The guise of strong personalities   Act 22:7  And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? Act 22:8  And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. 

Hidden within each one of us is a strong personality that is made up of the “I”. This is commonly referred to as the independent spirit or nature of a person. Though this identity is God-given, the ‘I” in a person is actually governed and influenced by external forces that one may accept or reject. We would like to think that we are in control of the “I” causing many of us to seek to control our lives based on this knowledge of independent choice. Saul, before he became Apostle Paul, was a very strong ”I” sort of person. This guise of his strong personality before he came to know Christ was actually a weapon that God had created in him for the revelation of Jesus to the world when he was converted. The guise of his strong personality was built up in the guise of a life under the Law and a sect of people called the Pharisees. He excelled in this form of religiosity that crafted and influenced this strong personality. The negative side of the ‘”I” personality is, it never submits. It is always right in its own eyes. It justifies itself, walks in self-righteousness and is an insidious spirit that lives within itself. It seeks to make the world submit to it. Apostle Paul had it all come to a crashing halt when he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. Jesus brought him down to his knees and opened his eyes to his true identity. It wasn’t long after that, Apostle Paul wrote these words; Gal_2:20  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.   

As we examine the verse above, we begin to see a pattern of the “I” being diminished in him to a lower case ‘i’ rather than a capital “I”. This is significant because of what happened to him on the road to Damascus. Many of us have encountered Jesus and have had to bow our knees to Him as the Supreme “I AM”, rather than continue on in one’s own self-elevation. Pride and ego establish the “I” in us till we are confronted with the only one who can say “I AM”.  We have to submit our independence to Him who is God and Lord over our lives, which is often time the struggle. This struggle keeps working against us even after we come to Jesus because the process of death to self can be an overwhelming apprehension in our lives. The “I” in us can often rise up to defy the Lordship of Jesus when making decisions in the light of His instructions and commands. This is the rebellious nature of “I”. This is where the guise of strong personalities is exposed to reveal our unsubmissive nature to God and authority figures. 

   All of us are guilty of this and often find ourselves confronted at different stages in our lives with behaving this way to God and His ways. The temptation is to disregard the commandments and instructions of God to choose one’s own path in life. Failed marriages, failed businesses, broken lives and curses that come into a family or an individual all emanate from this guise of a strong personality. These self-made decisions result in a lifetime of problems for everyone concerned. However, there is hope for the strong personality in God. If they submit and yield to God’s ways, their lives can be restored and so can their strong personalities but only for the purposes of God.

 I think we need strong personalities as Christians but without becoming proud. Strong personalities stand strong in the face of adversity and depend on God. Through the history of mankind, such people have saved lives and nations, and have done great things because of their faith. In the day of adversity one must be strong otherwise they will die. Pro_24:10  If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. The Maccabees were such a family of strong personalities in Israel who withstood the advances of a King called Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 168 BC. They refused the advances of a pagan king and fought him till they won against all odds. They did this because they believed in God and wanted to preserve their way of life and worship of God. There were weak personalities in Israel at this time who sold out to the foreign King and corrupted the worship of God. In the same manner, many Christians today are weak in battle and give in to what is not of God allowing the world to come into their worship of God. This adulterated influence is strong in the church readily compromising the true gospel. The deception is great and very subtle. Jesus wrote prophetically about this in the book of Revelation to the seven churches and warned them of dire consequences should they fail to become overcomers.

 Many a Christian has failed in the arena of pride, which is a stronghold of the devil. He was the first one to think that he could become the “I AM”. Isa_14:13  For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: Few understand the foolishness or subtlety of pride. Psa_14:1  The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. Many have fallen on this stone of pride and have been crushed because they have listened to their own voices of “I” and the influences of the devil. This pride of heart can be very deceiving and insidious and when faced with the truth, will deny it. Disregarding God’s answers in your situation is pride. The best of us have done this because of the “I”.

     I have counselled many people and given them the word as written in the Bible which God had instructed me to give them. However, it fell on poor soil in most cases. Some were taken by satan straightaway and others over a period of time and yet others languished in the same problem for years. Even after some had repented and shown change for a period of time, they sought to go back to pride and before long they came up with their own solutions again. This put them back into a pit much worse than the first. The word of God is clear about this.     Mat 12:43  When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Mat 12:44  Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. Mat 12:45  Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so, it will be to this wicked generation.  There are many operating in the word thinking they know everything. They go about preaching and telling others how to live and think on God when they themselves do not submit to the word of God. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. This is the power of the “I” or in other words, pride. When satan was dissatisfied with God, he took one-third of the angels in heaven with him and damned them all into darkness, hell and will eventually end up in the lake of fire to be tormented forever. The common mistake in ministry is to boast about what the “I“ did rather than give glory to God. This has led to the fall of many ministers of God.

To search out and find hidden pride, we must be open to God who can see it all. King David put it this way when he failed God and misused his authority by committing adultery and murder. Psa 139:23  Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: Psa 139:24  And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Christians or so-called Christians who have thought that they could do what they liked because of their achievements in life have ended up in all forms of falsity and pride just like the Pharisees. As a result, they have taken many with them into perdition and loss. Instead of giving glory to God and submitting one’s ways and thoughts to God, they often make the mistake of thinking and acting out their lives in a proud way. There are others like this, who go from church to church sowing their seeds of discord and division based on their spiritual understanding that they think they know better than others. I have seen and heard of people who have died, fallen into serious illnesses, financial ruin and ended up on the streets in a state of madness all because of pride. God will not tolerate pride in any form under any circumstance. He has always dealt with it with a strong arm. It took God to use a donkey to speak against the madness of pride in Balaam the prophet. God refuses pride in a person because God is humble. So, the antidote for pride is humility. The antidote for the “I” is to submit to the “I AM”. 

The good news is; God can use strong personalities as much as He uses meek ones, as long as they are submitted to Him. If they are not, they will end up like Pharaoh who could not submit to God in spite of all the warnings of plagues. 

Warriors and the like are made up of strong personalities. People who are leaders and meek are also strong personalities. One must endeavour to seek strength and meekness from God and display this to the world in the strength of character. This will reveal the true identity of the individual who is under authority. All other forms of “I” even with Godly results have a huge question mark around them because they are not submitted. One must be careful not to allow hidden pride to come against oneself. 

    The spirit of Leviathan is the spirit of pride and therefore one must know that pride is a spirit. Let not any form of pride rule our beings no matter how subtle it may be. Let us instead submit to the great I AM who is all in all. The nations of this world will fall in their pride as they have in the past. God will see to it and destroy satan who is their master with them. The end for pride is near and it will be seen by all of creation when it is cast into the lake of fire forever. Halleluah!

Lots of love Pastor Noble  05/08/2018