Pride Blocks the Heart
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”James 4:6
Pride blocks the heart, as was the case of the Pharisees when Jesus said their hearts were far from God. The apostle Paul was a Pharisee, and he was prideful to the point that he persecuted Christians. He saw and heard Jesus speak but his heart was blocked from receiving God’s truth.
Christ knew exactly how to overcome Saul’s pride so his heart would accept the Truth. Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. (Acts 9:1-2) Saul was on his way to Damascus, leading a group of men to arrest anyone who belonged to the Way. But during the trip to Damascus, Christ intervened for the purpose of changing Saul for a prideful Pharisee to a powerful Christian; and Christ renamed him Paul.
As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. (Acts 9:3) Christ shined the light directly at Paul to get his attention. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? (Acts 9:4) The light was so strong that Paul fell to the ground. This is the first step in weakening Paul’s pride. Then Christ spoke to Paul; “why do you persecute me?” Note that Saul was persecuting the people of God, and Christ stated why do you persecute me.
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. (Acts 9:5) Saul responded to the voice he heard as “Lord,” because what he was seeing and hearing was divine. I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. (Acts 9:5) Note that Christ identified himself as Jesus, which was his earthly name. Now Paul is thinking, this is the same Jesus I have heard and seen, and saw him crucified; and he is now speaking to me from Heaven – Jesus is the Christ!
Christ knew that Saul has received the Truth. Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do. (Acts 9:6) Christ waited until Paul had fully understood God’s truth and that he was wrong in persecuting Christians, and this is a step in weakening Paul’s pride.
Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. (Acts 9:8-9) Christ temporally blinded Paul so he would be able think deeply about everything that had just happened; and further reduce his pride.
For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. (Acts 9:9) Paul didn’t eat or drink for three days because he was in deep thought, and probably feeling sad about persecuting Christians. This will further reduce his pride, because his pride led him in the wrong direction.
Saul’s sight returned and he immediately started to preach the Truth of God and continued to his last breath. Acts 9 shows how Christ opened Saul’s heart to hear the Truth, however Christ put a thorn in Paul to keep his pride down. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. (2 Corinthians 12:7)
Today live with a humble heart an ask God to kill any pride that you may have. You see how Christ humbled Paul and he keep him humble, because God opposes the proud.
Prayer: Guide me today with a humble heart, and kill any pride that I may have. In Jesus name, Amen