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SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS!        Comp.3/86        DFO 2140--"Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees!"--Luke 12:1.

       1. "And He spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves, that they were righteous, & despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood & prayed thus with himself, `God, I thank Thee that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican! I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.' And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto Heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, `God be merciful to me a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for everyone that exalteth himself shall be abased, & he that humbleth himself shall be exalted!" (Luk.18:9-14)
       2. The most righteous person there at the Temple that day was not the very holier-than-thou, self-righteous, hypocritical Scribe & Pharisee who kept the jot & the tittle of the law, who even when he went to pick mint & anise out of his garden, would pluck off ten percent to make sure that he tithed properly & all that sort of thing. (Mat.23:23) But Jesus had to tell His disciples, "This seemingly righteous Pharisee is not the most righteous!--But the more righteous of the two is this poor publican & sinner!"--A tax collector, who to the Jews was the worst kind of a character they could possibly imagine! They were usually extortionists, cheaters & robbers of the poor!--Franchised tax collectors for the Romans, considered traitors to their brethren! The Romans would tell'm how much taxes they needed & how much people had to pay Caesar, & then they could charge whatever they wanted to more than that for their own income. So they were hated by their Jewish brethren, considered the scum of the Earth!
       3. So here was this poor tax collector in the Temple praying, "Lord, be merciful unto me, a sinner!" And what did Jesus say to these Jewish followers of His? "Which one do you think is the most righteous?--It's this poor tax collector who knows he's a sinner & is asking for forgiveness!"
       4. In the sight of God there is no worse pride than self-righteous religious pride!--The self-righteous, Pharisaical, proud, religious person who "thanks God he's not as other men" or as other women, & looks down on them because they don't have as much faith as he has, & they don't do this or they don't do that!--Those self-righteous proud hypocrites who are so proud of their own success & righteousness & look down on the other guys! They are the most hard & intolerant people that you could possibly run into! They have no mercy, no compassion, no sympathy for the poor guys who really haven't got it, can't make it, etc.
       5. Such self-righteous hypocrisy so infuriated Jesus that He publicly blasted them, "Woe unto you, Scribes & Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint & anise & cummin, but have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgement, mercy, & faith!--These ought ye to have done, & not to leave the other undone! Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, & swallow a camel!" (Mat.23:23,24)
       6. Self-righteousness is pride & pride is self-righteousness!--Thinking that you are more righteous than God! If you're proud of your own righteousness, then you're rebelling against God's righteousness, because you're saying you're more righteous than God, so you're rebelling against God!--And that is nothing but pure pride! The legalistic, Pharisaical Jews had--& still have--a great problem along this line, of whom Paul wrote, "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, & going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God!" (Rom.10:3)
       7. This is the greatest & worst of all sins!--Hypocrisy & self-righteousness, that holier-than-thou attitude, that self-goodness. God hates this worse than anything because there is no goodness except God! (Mat.19:17) God is the only One Who is good, & He hates for people to pretend they are good, because God knows they're all bad! (Rom.3:23)
       8. Everybody's bad except those who have faith & have the goodness of God, the Love of God & the righteousness of God! God's Word says that all other righteousness, Man's righteousness, your own righteousness, your own goodness, is like filthy, sickening menstruous rags! "We are all as an unclean thing, & all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags!" (Isa.64:6)--In other words, God says if you don't have His goodness, which is true goodness, true holiness, real love, real mercy, you have nothing, even worse than nothing!--You're a filthy rag!
       9. When I looked up the Hebrew word "ayd", which is translated "filthy" in our King James version of the Bible, I found that it literally means "soiled or filthy from the menstrual flux"! In other words, God's Word literally says that your righteousness, your goodness, is like filthy, menstruous rags!--Like a woman's used Kotex!--That's how God looks on the so-called "good" people, the people who pride themselves in being better than others: "I'm good, I'm better than you, I don't do this, I don't do that!" Man's own righteousness, self-righteousness, Man's own self-goodness, in the nostrils of God stinks like a woman's Kotex! That's how bad He made it sound!
       10. So who were really the filthiest sinners of all in Jesus' time?--The poor filthy publicans & "bad" people who prayed, "Lord, be merciful to me a sinner!"--Or the hypocritical Pharisaical religious systemites who said, "We don't need cleaning up!" --And crucified Him for exposing their well-covered filth!--They were the filthiest of all!--And the same is true today!--The worst filth in God's eyes is that God-damned self-righteousness & hypocrisy!
       11. Jesus told the Scribes & the Pharisees that they were worse than the drunks & the harlots & the publicans & the sinners that they despised, & that there was more chance for sinners to get saved than for these self-righteous hypocrites who not only wouldn't confess their sins, but couldn't even see their sins! They couldn't even see that there was something seriously wrong with them, didn't even recognise it! They had resisted the Truth for so long & so hardened their hearts against the voice of God, that they were absolutely pitifully "darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God!" (Eph.4:18,19)
       12. He told them to their faces, "Verily I say unto you, the publicans & the harlots will go into the Kingdom of God before you!" (Mat.21:31) And He told His disciples, "For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes & Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the Kingdom of Heaven!" (Mat.5:20)--In other words, unless you're better than they are, you'll never get to Heaven! And the only way you can be better than they is to have Christ's righteousness. Because they were as good as you could get in the natural without the help of the Lord, which was pretty bad!
       13. Such self-righteousness is nothing but a pretence, pretending to be so righteous & right all the time. Jesus so hated this pretence, this hypocrisy, He publicly told them, "Woe unto you, Scribes & Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye make clean the outside of the cup & of the platter, but within they are full of extortion & excess! Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup & platter, that the outside of them may be clean also! Woe unto you, Scribes & Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, & of all uncleanness! Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy & iniquity!" (Mat.23:25-28)
       14. Why were the Scribes & the Pharisees so self-righteous & hypocritical?--Because they were so proud that they didn't want to confess that they were sinners like everyone else, that there was anything wrong with them. They never admitted & recognised it, so they became "blind leaders of the blind" & they all fell into the ditch, & they committed the sin that couldn't be forgiven, & that was the sin of self-righteousness & rejection of Jesus Christ, their only hope of salvation! (Mat.15:14)
       15. It almost makes you feel better to know you're bad, to admit you're not good. After all, God said so, nobody's good! That's why the worst kind of people in the sight of God are the self-righteous hypocrites who pretend to be good & look down on everybody else!
       16. "There is none righteous, no, not one!" "For by grace are ye saved through faith & that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast!" (Rom.3:10; Eph.2:8,9) This principle is true of everything! So we just need to give up on trying to be good ourselves & admit, "I'm just not good, I'm bad, I'm a sinner, of course I make mistakes!"

       17. The Devil has really got the World brainwashed! He's even got them brainwashed to the point where what the World thinks is righteousness is just the opposite of God's ideas of righteousness! Isn't that sad! They don't realise what God's righteousness is! Their ideas are so different from God's!
       18. The Devil's idea of righteousness is totally the opposite of God's idea!--The Devil's idea is the self-righteous, holier-than-thou hypocrite--the supposedly sinless perfectionist!
       19. Whereas God's idea of righteousness is the pitiful, hopeless, lost, humble, sinful sinner who knows he needs God!--Those He came to save! "He came not to call the righteous to repentance, but sinners!" (Mat.9:13) So God's idea of goodness is Godliness--a sinner who knows he needs God & depends on Him for salvation--not the Devil's churchy self-righteous hypocritical Pharisees who think they can save themselves by their own goodness!
       20. God's idea of saintliness is not sinless perfection, self-righteousness. It's a sinner saved by grace, a sinner who has no perfection, no righteousness of his own at all, but is totally dependent on the grace & the Love & the mercy of God by faith! Believe it or not, those are the only saints there are--there are no others!
       21. God knows you're anything but perfect & can't be perfect & never will be perfect, & usually you're pretty much of a mess, like the rest of us! So the only question, the only standard is: Do you depend on the Lord totally, trust Him & His grace & His Love & His mercy & give Him all the glory & all the credit? If there's anything good you ever do, do you give Him the glory? Do you say, "Thank Jesus, don't thank me! Thank the Lord, it's all the Lord!"
       22. That's what the Lord looks to as saintliness, the person who knows he's a sinner & therefore gives God all the glory if anything good comes of what he's done. As Paul said, "I know that in me, my flesh, dwelleth no good thing!" (Rom.7:18). There's nothing good about me or my flesh, anything good is only the Lord!--That's sainthood!

       23. The greatest men in the Bible were guys that made terrible mistakes & realised they were sinners, that they needed God. But I never got too much encouragement from those who were so perfect like Enoch, who walked so close to God that he got completely out of touch with humanity, so God had to take him out of this World because he was no longer any use to Man. I take a lot more heart from the pathetic stories of the drunks & the harlots & the publicans & the sinners who came to Jesus for love & mercy.
       24. In fact, one of the worst characters in the Bible is my greatest inspiration!--One of the most wicked men in the entire Bible, who was a murderer, an adulterer & a liar, but whom God turned around & called a man after His Own heart, King David! (Acts 13:22)
       25. The most encouraging thing about David's example was not his perfectionism, but his human failures, sins & shortcomings, which gave God a chance to get all the glory, & show there's hope for me--& you! I always figured if God could forgive even as bad a guy as David, surely He could forgive me! I think King David's been an encouragement to a lot of people.--To know how much mercy God has & how much forgiveness He has, how good He can be if you'll really repent like David did!
       26. He was one of the biggest sinners in the Bible & did some of the most horrible things! But look what a marvellous change occurred in him when the Lord really humbled him.--It came through a humbling of his spiritual pride.
       27. But he had to be completely exposed--his wickedness & his sins & his weaknesses. He was sitting up there on his throne so high & mighty & seemingly so perfect & self-righteous. The Prophet Nathan came along & pointed the finger at him & said, "Thou art the man!" (2Sam.12) "You're the wicked one, the sinner!"--And then the judgements of God began to fall & he just lost everything, everything but Bathsheba, she stuck by him. He lost all his other wives. He was absolutely stripped except for a few loyal friends & followers.
       28. A guy couldn't have gone down in worse defeat than King David did! And the worst of all his sins was that he had become a self-righteous hypocrite because he covered all of his other sins up & pretended to be so righteous, judging other people's problems. That's when the Prophet came along & exposed him!
       29. So David really went through a lot of things. He apparently had a lot of spiritual pride that had to be humbled, because look what a great hero he was to begin with! Even as a little boy he was a great hero! He even fought & killed a lion & a bear to protect his sheep. (1Sam.17:34-37) Then all Israel knew what a great hero he was when he killed Goliath, the giant! They were praising his name above King Saul, saying, "Saul hath slain his thousands but David his tens of thousands!" (1Sam.18:7-9) So it could be that he was quite proud.--Which is no doubt why the Lord had to finally really humble him & disgrace him & really debase him down to the bottom before he finally really became humble & sympathetic to others & wrote those marvellous Psalms!
       30. So David is a dandy bad example, yet a great example of a great man who was apparently lifted up in pride for awhile & thereby got into great sin & thereby had to have a great humbling, a great judgement, a great confession & a really terrible stripping of everything.
       31. His was a great sin & it was a great dealing of God with him for his iniquity, but it was also a great repentance, & as a result, a great forgiveness. But it cost him the child of the woman he loved the most, the wife that was dearest to him, Bathsheba! But praise God, as a result of his repentance through having gone through that soul agony of the loss of that first child of Bathsheba, God forgave, & in His mercy gave him another one named Solomon, who became a very great king, the wisest & richest Israel ever knew!
       32. Though they were great sins, he had a great repentance, & therefore God had a great forgiveness for him, because they had a great love for each other in spite of everything!--And from that squeezing & twisting of David's life came forth the sweet honey of the Psalms & the fragrance of his praises to the Lord for His mercy! It was all God & all Grace, & none of himself or his own righteousness! --A lesson that has been an encouragement to other great sinners like me & you ever since! PTL!

       33. The difference between David & Saul was that Saul kept getting caught & he kept getting admonished & even exposed, & he would always be sorry & cry, but then he'd go right back & do it again! But David really repented & was humbled & changed, & he asked God to forgive him, & the Lord did, although he still had to receive some punishment before the people, to let the people know that God wouldn't let him get away without suffering some kind of punishment, because he deserved it.
       34. David knew he was nothing, & that if it weren't for God, he'd be back as a shepherd on the hillside somewhere. It was only God Who made him what he was & he knew it. Saul also knew that at first: He was so shy that when Samuel came to anoint him he hid himself amongst the baggage, although he was head & shoulders above his brethren. (1Sam.10:21-23)
       35. But after awhile he forgot that it was God & he became lifted up in pride & it went to his head & he thought that it was Saul who put himself where he was, he thought it was his own arm that had saved him & that it was his own brilliance that made him king. So God said to him, "When thou wast little in thine own eyes I did highly exalt thee!" (1Sam.15:17) But when he became exalted in his own eyes then God had to abase him. (Luk.14:11)--That's the difference between David & Saul!
       36. And that really is what finally brought about Saul's downfall. He figured he was so smart that he could get along without the Lord, & he went ahead in his own strength & his own wisdom & his own rightness & leaned too much to his own understanding & disobeyed the Lord, till the Lord had to rebuke him, chastise him, & tell him he was going to lose the Kingdom as a result of his disobedience!
       37. Saul was so rebellious & disobedient that he wound up putting on an air of self-righteousness & even sacrificing to God! He built an altar to sacrifice to the Lord before the battle to ask for God's blessing. He was going through all the motions, the mechanics of being righteous. But it was pure self-righteousness because he wasn't obeying the Lord or the voice of the Prophet & he didn't wait for God & God's voice. So Samuel said, "Listen, it's better to obey than to sacrifice! It's better to hearken, to listen to the voice of God, than to burn the fat of rams in self-righteous sacrifice!" (1Sam.15:22)
       38. Finally poor Saul got so far off the track that he wist not that the Spirit of God was even departed from him! He didn't even realise that things weren't as they had been, that he was no longer the man he used to be & that the blessings of God had departed! He kept right on trying to pretend that he was the king & right & doing the best he could & doing the right thing. His attitude was, "Well, why does God let this happen? Why does God allow this to be? Why does He let me be defeated, my family & my soldiers & my country?"--Blaming it on God instead of himself & his own rebellious wicked heart & evil disobedience & horrible sin of rebelliousness, which is as witchcraft & idolatry! (1Sam.15:23)

       39. Pride is a horrible thing, it can damn you to Hell! It's the biggest thing that causes Christians trouble!--Pride! And as you can see by Saul's example, the biggest failures in the Word of God were the big shot boys who thought they knew it all & went out & fell flat on their faces. They thought they could operate in their own natural wisdom & went out & fell flat on their swords! (1Sam.31:3-6.)
       40. Of course, in the World, pride is normally quite a virtue, so people are brainwashed & brought up to believe that. But in the Lord's service & in the spiritual, it's very bad & something you have to really try to fight against & overcome.
       41. Being bound by pride & self-righteousness can greatly hinder your spiritual progress & "growing up" in the Lord. It is only when you get to the point where you really yield to the Lord & get desperate & are willing to forsake it & be delivered that you will be in a position to really grow & mature. For spiritual maturity is not just a matter of years or time, although that often helps, but it's a matter of your connection with the Lord & His Word, your obedience & your humility.
       42. But pride is a problem we all have really, it's one of our main temptations, all of us! What was it that caused the fall of Satan?--Pride! Since pride caused the fall of Satan, it's apparently the root of all evil! It was the beginning of all evil!--Pride!
       43. In fact, the basis of virtually all sin is pride! And pride will really get in your way & hinder & keep you from growing & learning what God wants to teach you, & from becoming what He wants you to be.
       44. The Lord says that the full, those who think they know better & think themselves so righteous & are full of their own ideas, He sends empty away. (Luk.1:53) One reason that the proud & self-satisfied never seem to grow spiritually is because even if they read the Word a little, it just rolls like water off a duck's back! They're insulated, they're waterproofed to it, & the Water of the Word can no longer sink in!
       45. They are already soaked in the veneer of self-righteousness & waterproofing against the Word!--A thin paint of self-goodness & self-obedience & pretended service & sacrifice!--So insulated, so waterproofed that the Word doesn't even soak in anymore! And they're usually so insulated against the electric shocks of the Holy Spirit that they don't even feel them anymore!--And so blind that they can't even see & realise their horrible spiritual condition! And if they don't humble themselves & really surrender to the Lord, they soon become so hardened in their hearts that they're completely darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God, past feeling! (Eph.4:18,19)
       46. We've said before that discouragement is the Devil's favourite weapon, but it's usually our pride which is really behind the discouragement, he uses that pride to get us discouraged. So pride is really his favourite weapon! He's always trying to tempt us with that sort of thing, to make us get high & lifted up.
       47. But it is not our fault that we get tempted, that's the Enemy doing that & he does it to all of us. But it's our fault when we listen to him & go ahead & take the credit & glory for things & don't attack & hit him back every time he tries that tactic on us! So whatever we may do that he tempts us to get proud about & to take the credit for, we've got to really fight!--Fight hard for as long as it takes & really tell him off & say, "Get thee behind me, Satan!--It's not me, it's just the Lord! I'm not going to take the credit for this, I'm just going to give the glory to Jesus! It's not anything I'm doing, somebody else could do it just as well! It's all the Lord's Work!" Just hit him back & quote Scriptures & really attack!
       48. But the minute you start patting yourself on the back, watch out, God will see to it that you're humbled to bring you out of it! So don't for one moment give yourself the credit for one little thing that you've done. That's one of the biggest dangers you have, to begin thinking it's you.--It's God's anointing, & if He withdraws it, you're as flat as ever!
       49. God alone is the One Who wants to get the credit! God is the One Who wants to get the glory, & God is the only One Who can do it! Then He wants you to praise & thank Him & glorify Him because He did it. 'Cause if you could do it, you could pat yourself on the back for it, & say,
       50. "Well, look what I've done! Look how great I am! Look how wonderful I'm doing!" Watch out when you talk like that: You're headed for trouble! "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall!" (1Cor.10:12) You'd better keep saying, "Wow, look what God has done! Look what the Lord's doing! Look how great He's working!"
       51. When you just want to show off your own big talents or looks or whatever you think you're so great at, that's a very wrong attitude or motivation for any of us to have!--It's part of that self-righteous "works-trip", wanting to do something wonderful or be somebody attractive & appealing to earn love & attention.--Wanting to have the glory yourself instead of just giving it to the Lord!
       52. So for God's sake, confess to yourself & others continually how hopeless you are without God! Give Him all the glory for anything good about you & yourself all the blame for anything bad! That's usually a pretty good rule, because it's usually right!--"What hast thou that thou didst not receive?" (1Cor.4:7) "Every good gift & every perfect gift cometh down from above." (Jam.1:17) So give God all the glory!

       53. Another sign of pride is when we are too sensitive, & we snap back or we feel hurt. Such sensitiveness is definitely born of pride, & pride is of the Enemy! So we all should ask the Lord to deliver us from this machination of the Evil One! This is such a strong temptation for so many.
       54. Some people are actually proud of being sensitive, they think that being sensitive is a good thing! But being so sensitive, so easily hurt, shows just how proud they really are.--It's not being sensitive to the Lord & His Spirit, it's being sensitive to yourself! We all have a tendency to feel that way sometimes, but we should try to watch it & try to have so much love & humility that it really doesn't hurt, because only pride hurts!--Humility doesn't really feel it. It's the pride & the proud spirit that really feels it & really hurts.
       55. Along the same lines, when people are easily offended it usually shows that they're not very strong & pretty unspiritual. Often when they get offended at others it gives them a sense of self-righteousness, they think that they are right & others are wrong or being unfair or unjust to them, which ministers to their pride. But when anyone in this outfit gets so proud & so smart that they can't stand somebody to even give them a suggestion, much less a correction, they're in pretty bad shape!
       56. When people get like this, it just shows that they're not holding onto the Lord!--And anything & everybody & everything can get them down! In fact, almost nothing!--The slightest little provocation, the slightest little exaggeration, the slightest little insinuation, the slightest little remark, & they've had it! Their skin is so thin they can't take it.--The veneer is so thin it gets scratched very easily.--And that nice Christian polish they have turns out to be nothing but on the surface! All it takes is one little scratch & everybody can see the horrible sight underneath!--Or their spiritual balance is so delicate that nobody dare touch them or it will tip them off balance one way or the other & they'll crash!
       57. Some people are so damn delicate they can't stand anything! They can't take the slightest pressure! They collapse because they're not holding onto the Lord, they're not standing on the Word, they're not believing in His Promises!--They're depending on some damn self-righteousness of their own, some depraved greatness they think they have! And let me tell you, that kind of sanctimonious hypocrisy can't stand the shock treatments of the Devil! It shatters very easily! Then everybody's given a terrible look at all the horror within, because they didn't really hold onto the Lord & keep their eyes on Heaven!
       58. Sometimes such pride makes it even harder to forgive yourself for your sins & mistakes, even though you know that God will forgive you! When you feel so terribly bad about your mistakes, sometimes it's pride! But in a case when the Lord wants to work on your pride, it's good that you fall or you don't always hit the mark, because then you realise that only the Lord can do anything, & that when you do succeed, it's only the Lord, it's not you! Sometimes He has to let you fail to show you that He's the only One that can succeed!

       59. It's all gotta be the Lord, & He wants to do it & He wants to get the credit for it & the glory. And if in any way, shape or form you think you're going to get a little credit for it & be able to brag about how you did it & made it & had the faith & all the rest, He's apt to slap you down a little to show you Who's Boss & to make you look to Him alone!
       60. He knows how to keep you in line, keep you in check so you don't get the big head & don't get too puffed up & too self-confident, have too great a sense of false security! The Lord really knows how to keep you in line, keep you in shape, toeing the mark so you won't miss the mark! And often, if we're quite proud, quite self-righteous & quite overly-religious, He gives us just what we need to bring us out of it, a real breaking, a real humbling!
       61. God sometimes has to destroy what we think we are or what we think we're supposed to be or what we think we should be or do, in order to get us to do what He wants us to do & make us what He wants us to be. Hallelujah! (Tongues & Prophecy:) "That vessel which was destroyed & broken in the hands of the Potter, behold, He hath softened & mellowed it & worked it again & its Creator hath made of it an even better vessel!" Thank You Jesus! Praise You Lord! Hallelujah!
       62. Did you know that the potters often do that?--When they're working the clay, when they have finished a vessel or are even half-way through, & they find an imperfection or something where there's a mistake or there's a lump or there's a mar, they will take that same clay & crush it & add more water to it again, make it soft again & knead it again & work it again.--Mash it, crush it, squeeze it, till they make it nice soft clay again.--Then they remake it into a new vessel & a better vessel if the first one didn't come out quite right. (Jer.18:4)
       63. God gets some of His greatest victories out of seeming defeats.--Victories of brokenness, humility, & more utter dependence on Him, which you must have if you're going to lead & inspire others! My Mother once asked the great evangelist, Paul Rader, "Why are the labourers always so few?", & he answered wisely, "I guess God can't break them fast enough!" How true!
       64. God only uses broken men & women--no others will do! Others are too self-confident in their own flesh! God has to break them, melt them, mold them in the hands of the Potter, to make them a better vessel. But He won't force it! The breaking depends upon you & your yieldedness, & willingness to be made willing, total humility, which is synonymous with total love!--So that you're willing to go anywhere, anytime, & do anything, for anybody, & be nobody, to please Him, & help others!
       65. Apparently the Lord can't trust you with a high & mighty job or a high & mighty testimony, or a high & mighty responsibility, something that might really lift you up in pride, until He has really humbled you & broken you so that you know it's the Lord & you give Him all the glory & all the credit & it doesn't go to your head & make you proud!--Which is why the New Testament says you're not to give a novice any position of great responsibility or leadership lest he be lifted up in pride & then fall under the condemnation (judgement or sentence) of the Devil by the Lord. (1Tim.3:6)--In other words, if you get all lifted up in that horrible sin of pride that caused the Devil to fall--watch out! You'll get the same judgement that he got, & you'll fall, too. The Lord will let you make a fool of yourself & a mess of things & you'll fall flat on your face & be humbled & humiliated!
       66. Unless God is able to break your spirit, you can never be truly useful to the Lord! If you have a proud & a haughty spirit, a selfish spirit, a spirit which is unyielding & unbending & unsurrendered, you can never be greatly used by the Lord! And I don't think that you can even really be a good leader, a wise humble leader, until you've pulled some awful boners & made some terrible mistakes & committed a few sins & really blown it a few times yourself! For one thing, you'll never be humble enough!
       67. So it's good for you to make mistakes, it keeps you humble! I make lots of'm! If I didn't make some mistakes I'd probably get really proud & think I was very wholly sanctified & couldn't sin! I'd probably get really proud of my sanctimonious holiness! But it seems like the Lord makes me one of the biggest mistake-makers in the World to keep me humble!
       68. The Lord probably wants you to fail sometimes so you won't get to thinking too highly of yourself & think that you know everything. Blowing it now & then really humbles you & keeps you more dependent on Him. Sometimes He has to let you fail & make mistakes to keep you in a humble spirit! Amen?
       69. So you can even look on your failures as a positive thing, from a positive viewpoint.--Not taking it as the Lord trying to crush you to the ground & letting the Enemy walk all over you, but that He's actually honoring you by teaching you these important lessons by letting such things happen. You ought to be really thanking Him for it! You may feel bad, but you should thank the Lord, because it's wonderful that you can learn these lessons which help you to grow! It's even a blessing that we can fall sometimes, because often we get our greatest victories out of seeming defeats!
       70. It's so wonderful how God takes a hand & humbles people, including me, because I am nobody & Jesus knows it. You will never make it unless God breaks you & humbles you & you realise that you are nothing!
       71. God breaks us in mercy.--And has mercy in our breaking. Amen, praise the Lord! Help us all, Lord!--That's the story of every one of us who is any good at all for Thy work. You've put us through many a humbling, melting, abasing, remolding, reshaping & remaking to form better vessels, better than we were, better than we thought we were & much more useful for Thy Kingdom! Thank You Jesus, in Jesus' name. Amen.

       "NEITHER MURMUR YE...!" (1Cor.10:10)
       72. Many times when God does things to break & humble us it's a real test, & sad to say, it often ends in murmuring & people hold it against God! Instead of really learning what He wants to teach them from their troubles or sicknesses or whatever He has allowed, they ask, "God, why did You do this to me?", instead of "Lord, why did I deserve this? Why did I need it?" They're almost offended at God for letting it happen, instead of realising that God is dealing with them. I just figure I deserve every bit of it & a lot more & I'm probably getting off easy.
       73. But some people are so self-righteous they wonder, "How could God do such a thing to me? How could the Lord treat me this way when I'm so good to Him?" They actually resent it, like Job did at first. Look what the Lord had to put him through before he finally was humbled, & confessed that he wasn't more righteous than God!
       74. The self-righteous always blame God for it all instead of themselves or instead of accepting it for whatever reason He's allowing it. I remember we had a girl at our school in Miami who had some kind of skin affliction. She was always saying, "Why? Why?--Why has God done this to me? Why does God let me suffer like this? I thought when I came to your school & joined you, God would heal me, but I'm still suffering!--He still hasn't healed me!--How come?" Well, when people start asking God why in that spirit it is pure self-righteousness!
       75. People with that kind of a self-righteous attitude are saying, "Well, God, if I were You, I'd do things better than You're doing them!--I'd be more righteous!--I'd heal me!" Just like that recent popular song: "If I were King!" It goes on to say that if I were king I wouldn't let all these bad things be going on in the World! In other words, "I'm more righteous than God! I'm better than God! I'm more good than God! God isn't good, or He wouldn't let all these things happen!"
       76. That's what a lot of Christians do. They say, "Lord, I tried, I tried to be good! I tried to be a Christian, Lord. I tried to serve You, Lord. I even went to the mission field & even got there, but I didn't make it because You didn't help me, You didn't see me through, You didn't answer prayer!--It's all Your fault!"
       77. The Jews are experts at that! "Why me, God? Why should I have to suffer like this when I'm so good & so righteous & I go to synagogue every Friday evening & I obey all the little Mosaic commandments, blah blah." They are absolute perfectionists at self-righteousness! And just think, they've held out like that for 2,000 years, still refusing to believe!
       78. That is the worst sin of all, to even have the slightest idea that you're a little bit more righteous than God, that God shouldn't have done this or that to you! Do you know what that is? That is the very seed & the root of murmuring! Do you get it? When you murmur, when you complain, when you bellyache about something, then you're saying that you're more righteous than God or others!--That if you were boss, you would have let you do it or you would have done better or you wouldn't have done this or you wouldn't have done that!
       79. That's the Devil's own tactic to always try to get you to blame your problems on everybody else! "Why me, Lord? I didn't do it, they did it to me! It wasn't my fault, it's his fault, her fault! They're the ones to blame! They're the ones that made me feel like this!" The problem with a lot of people is that they blame all their troubles on somebody else!--"It's that person I have to live with, that awful Hell of a person I have to sleep with or that leader I have to work under"--or this one or that one!
       80. Lots of people are self-righteous like that with their parents, with their fellow workers, with their bosses! They say, "I wouldn't have done it that way if it had been up to me!" That's the way Jethro used to be. He'd say, "You know Dad!--I wouldn't do it that way, but that's just Dad!" That's what Absalom did. He told all the people, "You're not getting a just deal from my Dad, my Father on the throne, King David. Come to me! I'll make it right, because I'm more righteous than King David! I am Absalom, your friend! Come to me for redress! Come to me for satisfaction! Come to me with your case & I'll settle it in your favour!"--And he won the hearts of the people by flattering pride! (2Sam.15:2-6)
       81. But let me tell you, if you start fighting & arguing with God, I can tell you who's right & who's wrong! I have that much faith in God, even though I haven't always understood some of the things He did to me & let happen to me & let happen to others--I have not understood'm & I still don't understand'm to this day--but I know one thing for sure, God is the One Who was right!
       82. God hates such murmuring & He wiped out a whole generation of five or six million Jews in the Sinaitic desert because of their murmuring & pretending to be more righteous than God! "We wouldn't have done this, God! Why did You do this to us, God? We would have been gooder than You, God! We're gooder than God!"--And God was furious with them, knowing how wicked & how vile & imperfect & iniquitous their wicked, black, evil hearts were, just through this self-righteousness! No matter whether they kept all the other commandments & all the rigmarole of the tent & the tabernacle & all the worship & all the laws of Moses, it didn't matter!
       83. If they thought they were more righteous than God & they were holding it against God because God didn't do this or didn't do that, or "God doesn't heal me, I'm holding it against God now", that very attitude can kill you! God hates that attitude almost more than anything else! It is pure self-righteousness, it is accusing God of unrighteousness! "Can a man be found more righteous than God?"--No! Never! No matter what God does, it's more righteous than anything Man could ever do!--And no matter what Man does, it's never as righteous as God is!
       84. So forgive us for our murmurings, Lord, & help us never to criticise You & the way You're running things, to try to think we're more righteous than You! Murmuring is such a terrible sin, Lord, it's really complaining that You're doing things wrong & thinking that we could do them better, that we're more righteous than You are, which is a terrible sin, Lord, self-righteousness! Forgive us all, Lord, & help us in Jesus' name to trust You. You know best about all these things & You're going to have Your way & it's all going to work out for the best in the long run for all of us who love You, in Jesus' name.

       85. A lot of people talk about the patience of Job, but the main lesson that I get out of Job is--& it's pointed out by his counsellors, they're really right about it--Job kept protesting his own righteousness. "Why did You do this to me, Lord? I haven't done anything wrong", etc.
       86. It turned out in the long run that Job found he had committed the worst sin of all! But at first he really thought he was a very good man, & he was a very good man. Even the Lord said to the Devil, "Have you ever seen anybody as good as this man? Behold My servant Job!" The Devil said, "Yeah? Well, just let me put the screws on him & see what happens!" (Job 1:8-12)
       87. The Devil is like the prosecutor & he was trying to show God that Job really wasn't all that righteous & if he put the screws on tight enough he'd crack, & in a way he did! In a way, the Devil was really right, believe it or not, because he showed that Job's righteousness was pretty much self-righteousness. Because when he got really under it, he blamed God for it all!
       88. He didn't like the suffering, he complained about it, he murmured about it, he didn't want to suffer & he even complained to God, "How come, Lord? Why are You letting me suffer like this?" The Lord really let him go through it, the contempt of his family & friends & the scorn of his own wife & he lost everything, including his health, until finally he was sitting there on an ash heap scraping his boils with a piece of broken pottery!
       89. Because the Lord knew Job's weakness--& so did the Devil--He allowed the Enemy to attack him in that which he was most vulnerable & that was his own pride & self-righteousness! He thought he was so perfect! "Why me, Lord? Look how perfect I am!" And that's exactly why God pulled the rug out from under him & let the Devil do all kinds of things to him, just to show him that he was just as much of a sinner as anybody else & maybe more, because he was so damn self-righteous, instead of righteous in the righteousness of God!
       90. Job is a good example of the self-righteous sinner, the religious sinner, the pious, sanctimonious, self-righteous hypocrite! People are always complimenting Job for his patience & wondering, "Well, how could God have done all that to such a good man?" They wouldn't have let the Devil do that to him! That's the attitude of the average Christian. I've run into lots of people in church who wonder how come the Lord let the Devil do all that to Job when he was such a good man!
       91. Well, the Lord let it happen to him because he was such a bad man, & he was only pretending to be a good man! The lesson is very clear there if you read the whole thing, it's extremely clear. And a lot of his so-called comforters, which the church & the preachers decry, were right in their accusations & the things they said about him! But he was arguing about it & resisting the truths they were giving. He was not accepting it! He wouldn't believe it! He was too proud & self-righteous & he didn't want to confess it!
       92. So even though it seemed Job was a perfect man & thought he'd never sinned & thought he was absolutely righteous & perfect, his great sin was that he thought he was perfect, he claimed to be perfect! He protested to God & his counsellors that he was perfect: "Why have You done this to me, Lord? I'm perfect, I've never done a thing wrong! Why did You do this to me?"
       93. Speaking of his own good works, Job boasted, "I delivered the poor that cried, & the fatherless, & him that had none to help him. The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: & I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy. I put on righteousness, & it clothed me: my judgement was as a robe & a diadem. I was eyes to the blind, & feet was I to the lame. I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out." (Job 29:12-16)
       94. Job, the epitome of patience, held up to both the church & the World as a great sample of patience & of a righteous man, a good man, was actually the World's worst example & the church's worst example & the greatest example God ever gave the World of a self-righteous man! He was actually a wicked, vile, filthy, iniquitous, disobedient sinner in the eyes of God, by even thinking he was righteous & even thinking he was perfect! Until finally even one of his accusers hit the nail on the head & said: "Can a man be found more righteous than God!" (Job 4:17; 9:2)
       95. After hearing all of Job's arguments against God, it says that Job's friends, "ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.--Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu against Job, because he justified himself rather than God!" (Job 32:1,2)
       96. Elihu then socked it to him & rightly said, "Surely thou hast spoken in mine hearing & I have heard the voice of thy words, saying, `I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me!--But behold, He findeth occasions against me, He counteth me for His enemy! He putteth my feet in the stocks, He marketh all my paths.' Behold, in this thou art not just!--God is greater than Man! Why dost thou strive against Him? For He giveth not account of any of His matters." (Job 33:8-13)
       {\ul 97. "For Job hath said, `I am righteous, & God hath taken away my judgement.'} Therefore hearken unto me, ye men of understanding: Far be it from God, that He should do wickedness; & from the Almighty, that He should commit iniquity! For the work of a man shall He render unto him, & cause every man to find according to his ways. Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgement!" (Job 34:5,10-12)
       {\ul 98. "Is it fit to say to a king, `Thou art wicked?'} And to princes, `Ye are ungodly?' How much less to Him that accepteth not the persons of princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor? For they all are the work of His hands." (Job 34:18-19)
       {\ul 99. "Surely it is meet to be said unto God, `I have borne chastisement,} I will not offend anymore: That which I see not, teach Thou me.--And if I have done iniquity, I will do no more.' Elihu spake moreover, & said to Job, `Thinkest thou this to be right, that thou saidst, `My righteousness is more than God's?'" (Job 34:31,32; 35:1,2)
       100. Then finally God Himself socks it to him!--"Moreover the Lord answered Job, & said, `Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct Him? He that reproveth God, let him answer it!' Then Job answered the Lord, & said, `Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer Thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth!'" (Job 40:1-4)
       101. Job was trusting his own righteousness a great deal, but he finally got the point that his own righteousness couldn't make it & he had to trust the Lord! It's quite obvious up to that point he'd been trusting himself quite a bit because he was so good & so righteous & so legalistic, obeyed all the laws & thought that he could be found righteous with God. But finally he breaks down in the very end & confesses that God is the only One Who's really righteous & he really had no righteousness of his own!
       102. So Job, contrary to being merely a great lesson in patience--well, it was a lesson, it showed in the long run that it takes faith to have patience--but almost more than anything else it is a lesson against self-righteousness!
       103. Dear Job finally did get the point that his sin was self-righteousness! His sin was self-perfection. His sin was that he thought he didn't have any sin, & he couldn't understand why God was doing all this to him. And when he finally confessed that he wasn't righteous & that he was vile & that only the Lord was good, he was healed & delivered, TTL!

       "I WILL HAVE MERCY & NOT SACRIFICE!" (Mat.12:7)
       104. "And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans & sinners came & sat down with Him & His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto His disciples, `Why eateth your Master with publicans & sinners?' But when Jesus heard that, He said unto them, `They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye & learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy & not sacrifice: For I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance!'" (Mat.9:10-13)
       105. Jesus said to go back & learn what God meant when He said, "I will have mercy & not sacrifice." (Hos.6:6) In other words, what He was really saying was, "I would rather see you have love, & not just a sacrificial dutiful law-keeping offering of sacrifices & duties.--I'd rather you'd give love to others than to just be so self-righteous!"
       106. I think we all need to apply this to ourselves. We all need to learn what that meaneth! We all need to ask Him in all humility to help us have mercy on others, knowing that we ourselves must also be forgiven for many sins! Remembering continually what sinners we are & how many mistakes we've made helps greatly to keep us humble & to avoid that spirit of self-righteous pride which causes us to criticise & condemn others.
       107. If you'll remember that no one is perfect, including you, you'll help others to do the best they can, as you'd like them to do to you! It helps to always remember we're all sinners & that we all make mistakes & that we must "forgive one another even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven us". (Eph.4:32)
       108. The only way we can be patient with others is to know what a hopeless case we are ourselves! You'll be much more merciful to others if you yourself realise how much you need mercy! I tell you, when you need a lot of forgiveness & you need a lot of mercy, it sure helps you to extend it to others!
       109. Jesus taught us to pray, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us!" (Mat.6:12-15) If we're only going to be forgiven the way we forgive others, & be shown the mercy that we show others, some people are going to be in a pretty bad fix, especially the churches & self-righteous churchy Christians, who are almost the most unforgiving people I've ever met! Even the publicans & the sinners & drunks & harlots are more understanding & more forgiving because they know they're that way & they can't help it & they're more merciful, more forgiving because they'd like to be forgiven themselves!
       110. But some people are so damn self-righteous they think they never make a mistake! They're always right, so why should they ever have to be forgiven & why should they have to forgive others? But if you can't forgive, you cannot possibly have real love or real humility! You haven't got mercy, because love is forgiveness & mercy!
       111. Which kind of person are you?--The just, unforgiving, unloving, unbending, unmerciful, proud self-righteous?--Or the merciful, loving, yielding, forgiving, humble, unrighteous sinner saved only by the grace of God!--The latter are going to Heaven, the former to Hell!--Jesus said so!--Which are you?

       112. A critical spirit & a harsh, condemning attitude towards others comes from self-righteousness! But if you know you're a mess yourself, then you don't go around looking down on & criticising other people for their mistakes. But if you think you're so righteous, that's when you start picking on others.
       113. Some people, the minute somebody makes a mistake, they seem to forget all the past & all the good they ever did & all the good job they've done! They catch a guy in one thing & they forget all his past loyalty & his past faithfulness & rake him over the coals & want to toss him out instead of being patient & forgiving. Just remember, we're all in school, we're all learning, & some of us have got a lot to learn!--Especially me, because the more I know, the more I know I don't know!
       114. A lot of the old Chain, Jethro, Deborah & Rachel in particular, used to have a very hard & critical attitude towards others, talking very harshly about people behind their backs, making fun of them & cutting them down. It nearly made me sick, heartsick, to hear them literally ridicule people & tear them apart behind their backs, showing little or no love or real understanding at all! Speaking about members of our own Family this way, self-righteously cutting them down & laughing & making fun of them is horrible!
       115. That's one thing I'll say for my Mother, she always tried to speak well of people. She was one of those people who cast a veil over countless sins. (1Pet.4:8) But sad to say, a lot of people are like billy-goats, they're always "butting"! If you say anything good about somebody they'll say, "Yes, but, yes, but--you ought to know them", & "Yes, but you ought to see so-&-so", "Yes, but you should have heard what I heard!"
       116. But my Mother's attitude would be, if she heard criticism & she heard someone being maligned, she'd always try to "but" just the other way. She'd say, "Yes, but you know he is a good man, he's faithful", "Yes, but he tried his best, he's doing the best he can!"--So for God's sake, don't fall prey to the cruel Chain-like habit of jabbing & hurting people. You may even be right sometimes in what you say, but if you are wrong in the way you say it, without the love that you should have, you could really be hurting others & causing untold harm & damage!
       117. So try to have a little sympathy, a little empathy with others, put yourself in their shoes & try to think how you would feel if you were there. Remember that Scripture, "Love covereth a multitude of sins!" (1Pet.4:8) All that some people can see is the button off the vest, instead of the beautiful necktie! They're always seeing the hole instead of the doughnut! You don't want to be like the billy-goat who goes around butting everything he doesn't like, crashing head-on with "but this, & but that", do you?--How much better to have sympathy, love & compassion, to "bear ye one another's burdens, & so fulfil the Law of Christ!" (Gal.6:2)
       118. The drunks & the harlots, the publicans & the sinners didn't go to the harsh, rigid, self-righteous, unyielding, unforgiving, critical, & condemning church leaders, who told them to be perfect or go to Hell, & laid on them religious burdens that were more than they were able to bear. (Mt.23:4)--But they came to Jesus, for His Love & Mercy, Forgiveness, Encouragement, & Patience!--And He treated them tenderly, kindly & forgivingly, & gave them hope, love & strength!--Do you?
       119. But even towards the physically afflicted & handicapped, some of the Family have had a critical & condescending attitude, when they themselves may be guilty of things much worse, like pride & jealousy & the sins of the spirit.
       120. If the healthy have self-righteous feelings of being better than such afflicted folks, & look down on them like the Pharisee who said, "I thank Thee, O God, that I am not as this man," then that holier-than-thou self-righteous attitude in itself is a much worse sin than the pitifully human afflictions of the flesh & the physically afflicted & tormented!
       121. So what we all really need is more love!--And less pride! Love is humble! Love is humility!--And humility is the absolute opposite of critical self-righteous pride! You cannot be proud & have real love at the same time!--And you can't have real love & be proud at the same time!--Which have you? Pride is the spirit of the Devil!--Love is the Spirit of God!--Which spirit do you have?--You can't have both!
       122. Have you been critical, unloving & hard on some, unforgiving, unfeeling, intolerant & impatient?--Instead of lovingly making it easier for them, have you made it harder for them by your criticism & critical spirit & hard heart, unforgiving attitude & hardness & unwillingness to be tolerant & teach & train?--If so, then you may have a few lessons to learn along the lines of love & mercy, forgiveness, patience, tolerance & longsuffering!
       123. You'd better humbly open your arms of love to those whom you've wronged, & you'd better ask them to forgive you for your impatience & your hardness of heart, your intolerance, your unloving critical spirit! Take them back in with wide open arms & ask them to forgive you for being so self-righteous & critical & hard of heart, unloving & impatient!
       124. After all, how can you not comfort others with the same comfort wherewith you yourself are comforted? (2Cor.1:4) How can you not extend the same mercy that the Lord has extended to you? What everybody needs is Love!--If they're not going to find it here, where are they going to find it? To whom else can they go?--We alone have the Words of Eternal Life, & present day service for anybody & everybody, even the worst!
       125. Oh Lord Jesus!--Please help our folks to have real love, & not just self-righteousness! Help us all to learn what real love is, Lord! Real love is humility, & humility is love, there's really no difference. So, Lord, if our love is not truly humble, real humility, then it's not real love!
       126. Please give us love, Lord! "Above all things have fervent love one toward another." (1Pet.4:8) Let us not condemn in pride, let us not be as the Scribes & the Pharisees: "I thank Thee, O God, that I am not as this man", the publican, the sinner. If we're lifted up in pride & glad we're not like the sinner, Lord, then we're even worse! We're self-righteous & hypocritical! Help us, Lord, to know that except by Thy grace we wouldn't even be here! We would be worse off than those we are tempted to look down upon, except by Thy Love & Thy mercy & Thy grace!
       127. You said, "I will have mercy and not sacrifice." We must spend time alone with Thee to learn what this meaneth! Give us great love, great patience, great humility, littleness in our own eyes. Help us to mete unto other men's bosoms as You have meted unto us. Help us to forgive other men's sins as You have forgiven us, to have mercy upon others as You have had mercy upon us.
       128. Help us to be like You, Lord Jesus! Help us not to be like the Enemy--the Accuser of the Saints, the harsh, the cruel, the devourer--but like the little gentle Lamb of God! With all of our discipline, sometimes we've been too harsh, we've not had the patience we should have. Help us to be forgiving & patient, & to have mercy as we want mercy, & to treat others in their errors as we want You to treat us in ours! Thou art the Great Shepherd! Help us not to be hard, but tender & gentle, like You, precious Lord! In Jesus' name I pray! Amen.

       "IF WE CONFESS OUR SINS..." (1Jn.1:9)
       129. Once God has pinned down a spiritual problem & given the answer & prescribed the cure, we just need to put it into effect.--And that's usually the hardest part, the operation. But in some cases, if you don't cut out the cancer the patient's going to die! Rooting out can be painful, it's not a very easy job. If you've ever rooted up a plant you know what I mean, sometimes it tears out some of the earth with it, like tearing out part of your heart.
       130. You'll never be able to correct the problem or find the solution if you deny it exists & keep saying everything is all right, perfectly all right.--That doesn't solve the problem at all. In fact, it makes it even worse! You'll never get the victory over such a problem until you honestly face it & confess it. "He that confesseth his sins", His Word says, "shall have mercy. But he that covereth his sin shall never prosper!" (Pro.28:13)
       131. Remember, truth resisted loses its power over the mind! If you keep quenching the Spirit, pretty soon She stops speaking! So beware of refusing to yield to the Truth of God! Jesus told the Jews, "How often I would have gathered you, but ye would not!" (Mat.23:37) God does not force Himself on anyone, He doesn't push Himself. You have the majesty of free choice & have to hungrily, willingly want & desire the Truth & the victory!
       132. Of course no one really likes to confess all their faults & failings to others, but it strengthens you if you do!--It certainly helps to tell the Lord! If we genuinely want the answers & want His Will, then we need to be honest & open our hearts to Him! He knows everything, but we still have to be honest with Him! Even though He knows it all & what our problems are & what our deepest thoughts are & all about our failings, He still requires us to be honest with Him & not to just say, "Well, Lord, You already know all of this about me." He wants us to tell Him & to say it, to present the problem & ask for His help!
       133. Another thing about confessing that you're a sinner, really exposing yourself & your sins, it reminds you that you're no picture of purity & innocence!--And though you may no longer feel quite as angelic, you're a whole lot more saintly according to God's idea of saintliness!
       134. But if you're trusting so much in your own righteousness, your own perfection, it becomes almost impossible to honestly & humbly confess your own faults & problems, mistakes & shortcomings, because it destroys your own self-confidence, nearly shatters your own self-reliance, & it proves you're not perfect, which the self-righteous hate to even admit to themselves! And this is one of the big problems when you're so self-righteous!--It's hard for the Lord to get through to you, for anything to really sink in! Even if somebody else has the same problems as you & you read all about them, you don't ever apply it to yourself.
       135. Really self-righteous people have almost got to have it pinpointed right at them personally & directly, or they often don't even get the point! Unless they are really brought to a confrontation & told that they are self-righteous, they may never see it! They're so blinded by it that they never get it from reading about it in the Word or from anybody else's testimony unless they are directly confronted with their personal problem & personal situation & it's spelled out to them!
       136. But if they'll only recognise & face their problem, then they can attack it & make progress! Only God can give the victory, but they must be willing & yielded to Him, & make the decision that they want to be delivered without reservation!
       137. As we've already brought out, self-righteousness is the greatest of all sins. But the problem is that people often don't see that. They are so blinded by it that they can't seem to see the fact that their own self-righteousness, their own righteous living, self-rightness & all that, is the greatest sin & hindrance in their lives!
       138. And sin is a spiritual disease! It's a spiritual handicap! It is a spiritual affliction of the Devil, & it needs to be rebuked & gotten desperate over & prayed about & delivered from just like a physical disease or handicap!
       139. It's like leprosy! At first it may seem like just a tiny spot, a little annoying itch, a little defective spot, & oh well, you might not think it's serious. But it grows & grows until finally it becomes numb & dead & paralyses the nerves so you can't feel it anymore. Even though it's eating off your fingers & your toes & your ears & your nose, you can't even feel it anymore, it just has no feeling, it's numb!
       140. So instead of covering it up & just belittling it & minimising it, they need to become really truly convicted, by coming face-to-face with the truth!--Either somebody telling them off & telling them what's really wrong with them, or by honestly looking at themselves in God's mirror to see what a horrible mess they really are! (Jam.1:22-25)
       141. But if they don't recognise the disease & see what's wrong with them & get horrified at it & terrified by it & shook up by it, shocked by it, concerned about it, desperate about it, recognising it, seeing it, confessing it, exposed by the Word of God, exposed by the Light of His Truth to themselves as well as to others, then they'll never see their need, they'll never feel that they even need healing or a change or to be convicted or to confess or to repent!
       142. But if they will simply come to that realisation & really realise & honestly confess that there's nothing good about them, or in them & that they are just sinners saved by grace & they still need to keep asking God for deliverance & repentance, & try to get rid of their sins & spiritual diseases so they can serve the Lord better, the Lord will do it! It's in the Word! He says plain as anything He would rather let them be healed! (Heb.12:13)
       143. They just need to come out in the light & see themselves as God sees them, & to recognise that they are bad--not good! They are wicked & sinful & selfish & perverted spiritually except for the Lord! They need to recognise these sins, face them, see them, hear them, get convicted of them, recognise they have them, recognise they have these spiritual diseases. They've got to recognise it & see it & believe it & confess it & repent of it to be delivered!
       144. Those who are honest about it, there's hope for them! Even if they'll only confess it in their own hearts to the Lord, confess it to God, then they've reached the turning-point where there's some way out & some way up. That's the first thing you've got to do to even be saved, is to see that you're a sinner, recognise it & confess it.--To confess your sins means to believe that you're a sinner. But if they won't even believe they're sinners, how are they going to confess it & how are they going to pray desperately to be delivered if they won't even see it?
       145. But while there is life there is hope! "Let the wicked forsake his way, & the unrighteous man his thoughts: & let him return unto the Lord, & He will have mercy upon him; & to our God, for He will abundantly pardon!" (Isa.55:7) He will forgive you. He'll even forget all of your past sins & all of your mistakes & all of your shortcomings & all of your failures if you truly repent & come back to Him! (Heb.8:12)

       IT'S NOT IN YOU!
       146. The crux of the matter is this: Everybody is bad! Everybody deserves spankings & punishments. That isn't what God blames you for. He blames you for not calling on Him to help you & for not repenting, not letting Him change you, not letting Him do it! You can't do it yourself! You just have to turn your life, your mind, your heart, everything over to the Lord & let Him do it! When people finally get to that point where they just give up & let go & let God, then God has a chance to step in & do it! He wants to do it & He wants to show you that you can't do it & He wants the glory!
       147. This is what it's all about, it's all for the glory of God!--Of course you can't do it, you can't save yourself, you can't live a Christian life, you can't be good, you can't do anything without Jesus! He Himself said, "Without Me ye can do nothing!" (Jn.15:5)--Nothing!
       148. Maybe that's why the Lord could finally use me, because as Mother Eve knew for so many years, & as Maria knows to this day, I always feel like such a horrible sinner & such a mess! I feel like I've done so many things wrong & make so many mistakes & have such a hard time making up my mind or making a decision or anything else, that I am a hopeless case! Sometimes if I look at myself & look at my faults, I get discouraged & I wonder how the Lord could ever use me at all!
       149. But let's face it, every one of us is a hell of a mess, & if we don't keep our eyes on the Lord & our mind on His Word, we're doomed to defeat, doubt, disillusionment & final failure! None of us can stand the sight of ourselves! We're a mess & nothing without the Lord, & only He can do it, if we'll just yield to Him.
       150. When Peter started looking at himself--he started to sink! (Mat.14:28-31) It was no use! If you start looking at yourself, you're going to Sink Sink Sink, when you Think Think Think, 'cause you Stink Stink Stink! You have to keep your eyes on Jesus!
       151. So to Hell with your stupid self & all your damn sins! Let's send'm to Hell where they came from! Let's just lift up Jesus! Let's talk about Jesus! Let's just hear what Jesus has done!--In you & through you & by you & about you & to you & with you & for you!--All about Jesus!
       152. You are never gonna make it!--But God will make it in you! "For it is God which worketh in you, to will & to do of His good pleasure! For ye are dead, & it is Christ which liveth in you, the hope of glory!" (Phil.2:13; Col.3:3; Gal.2:20; Col.1:27) --Amen? Do you understand? That's what it's all about! "For where sin doth abound, grace doth much more abound!" (Rom. 5:20)
       153. It's all gotta be a miracle of the grace of God! It's all gotta be a miracle!--Your work for the Lord, your daily tasks for the Lord, your thoughts & your love for Him & for others & unselfishness & sacrifice & a life of service, all of it is a miracle of God! It's God's work!
       154. God doesn't expect you to do it!--All He expects you to do is trust, obey & yield, then He'll do it through you! God knows, I'm nothing, know nothing, can do nothing, & it's the same with you! We are only channels & tools in His Hand,that's all. All He needs is something to work through & work with for His glory!
       155. If you get to where you realise that you aren't anything & you don't know anything & you come to the end of yourself, that's when God has a chance to take over & do things to suit Himself!--This is why I've found that the best thing in the World for most people, including me, is that it's a lot better to think you're worse than you are than to think you're better than you are! "For if a man think himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself!" (Gal.6:3)
       156. When people think they're pretty good, & are strong in themselves, seemingly good in themselves, they usually tend to be selfrighteous. When people are so good in themselves, they're usually not very weak, & because they are so strong in themselves, they don't realise that they need the Lord.
       157. It's much better that we be weak in ourselves so that He can be strong in us! "For we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God & not of us!" (2Cor.4:7) The weaker we are, the more it shows His power, His excellency & His strength in such weak vessels! PTL! (2Cor.12:9)
       158. "My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus' blood & righteousness! (Not my own!) I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But only lean on Jesus' name! On Christ the solid Rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand, All other ground is sinking sand!" Amen?

       159. The Word of God makes it clear, "There is none righteous, no, not one! For all have sinned & come short of the glory of God!" (Rom.3:10,23) You are no better than me & I'm no better than you! There's nobody any better than us except Jesus! He's the only One Who can be good, & without Him you're nothing!--You're empty, zero, nothing, absolutely nothing! You can't be good without Jesus, so why keep trying? Why keep trying to be good? You can't be good, you can't be righteous, you can't get the victory, you can't overcome it!
       160. You can't get the victory! It's impossible for you to get the victory! Only Christ can! You can't do it yourself! "It's not of works, lest any man should boast! For by grace are ye saved through faith & that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God!" (Eph.2:8,9)--Only God can give it! You can't earn it, work for it, work it up, pray it down, pray it through, & become so wholly sanctified, that you're some kind of a sinless saint!
       161. You haven't got anybody's righteousness except Christ's, & He's the only One Who can give it to you! Your own righteousness stinks! It's "filthy menstruous rags!" So quit trying! Let God do it! Let the Light in!--And the darkness will flee of itself! Let Jesus in & He'll take care of the whole problem! Let Jesus come in & let the life of Christ shine in you!
       162. Of course, you'll probably never get a complete permanent victory over pride & self-righteousness, because pride is something which we all have to constantly fight against. But you can get a victory to where it doesn't have such a hold or grip on you! And if you really feel that your pride is a big constant hindering problem in your life, then have united prayer against it! The Lord is able!--He saved us & now He can deliver us from anything!
       163. And remember, when you're climbing a mountain, you're not instantly on the top, you have to progress upward one step at a time, you have to clear each obstacle one at a time. So even if you still have troubles & trials, keep forging ahead! Keep trying to gain victories. Even if it's only a half victory, at least you're progressing! At least you're still fighting! So don't give up! Don't get discouraged! Keep busy for the Lord & His Work & trust Him to help you gain all the victories you need!--"The Lord will perfect that which concerneth you!" (Psa.138:8)
       164. Just trust the Lord & keep going! He'll never suffer you to be tempted above what you're able to bear! (1Cor.10:13) All problems have an end & work together for good to us who love Him! (Rom.8:28)--Amen? PTL! He never fails!
       165. So thank the Lord that you don't have to work it out, pray it off or pray it on!--You don't have to do anything except just let go & let God! Quit trying to be something you aren't & can never be, & that's righteous! Only Jesus can make you righteous! Just let Jesus do it! Like that old song, "Lift your heart to Heaven & the Glory will come in! Lift your heart to Heaven & the Glory will come in! Let Jesus have possession, He'll save you from your sin! Lift your heart to Heaven & the Glory will come in!" Hallelujah!
       166. Amen, Lord, we put ourselves in Thy hands, Thy Will be done! Help us, Lord, to let go & let You have Your way. Help us, Lord, in Jesus' name, that it may no longer be merely us, but Christ that liveth in us! --Not our own brittle, proud, self-righteous, unflinchable will, but soft & yielded, easily molded vessels in the Potter's Hands, clay without a will, that will rejoice & be thankful for whatever comes & whatever form is made by the Potter's Hands according to His Will & His design & His purpose!
       167. May each of us sincerely claim Thy Word & be able to honestly say, "I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things"--including our own will & our own pride--"& do count them but dung, that I may win Christ!--And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith!" (Phil.3:8,9)--In Jesus' name! Amen.

Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family