all I could read in the paragraph were those words.
Lord, what is pride in one's lifestyle?
To answer this, the Lord directed me to read the passage before these verses in 1 John 2:12-14 where the author begins to explain his reason for writing this book. It can be summed up in two sentences - "you have come to know the One who is from the beginning" and " you have had victory over the evil one." This book was written to the church, to those who know the Lord. Funny, just this past week at WIRED we talked about spiritual warfare and battling the enemy. The last day was all about the victory. I can definitely stand with those whom 1 John is written to and say that I know the One from the beginning and have had victory over the evil one. This book was written for those like me.
So Lord, what is this "pride in one's lifestyle" supposed to mean?
There are generational sins in my family. Drug and alcohol addiction, divorce, depression and abuse. And by the grace of God, I have been victorious over the evil one in these areas! I am still young - with an indefinite amount of time to live - but I believe that I have been empowered by the Holy Spirit in my life to have victory. I can stand before you today with all the pride in me and say I have never done drugs or drank a bottle of alcohol. I grew up surrounded by it... but was never once tempted. In fact, I was more disgusted than anything. And I still am.
But if I am not careful, I can let pride seep into my life... where I begin to think of myself as the victorious one, instead of the Holy Spirit within me. I begin to look at my life and how "good" I am and all the "stuff" I have and... wow, how easy it can be to become prideful. Joel Osteen wouldn't like this post... but, whoever tells you that living a life of surrender to Christ is easy - is probably not living it.
So please forgive me if I've at any point been prideful of my lifestyle on this blog. I've done my best to be real and open with my struggles, as well as how God has helped me overcome them. I pray that in doing this, you will be inspired and encouraged to live a more dedicated life to Christ as well.