PRIDE: Curing a Heart of Pride (part 2)

pridePride is at the root of nearly every problem we struggle with in counseling! In Part 1 you discovered the problem with pride. It this post, you’ll learn how to cure a heart filled with pride: namely, 1) admitting your struggle, 2) practicing humility, and 3) serving. Biblical counselor Julie Ganschow, the founder and director of Reigning Grace Counseling Center in Kansas City, MO, wrote this two-part series on pride. Read part one.

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Admit Your Struggle

First, begin by confessing, or admitting, to God that you struggle with the sin of pride. Confession is agreeing with God. You might pray a simple prayer similar to this one:

Dear Heavenly Father,

I confess to you that I struggle with the sin of pride in my heart and my life. This pride leads me to act out selfish desires and is hurtful to other people. I ask for the help of the Holy Spirit to change my heart so that I become selfless and learn to serve others as I consider them before myself. Thank You for the forgiveness that is mine through the Lord Jesus Christ, and I pray these things for Your glory. In Jesus name. Amen.

Practice Humility

The next step is to begin to practice humility, a denial of self. It is considering others better than yourself and requires an examination through the Word of God of the actions and attitudes of daily life.

Then He (Jesus) said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross daily, and follow Me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for Me, you will find true life. And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose or forfeit your own soul in the process?” Luke 9:23-25 (NLT)

Jesus displayed the ultimate in humility when He condescended to come to earth as a human being. He denied Himself and deprived Himself of heaven and all its glory for 33 years for you and me. Because our goal is to become like Jesus in character and attitude, we are to practice how Jesus lived His life. Jesus was described as “meek and lowly.”

Meekness is an internal quality that comes with humility. As a heart attitude, it is the opposite of pride. The one meek in heart is not concerned about self and readily puts the interest of others before his or her interests.

You should be known for the beauty that comes from (the hidden person of the heart), the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. 1 Peter 3:4 (NLT) 

Humility Is NOT Weakness

Being meek does not mean weak; in fact, it means just the opposite. It takes great strength to be humble before God and others. This really goes against the grain of the sinful nature. It is possible, however, for even the most prideful person to become humble. Humility is a fruit of the Spirit, and God joyfully responds to those who desire it.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Romans 12:3 (NIV)

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Romans 12:16 (NIV)

Pride begins to change to humility when we understand how despicable we actually are without Christ. Humility comes when we internalize the truth that nothing in the life of a Christian is to be about “me.” It is all about Jesus Christ and Him only. You cannot possibly dwell on “what I want” or “what I think is better or right,” and be able to serve others or ask what would bring God glory. Heart change begins to take place when we practice the principles in the verse below:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV) 

Serving Suggestions

Lastly, consider how you’ll serve others in the name of Christ. Here are some suggestions to begin to serve others:

  • Do one thing a day for someone you ordinarily would avoid.
  • Go out of your way to help another person.
  • Give up something you want to do for the sake of another’s pleasure.
  • Consider the opinion of a person you think is “beneath you” and follow his or her suggestion.

After practicing these suggestions, you will find joy returning to your life. Your world will open up to others as your heart opens up. As you continue to place others above yourself, your desire to serve them will grow, and life will become full of joy.

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

 

PRIDE: Understanding Selfish Pride (part one)

pridePride is a heart-attitude sin that overflows into a person’s motivation, decision-making, and activities. Pride is at the root of nearly every problem we struggle with in counseling!

You are reading part one of a two-part series on the prideful heart by biblical counselor Julie Ganschow, listed in Heart2Heart Counselor Directory on my website and the founder and director of Reigning Grace Counseling Center in Kansas City, MO. Her article is reprinted with permission.

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The heart of pride is focused on “self.” Prideful people believe they deserve better than what life has brought them. They become sorrowful, resentful, and even jealous of other people and their successes. Pride breeds self pity, which is a major component in depression. Typically, people who struggle with pride will live life based on how they feel and expect everyone else to accommodate them and adapt to their moods.

Two key characteristics of pride are independence and rebellion. It should not be too difficult for us to understand why this is so. The truth is we all want our own way about things, and we usually will do almost anything to have it our way. The sinful nature leads us to desire independence, and we rebel at the thought of being under anyone’s control or authority.

In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. Psalm 10:4 (NIV) 

In our hearts we say as Pharaoh did, “Who is the Lord  that I should obey Him?” Exodus 5:2

God Hates Pride

All who fear the LORD will hate evil. That is why I hate pride, arrogance, corruption, and perverted speechProverbs 8:13 (NLT)

The heart of pride brings devastating consequences that God ordains: a hardened heart and consequences of this sin.

Scripture shows us the results of pride through the examples of two kings: King Nebuchadnezzar and King Herod. They both became prideful and consequently were humbled by God.

But when [Nebuchadnezzar’s] heart became arrogant and hardened with pride, he was deposed from his royal throne and stripped of his glory. He was driven away from people and given the mind of an animal; he lived with the wild donkeys and ate grass like cattle; and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven, until he acknowledged that the Most High God is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and sets over them anyone he wishes. Daniel 5:20-21 (NIV)

King Nebuchadnezzar lived like an animal until he came to his senses and repented of his sin. God then restored the kingdom to him.

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 12:2-23 (NIV)

Pride Hardens the Heart

In your life, pride will cause your heart to harden toward God. Consequently, God will not allow you to prosper. He will bring you dishonor, which is the last thing a prideful person wants.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.Proverbs 11:2 (NIV)

Pride brings opposition from God. He will not share His glory with anyone or anything.

All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5 (NIV)

The prideful person is self-deceived.

For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” Galatians 6:3 (NKJV)

Pride and ‘Low Self-Esteem’

Often prideful people are mistakenly diagnosed with “low self-esteem” because their actions and attitudes appear to be self-depreciating. Low self-esteem is defined as “a person’s belief regarding the degree to which he is worthy of praise.”

The prideful person already thinks very highly of himself or herself! People infected by pride typically think so much of themselves that they believe the world should revolve around them.

The only thing important to prideful people is getting their needs filled. It may be an emotional need, a desire for attention, or a resistance to conform to social norms in order to be seen as an individual. Prideful people struggle with bitterness, revenge, conceit, self pity, a competitive nature, gossip, slander, and vanity. They display a desire to be noticed, which is disguised as shyness. They typically have a lust for attention, approval, and praise. Those who attempt to build them up psychologically only assist them in further self-indulgence.

(Watch for part 2 in this series on pride. Be sure you get it when you subscribe to my blog. Thanks!–LAM) 

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

 

 

Hurt by a Man in Authority? Here’s Help!

authorityAuthority figures–whether fathers, husbands, church elders, government leaders, or employers–influence women’s lives. How we women respond to them reveals our hearts. This article by counselor Julie Ganschow appeared first here on her website and is used with permission.

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When Authority Figures Disappoint Us

As Christian women, we function in a world that is watching to see how we will respond to the authority figures in our lives. Fathers, husbands, and church elders are the main authorities under which we function. Sometimes our leaders disappoint us, don’t respond the way we want them to, or even do things that are extremely hurtful to us.

  How we respond is an indication of what is lurking in our hearts.

Women who respond to authority with anger and rebellion are often applauded in larger social circles or on social media. Our female friends and acquaintances don’t want to see us get pushed around or “abused.” As as result, they bandwagon with the offended/hurt woman and jump to her defense.

This is very unwise.

Proverbs 18:13 says,

He who gives an answer before he hears, it is folly and shame to him. (NASB)

Often, those defending a woman who has been hurt do not have the full story. They speak out in support of her without knowing the facts of the situation.

Unless you can have access to the other party involved, be very careful about coming to conclusions. It is very easy to take up a reproach on behalf of someone you care about or when the cause is important to you for personal reasons.

I see this a lot when a woman is claiming that she has been harmed in some way by her church leaders or by her husband. Typically, there are so many factors involved in such situations that unless you have access to all persons involved you cannot possibly know the complexity of the matter.

Questions to Ask Before Responding

To keep from being a fool, ask a number of questions (who, what, when, where, and how) and seek to understand the problem. Verse 17 tells us,

The first to plead his case seems right, until another comes and examines him. (NASB)

It is imperative that you learn both sides of the issue before taking a position in support of the woman. It is easy to form a wrong conclusion about something without having all the facts. Perhaps you have been in this position, and learned too late that you spoke or acted prematurely on behalf of someone. It is much wiser to take your time and learn the background and pertinent information about the issue and the people involved before you say or do something that will bring shame upon you later on.

While asking questions, it is important that you listen to what is being said in response. This is why Proverbs 18:15 says,

The mind of the prudent acquires [gets] knowledge and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge [information]. (NASB emphasis added)

You want to be actively seeking to learn information about the problem and the person who is in the middle of the problem. Listening is much more than merely hearing what is being said. This is active listening; the kind that is engaged in hearing and processing what the speaker is saying. In addition, the listener is discerning the heart issues being revealed as she talks (Luke 6:45). Again, asking clarifying questions will help you to gain an understanding of the problem.

Ministering with Understanding

When you are confident you have a good grasp on the problem, then you can proceed with ministering to the heart of the woman. It may very well be that she has been wronged; how she responds to it will either bring glory or shame to the name of Christ. Our responsibility is to help her form a biblical response to those who have hurt her.

1 Peter 2:18-23 is a wonderful passage to begin teaching her what will honor God. Remind her that Jesus completely understands suffering under an unjust authority and that He is with her in her suffering (Hebrews 2:18; 4:15). Show her the pattern He left for us to follow: when He was reviled he did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but entrusted Himself to Him to judges justly (1 Peter 2:23).

No one is saying this will be easy, and she may balk at your counsel. You may have to be persistent, helping her to see the issues of her heart as revealed by her words and deeds (Luke 6:45).

The goal is always repentance and restoration before God. It may not be wise for her to return to the situation (physical abuse, spiritual abuse), but there should be peace between the parties if at all possible (Romans 12:18). This is what glorifies God.

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

No Sexual Desire for Your Husband?

sexual desire
Sexual desire: Did you know there are reasons why a wife
sometimes — or often — has next-to-no sexual desire for her husband? And there are gospel-centered solutions too. In this insightful post by Heart2Heart Counselor Julie Ganschow appeared first here on here website and is used with permisison.

In this article, we’ll consider physical reasons and spiritual reasons for lack of sexual desire.

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Ware is the real reason a woman has no desire for her husband?

In biblical counseling we believe that often the surface problem is only a symptom of a deeper heart level problem. My goal would be to determine what in the heart (thought, belief, desire, will, attitude, emotion) needs to be changed for the symptom (lack of sexual desire for her husband) to be relieved.

Physical Reasons for Lack of Sexual Desire

However, there are numerous things that can contribute to the lack of desire in a woman.

First a medical check up is always in order. Women’s bodies are complex by design. Throughout our lives our hormonal levels adjust. Our monthly cycles bring times of more or less intense sexual desire. Fear of pregnancy makes women want to run away from sex, pregnancy, and post-partum hormonal changes bring physical and emotional changes with increasing hormones. Perimenopause and menopause also bring their share of symptoms as hormones begin to decrease.

I also believe the use of many chemicals in our food and the relatively poor nutritional value our foods also may influence our hormonal balances. Getting a good overall physical exam including blood work may rule out endocrine problems such as diabetes and thyroid problems. Also a measure of estrogen and progesterone may help determine if there is a true physiological cause to a lack of interest or desire in sex.

The rule of good biblical counseling is to look at a physiological cause first when it can be objectively and scientifically proven one exists. When a physical cause is not the problem, the only remaining option is that it is a spiritual problem.

Spiritual Reason for a Lack of Sexual Desire

In this day of blatant immorality, it is unfortunately unusual that the couple enters into marriage sexually pure. When my eldest son married, a part of the marriage ceremony was to celebrate their purity through the exchange of the purity rings they each wore since entering their teen years. They exchanged the rings with each other to signify that they had saved themselves for each other in marriage.

By maintaining purity they have saved themselves from one aspect of sexual difficulty in marriage. While I have not been able to find a term for this in any book on sex I have read I believe there is for the woman something I call “sexual guilt.” Sexual guilt seems to be a result of engaging in sexual contact prior to marriage, even if the only prior partner is now her husband.

In my years of counseling women I have seen this numerous times. A woman who has been sexually active prior to marriage may struggle greatly with sexual desire after marriage.

Stories of Women and Low Sexual Desire

Case studies of women with a struggle similar to yours may give you hope and a sense that you are not alone. Below, these ‘counselee’ representations are fictitious and do not represent any one person living or dead or their actual case histories or personal stories. But they may resonate with you.

Great Sex Before Marriage

sexual desireFran says, “While I really enjoyed sex before we were married I knew deep down it was wrong. I thought it was ok, because we really loved each other and planned to marry anyway.

“I thought about how great it would be not to have to sneak around anymore, not to fear getting caught. I couldn’t wait to be free of the guilt I felt at all the sneaking around. When we married I carried these thoughts into our marriage, but what was once fun and exciting was now very unappealing to me. I was just not interested anymore. I felt dirty and like my husband was always pawing at me wanting to get me into bed.”

“Sex became a chore and I wanted to avoid it at all costs.

Betty says, “It never bothered me that we had sex before marriage. I was in love with him and we were going to be married. Once the marriage vows were said I lost all interest in him. I would rather go to bed with a good book. I don’t want to be touched. Once and a while I give in but I really would be fine if we never had sex again.”

The Wedding Night Was a Disaster

Jenny says, “I always knew it was wrong, but I let him talk me into it.

“I was raised a Christian and so was he. We had sex for months before our wedding, and I begged him to stop as a wedding present to me for the two weeks prior to our wedding. He reluctantly consented.

“Our wedding night was a disaster for me. I had no joy or anticipation for the event of our becoming husband and wife in the physical sense. It felt like there was nothing special about it at all. After he was asleep I went and cried in the bathroom for hours. I thought, ‘is this all there is now?’

“I dread sex now. I change in the bathroom or sneak to bed ahead of him because I don’t want to give him any opportunity to become aroused or to have to tell him ‘no’ again.

“He gets so mad at me when I tell him I am not in the mood, and it has begun to affect our marriage. I am so angry at him for making me have sex when I don’t want to! He is selfish and is only thinking about himself. He says he needs it, and I don’t believe him. I am fine without it, why can’t he be?”

In summary, when a woman is involved in sexual immorality, it affects her thinking. God tells us in His Word that all our sin has consequences. While nothing will change the believer’s position in Christ before God, all sin carries the inescapable weight of consequences.

Resources for You

EXCELLENT BOOK: Tim Keller’s Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters is insightful and encouraging as well as challenging–in a good way.

THOUGHT JOURNAL: This quick and easy download provides a step-by-step method to identifying destructive thoughts and redeeeming them with God-honoring thoughts that change the tragectory of your life. Get the Thought Journal now.

COUNSELING: Isn’t God calling you to enjoy the gift of sex in your marriage? Check out biblical counseling for married women. Learn more here.

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

 

Leadership Problem: Weak Men, Angry Women

leadershipLeadership at home becomes unbiblical when husbands fail to lead lovingly and wives become angry and even usurp his role. This insightful post by biblical counselor Julie Ganschow, featured in Heart2Heart Counselor Directory, appeared first here and is used with permission.

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“He won’t lead!”

This is a common complaint from women in my counseling office. If it is a session where her husband is present, the next words spoken are typically,

“Oh yeah? Well, she wouldn’t follow even if I did!”

The issue of leadership is a frequent issue in biblical counseling situations. If you are a woman who is married to a man who does not lead in your home, you need to understand that he has been conditioned by our culture to be conciliatory, and to not lead his wife and family. There has been little or no instruction or biblical discipleship in his life that would enable him to lead his wife or family.

Men have been taught to be our partners; to be permissive and have the role of a consultant in the home instead of being a leader. They are trained to be sensitive and strong only in opinion. Many have never taken the mantle of God-given leadership seriously. They do not know how and are not at all sure they even want to know how.

Leadership and the Women’s Movement 

Over the past 40 years, the feminist movement has emasculated men. The women’s movement and our “liberation” has also created tens of thousands of homes led by women. They are raising sons who will never know the leadership of a man or father, and daughters who will never see or learn what it means to biblically submit to godly male leadership.

I suspect many of you will agree with me, and some will be upset with me for these statements. But please sit back and look at the result of all this “liberation” on our society.

Do you think it is any coincidence that the number single parent homes have skyrocketed? Is it an unhappy chance that more children than ever before are on psychotropic medications (along with their parents)? Is it happenstance that society as a whole is worse off than in the 1950’s? I don’t think so.

While I am certainly not encouraging a return to the Victorian Era, when women were little more than pampered decoration, the consequences of progressive thinking have been terrible for the family and our country as a whole.

Many of the people entering the doors of the church each week come from homes or families under matriarchal rule. Couples have entered into marriage with little training or understanding of the biblical roles of manhood or womanhood. This creates a mess of problems in the marriage — men who won’t lead and women who won’t follow.

Wives Are Angry

The wives are angry. They bear the burdens of managing everything in the home alone. The husband views his only obligation to be that of a co-bread winner. He has a passive interest in disciplining their children and takes little interest in discipling them. He leaves most things to his wife. The husband doesn’t understand that this is not biblical because it is all he knows. She resents his unwillingness to step up and “be a man” and may consider him to be weak and lazy.

The women I have in counseling and discipleship situations have become aware of the biblical model through a women’s Bible study or women’s conference. They observe the marriages around them that do operate biblically. They desire for their husbands to take the leadership role in the marriage and home.

She begins to have expectations for him that he cannot meet because he is not equipped to meet them. By the time she gets to my office she has become frustrated with her husband. She already decided to “encourage” him to take the mantle that is rightfully his and has taken it upon herself to teach him how to lead her.

Books and pamphlets on the subject of leadership and biblical manhood have begun to appear in the home. She wants him to watch videos and attend conferences about marriage and relationships, and is devastated when his interest is minimal. From the husband’s perspective, things have been going along just fine thus far, why does she want to rock the boat?

Wives Begin Leading at Home

Complicating matters is the fact that in his absence of leadership she has stepped handily into the vacuum and has become the leader of the family in the affairs of life and spiritually. She has been the driving energy in the home, making decisions for the home and family with some consultation and input from her husband.

She is the spiritual leader as well, teaching and training the children to honor God. There is a part of a woman that loves the seat of power, and this is part of our curse to bear (Gen. 3), for we want to rule over our husbands.

This is why women often give a mixed message in the area of leadership. If the husband does step up and attempt to intervene in a decision or to change the direction of the family in some way, he is frequently met with opposition.
His wife may outright defy his leadership attempts or use subtler manipulative methods to undermine his decision or leadership. This leads to arguments and division between them and confusion in the children.  As a result, these marriages are fraught with discord.

This is not God’s plan for marriage.

Many Women Desire Leadership by Their Husband

It places women in a position of power that we both love and hate. The truth is many, many women desire to be led by their husbands in marriage. There is a part of even the strongest woman that dislikes the burden of leadership in the home and wants her husband’s oversight and direction.

If this resonates with you then you need to consider if the first problem in this equation is you. Pray and ask God’s help in changing your heart toward submission and leadership. Find a Godly woman in your church who can help you to learn these principles and then begin to build them into your life.

Be aware of the times you respond sinfully to your husband, and confess to him that you have become aware of your usurping his authority in the home and ask his forgiveness. Give him the grace and the space to be the leader.

Stop making decisions and doing his job, and put him back in the place to succeed. This is going to be a process, but with a humble heart and a submissive spirit you will see rapid positive changes.

Sharing Hope with Your Heart,

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5 AMAZING NAMES GOD CALLS YOU!

Blessed, Daughter, Saint, and more!

In this delightful, four-color ebook, you’ll discover the precious names God calls you. Today so many Christian women don’t fully know their wonderful identity in Christ. Isn’t a time to know yours? Filled with scripture, photography, personal stories, and encouragement!

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