The story gripped my heart. I remember it often, especially in those moments of success. In his book, The Final Quest, Rick Joyner wrote of a dream concerning the end-time battle that the Church would face. In a Medieval setting of armor, swords and shields, he tells of the saints who fight against the “Hordes of Hell.” The Church’s mission was to climb the holy mountain of God and make a pathway for others to climb up the levels of salvation to know and experience the profound mysteries of God’s nature.
Rick, who tells the story in the first person, unfolds many common experiences of those who seek to advance in their relationship with Jesus. I read this book during my early years of ministry and one unique scene made a strong impression.
As the story goes, the Church army gained ground in its battle against the enemy. Then Rick writes, a “noise from the battlefield drew my attention… thousands of the mighty warriors had crossed the plain to attack the remnant of the enemy horde. The enemy fled in all directions, except for one division—Pride.”
This brigade of enemy soldiers moved undetected, marched right up to the rear of the advancing Church, and positioned themselves to release a barrage of arrows. The saints blindly stood with no armor to cover their backs. Then Wisdom, a personification of Jesus, said, “You have taught that there is no armor for the backside, which means you are vulnerable if you run from the enemy. However, you never saw how advancing in Pride will also make you vulnerable.”
Helplessly, Rick watched the enemy unleash their violent assault. “When the arrows of pride struck,” he said in amazement, “the warriors did not even notice… they were bleeding and getting weaker fast, but they would not acknowledge it. Soon they were too weak to hold their shields and swords; they cast them down, declaring they no longer needed them. They started taking off their armor, saying it was not needed anymore either.”
As the battle intensified, the enemy division called “Strong Delusion” moved in for the final sweep of destruction. He says, “a few demons of Delusion wiped out the entire army. In dismay, Rick turned to Wisdom. He asked, “How could those who were so strong, who have been to the top of the mountain and seen the Lord as they have, be so vulnerable?” Wisdom responded by saying, “Pride is the hardest enemy to see, and it always sneaks up behind you. In some ways, those who have been to the greatest heights are in the greatest danger of falling…Take heed when you think you stand, lest you fall.”
Today the actuality of this scene is far too prevalent. I write this to encourage you to examine your heart as I must my own. Has pride crept into your thinking? How do you know if you have fallen prey to its arrows? Here are a few questions that I have found to help evaluate if pride is present in my thoughts and behaviors:
Do you struggle with obeying and humbling yourself before the godly leaders in your life?
Do you feel you know more than others and struggle when corrected?
When you are corrected, do you take it personally and find your feelings are hurt?
Are your closest friends only those who affirm you? Do you find yourself holding at a distance those challenge your opinions?
Do you find that your conversations are primarily about your desires, hobbies, and feelings?
Do you find that you’re unavailable to serve others because your schedule is filled with your interests? Is helping others a rare occasion rather than a common practice?
Does reading God’s Word seem exhausting and inapplicable to your life?
If you can say yes to any of these, you’re fighting a common and deadly enemy- Pride. Pride is not a spirit but an emboldened carnal nature that serves as a doorway for strong deception. Pride will even interpret God’s Word in a way that is self-serving or self-affirming. However, though this enemy is potent, he can be overthrown. How can you be cured of prideful thoughts and behaviors?
It begins with a powerful prayer saying, “Lord Jesus, clothe me in humility. I humble my heart and repent of my pride. Give me Your nature which is meek and lowly in heart. (Matthew 11:29)
Secondly, another effective way to rid your soul of pride is to say no to opportunities that lead to self-promotion. Step out of the limelight and choose to honor others for their hard work and efforts. Thirdly, make time to serve others and don’t make a social media broadcast about it. There’s a sweetness in humbly helping while not taking credit for it.
Following Rick’s confrontation with pride, he was given a drab cloak of a meager appearance. The cloak was called humility. As he wrapped it around himself, it covered the blinding reflection emanating from his armor. This enabled him to see the enemy’s approach. In the same way, humility is how we can clearly see what is happening around us and fight effectively in these last days.