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THE DOVE ALLIANCE
"Serving God's Word On Saving Your Marriage"

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"I am the Lion of Judah and I am inviting you to ride with Me... for only in riding with Me will you be safe. There are many things ahead you cannot see or even begin to contemplate. There are caves and open fields. There are deserts and lush gardens. All landscapes... all circumstances, regardless of how lush or barren they may be have predators that look for unattended ones to come by their way."
PRIDE & SHAME

Strongholds of pride and shame can keep us wandering aimlessly through a desert of unrest leading to confusion, anxiety, depression and despair. This writing is a series of proverbial insights into these strongholds.


This writing is in no way a put down towards any man - but it is given for greater understanding of what pridefulness; shamefulness; and egotistical spirits truly means. Most men do not look upon themselves in this manner but as being the "strong and brave" towards his wife. But in reality - such thinking is only a "strong-hold" of destruction within your marriage and must be dealt upon as such. These spirits coming from you can be an emotional trauma for your wife in the deepest sense of destruction towards her well being, and her desire to stay in her relationship with you. These three spirits: pride - shame - and ego - are the core destruction of a marriage because there is no "humility". These three spirits bear no fruit.

PRIDE & SHAME

Pride is not patient, it is not kind. It does envy, it does boast; for it is - pride. It is rude, it is self-seeking, it is easily angered, and it keeps records of all wrongs. Pride rejoices in evil and avoids the truth. It protects for selfish reasons, it cannot afford to trust, it is its own hope, and it perseveres only for personal gain. (Compare to love in 1 Cor. 13:4-7)

Man's first sin was pridefully self-centered. Man's first reaction to his sin was shame. Shame is also self-centered. Just like pride, its central focus is self.

Pride led religious leaders to want to kill Jesus (Mark 11:18). In order to flourish, pride must conquer what it perceives as competition.

And yet, it was also pride that caused men to want to raise Him up as King of Israel (John 6:15)! But Jesus resisted them. Jesus knew the method by which He must be lifted up in the eyes of men (Jesus predicts His death in John 3:14-15). Scripture tells us that Jesus "would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men" (John 2:24).

Pride caused the Israelite to reject God's institution of judges in favor of a king to represent them as a nation. God told Samuel, "it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you" (1 Samuel 8:7-8).

Pride promotes self. Shame demotes self. But, both are increases to self-centeredness. To demote self is not to decrease self. It is simply a different, though negative, view of self. Pride encourages a persistent focus on self-gratification. Then, as self becomes gratified, pride is ratified. Thus, pride becomes the cause and the protector of selfishness. Pride encourages self to believe that personal performance can overcome unpleasant negative feelings of shame.

Shame insinuates to self, "Sure, Jesus died on the cross for you, but don't you still feel shame?" Then pride exhorts self, "Therefore, you must rely on what you have done, or what you are now doing, or what you are able to do to feel acceptable to yourself."

Where there is much pridefulness, there is powerful judgment: "On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, 'This is the voice of a god, not of a man.' Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died." (Acts 12:21-23)

But, where there is little pridefulness, there is powerful grace: All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. (Acts 4:32-33)

Shame often legitimizes its self-centered focus by promoting self's victim status.

Unrepentant pride and shame are circular allies. When shame is tired of its suffering, it often turns to pride for relief. When pride's shallowness is exposed, it often turns to shame for absolution. Thus, they perpetuate one another allowing self to avoid true repentance.

Shame is a great impetus for both action and inaction. Shame can bully a person to works requiring tremendous effort or intimidate a soul to virtual impotence. Shame resides in the relative safety of loneliness. By avoiding honest intimate relationship, shame shields self from the possibility of further rejection. But, by avoiding intimate relationship, it also shields self from love. Shame and pride are like a dog and a cat. They both determinedly desire to be stroked.

Pride and shame are fraternal twins. Though they do not look alike, they were born one right after the other. Pride was the firstborn, then came its inevitable brother, shame.

Shame is sometimes the primary method of establishing and managing religion. When this happens, pride is the governing body of that religion.

In the end, shame will be the great equalizer for those that are unrepentantly prideful.

Self is the captain of the ship christened Pride and Shame. "Sink or swim" is its motto. Through stormy seas, it endlessly sails. It has no home port, where it may rest from the winds of selfish determination.

Shame is a thief, stealing the treasure of life from self. Pride selfishly buries the treasure where only he can find it.

The rich may have pride and the poor may have shame, but each is merely vanity. They are both mirrors used to unrelentingly gaze upon self.

An attitude of worldly shame denies the efficacy of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross and is in direct conflict with the proclamation of scripture: "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:1,2).

Pride looks for who's watching. Shame watches for who's looking. Both are in bondage to the opinions of others.

Pride and shame are like merry-go-round horses; one goes up and the other goes down, but they both keep going round and round.

Shame may be deep and pride may be shallow, but both are only holes in the souls of men.

Pride and shame are the bodyguards of unrepentant self. They will do whatever is necessary to protect self from healthy change.

Shame is like a tree with many roots underground, but very little trunk and few branches above the surface. Pride is like a great tree with long branches reaching upward from a portly trunk, but very little root structure. The wind comes and blows mightily against the shame tree. Some dead branches are blown off, but the roots remain firmly entrenched. Then the strong wind comes and blows against the pride tree. The whole tree comes crashing down, with its shallow roots exposed for all the world to see. Which tree is more resistant to the Spirit of God? The one that displays itself boldly to the world or the one that hides itself safely beneath the surface?

Shame for our sins was a choice Jesus once made. Jesus chose to bear our shame by dying on the cross. It is no longer on the menu. It is no longer available to us. Jesus ordered the entire supply for His own use. He's keeping it all for Himself. He's not sharing. You can't have any. If you have some, you've stolen it from Jesus. Give it back. It's not yours.

Pride is a whip in the hands of the arrogant. Shame is a shovel in the hands of a fool. The shameful fool digs an emotional hole, too deep to climb out, then jumps in. The arrogant, prideful one lashes the fool for jumping into the hole. The shameful fool accepts the lashing as appropriate and deserved. The arrogant, prideful one leans back and smiles in satisfaction.

It is easy to see that having much pride is shameful. But what is often hidden from our sight, is that having much shame can be prideful. The person with much shame often believes that harboring a sufficiently large quantity of shame is a necessary self-punishment before God (and others) and a means by which he might earn some degree of personal acceptance. In this way, his shame has become a self-determining, self-dependent, work of atonement, denying the sufficiency of Christ's sacrifice on the cross for his sins. This is pride.

Shame denies light to the dark places within the soul. The soul cannot grow without the light. Shame denies air to the empty places within the soul. The soul can not breathe without the air. Shame denies water to the dry places within the soul. The soul can not live without the water. Shame denies while the soul dies.

Pride is a source of false hope. But Shame is a source of false hopelessness.

Shame is like a flower that grows up out of the ground and then refuses to bloom in the sunlight. But place it in the shade and it will open.

When we are proud of our children, is it because they did something better than someone else's children? When we are proud of our jobs, is it because we do our jobs better than someone else? When we are proud of our community, is it because we believe our community is better than someone else's community? If we need to feel better by comparing ourselves to others, is it because we are better than them?

Worldly shame is an active rejection of God's forgiveness based on feelings of personal unworthiness. If you have rejected God's forgiveness, whose worthiness have you really rejected, yours or Christ's?

It is not easy to stop being prideful and it is not easy to stop being ashamed. The way to stop being prideful is not by being ashamed, and the way to stop being ashamed is not by being prideful. Both are overcome by humility. And humility is perfected by the power of the Holy Spirit.

It is sin to believe pride and shame's definitions of self. It is humility to believe God's definition of self. If you truly wish to stop believing the lies; repent and God will set you free, unto humility. You must choose to go there, but only God can bring you.

EGOTISTICAL

Ego is a primal sin. Ego is the separating point between you and the world, between you and your wife, between you and God.

The first thing you must understand, is that when Jesus talks about His disciples, He says that if anyone wants to follow Him, they must take up their cross and follow Him into life everlasting. "Taking up the Cross" has been misunderstood for centuries and taken, the majority of the time, to be some kind of affliction, whether it's a pain in the back, or a mother-in-law that we do not particularly like, or a car that does not run right. These silly examples are considered to be the cross we must bare. That has absolutely nothing to do with the reality of the situation. The cross, which we must bare, is the vehicle upon which our ego will be killed. This, too, is quite clear in the "Garden of Gethsemane".

Jesus had His own will in the Garden of Gethsemane, which was separate from God's will. But, the crucial point was that He said, "Not my will but thy will be done". Jesus died to Himself. He laid aside His own personal needs, wants, and desires, out of love and obedience for the sake of His disciples, for the sake of the proclamation, for the sake of obeying God's will. When He did that, He was like the seed which fell into the ground and died. That is His death. The death that He died was not so much a death of the body, although that is absolutely a crucial aspect of the revelation, but the death that He truly died was even more so a death of the self will, a death of ego.

You are called to unite with Jesus. It is not enough to simply believe that He did this or that, or to sing songs, or even write lengthy pamphlets. No, it is essential that you become one with Jesus. As the book of Romans makes so clear, we must be baptized into His death and united with Him in His crucifixion, that our old sin nature might be done away with, so that we might be resurrected to walk with Him in the new perfected light.

You must merge with Him entirely. You must become one with Him, so that the life He lived, you live; so that the campaign against sin and ego which He waged, you wage; and, that the death He died and the resurrection which He experienced both become your present experiential reality. This is a merging of self into the higher order. You and your ego and your own self will must become sublimated to the point where you are willing to let God live through you, you are willing to let Jesus live through you. This is life beyond ego. You must be able to say with Jesus, "not my will but thy will be done".

That is why I say that the ego is a fool, pretending to be wise and haughty and puffed up, and is truly nothing. Now, life beyond ego, to most people, seems to be impossible. But, there is a verse in the Bible which I keep coming back to constantly. Galatians 2 starting in verse 20, where Paul says: "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me". And this is the secret of condemnation to self. If you live your life within the "Mind of Christ" then you will not only bring glory to God - but also to your marriage.

Question: "How can I have the mind of Christ?"

The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. "For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct Him?" But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Cor 2:14-16)

Answer: In 1 Corinthians 2:16, Paul quotes Isaiah 40:13 and then makes a statement concerning all believers: "We have the mind of Christ". Having the mind of Christ means sharing the plan, purpose, and perspective of Christ, and it is something that all believers possess.

Having the mind of Christ means we understand God's plan in the world - to bring glory to Himself, restore creation to its original splendor, and provide salvation for sinners. It means we identify with Christ's purpose "to seek and to save what was lost" (Luke 19:10). It means we share Jesus' perspective of humility and obedience (Philippians 2:5-8), compassion (Matthew 9:36), and prayerful dependence on God (Luke 5:16).

In the verses leading up to 1 Corinthians 2:16, we note some truths concerning the mind of Christ:

1) The mind of Christ stands in sharp contrast to the wisdom of man (verses 5-6).

2) The mind of Christ involves wisdom from God, once hidden but now revealed (verse 7).

3) The mind of Christ is given to believers through the Spirit of God (verses 10-12).

4) The mind of Christ cannot be understood by those without the Spirit (verse 14).

5) The mind of Christ gives believers discernment in spiritual matters (verse 15).

In order to have the mind of Christ, one must first have saving faith in Christ (John 1:12; 1 John 5:12). After salvation, the believer lives a life under God's influence. The Holy Spirit indwells and enlightens the believer, infusing him with wisdom - the mind of Christ. The believer bears a responsibility to yield to the Spirit's leading (Ephesians 4:30) and to allow the Spirit to transform and renew his mind (Romans 12:1-2).

The Holy Spirit knows the very thoughts of God. The Spirit is like a phone line from Heaven that connects us to God. All we have to do is listen. Jesus made this powerful line of communication with heaven possible when He sent us the Holy Spirit.

We have "the mind of Christ" because we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us. The Holy Spirit teaches us all things, even the deep things of God. God will reveal Himself to you in mighty ways. Let you be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's voice. You will be filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit and you will have access to the unlimited, all-knowing, eternal mind of Christ.

 
God's Love From Genesis Through The Revelation.

The only thing capable of stopping the beauty of My redeeming, resurrecting power to make all things new is your unwillingness to repent and accept what I have done on your behalf. Do not believe that I will condemn and therefore walk in self-condemnation, guilt and shame. Doing this makes you self-centered and not God centered. I sympathize with your weakness and endured every temptation. With this in mind, keep your heart clean and let go of every stone of self-condemnation. Let My fountain flow through you unhindered.


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