God does enjoy a good object lesson. In Ezekiel 4, God has the prophet lay on his side, eating food by weight for 380 days, to illustrate the siege of Jerusalem. In Hosea, God has the prophet marry a harlot to show the relationship between faithful God and unfaithful Israel. Both of these stories involve spiritual concepts symbolized by physical items in order for the audience to better understand. God still uses object lessons today for those who are watching for them. The winter before last, He used an unlikely scenario with a space heater to show me a lesson about pride.
The Set Up
It was a cold January morning around 5:30 am when I hit the bathroom to get ready for work. Immediately, I reached to turn on the space heater that my son had bought me for Christmas the year before. Nothing. I saw that my husband had unplugged it to charge his phone, so I plugged it in and tried again. Nothing. Thinking it might be the outlet, I took it to my side of the bathroom and plugged it in there. It still didn’t work. I was frustrated that my relatively new space heater wasn’t working, so. I set it on the edge of the bathtub for a minute and turned on the shower to get the water warm.
When I turned back around, I noticed something I hadn’t before. There was a band-aid stuck to the plug. Now, I know what you might be thinking: this is pretty far-fetched. And, I have to agree. But, this story happened exactly like I’m telling it. When my husband unplugged the heater, the cord had come down into the tiny trashcan next to the counter where it must have picked up the sticky band-aid. As soon as I pulled off the band-aid and plugged in the heater, I was in business. The heater worked just fine.
I wondered at the whole scenario as I finished getting ready for work. I knew that God can help us see things that we wouldn’t ordinarily see. Apparently, He also sometimes can help us miss things that we wouldn’t ordinarily miss. But why? I had a very strong suspicion that this was a lesson of some sort. Really, there could be no other explanation for the weird way it went down. It wasn’t until later that day when I happened onto a Word from the Lord that it all came together.
The Lesson and a Confirmation
Someone on my Facebook feed said that she had heard from the Holy Spirit that pride can block the flow of love. Then it hit me. The sticky band-aid had blocked the flow of electricity to the space heater. It was a perfectly good heater. It simply could not get the power it needed to operate because it was blocked. This was a physical representation of a spiritual lesson. I commented on the post about my experience, and we both had confirmation that the Word was from God. But what specifically did it all mean?
Pride Blocks us From Loving the Weak
When we have pride in our hearts, it can lead us to look down our noses on those around us who are not as strong and/or healthy as we are. I thought about times when I was exasperated by people who didn’t seem to be “pulling their weight” at work or others who seemed not to have the same commitment to coming to church every service because of illness or pain. Instead of having compassion on those who are built differently or who have different crosses to bear, I have been guilty of thinking of myself as better or more committed instead of loving them and asking how I can help.
Pride Blocks Us From Sharing Our Faith
When we have pride in our hearts, it is very hard to live our lives out loud for God. Worrying about how other people see us can cause fear to overcome any sense of love or compassion for people who will find themselves in hell without our Savior Jesus Christ. We are commanded to tell others about Jesus. But how many of us go about our lives interacting with store clerks, customers, bank tellers, and the like without ever mentioning Jesus to any of them?
A while back, God convicted me that I needed to do more, so I do pass out tracts when I’m out, but I struggle with pride every time, forcing myself to do it and even sometimes scurrying away with a quick, “Have a blessed day!” instead of sticking around to see if there are any questions or prayer requests. I worry about how people see me instead of being concerned about the consequences of not sharing the great blessing of salvation that someone had to first share with me.
Pride Blocks Us From Loving God With Our Hearts
Finally, having pride in our hearts can block the flow of love toward God Himself. He requires obedience and humility. When we are disobedient or proud, He chastises those whom He loves. When this happens, we have two choices. We can submit and humble ourselves, or we can bristle, get defensive, and pull back from Him. Like a child with a parent who says, “No,” or “Stop,” we can start to see God as strict or (God forbid) mean instead of the compassionate, loving God that He is. It’s obvious to us why children can’t go into the street or touch hot stoves, but as adults, it isn’t always clear why God has us do (or not do) certain things. We just have to remember that it is all for our good and His glory. We must humble ourselves to be grateful for His correction and love Him with our whole hearts.
Pride is bad news. It’s the sin that caused Lucifer to fall, and it’s the same one that is still causing trouble for many well-meaning Christians today. Just like the heater was blocked from power, our hearts can be blocked from having compassion for others and even fully loving God Himself when we have pride there. But loving God and loving others are the two greatest commandments, and without that power, we aren’t truly functioning the way Christians should. It is up to us to pull off that sticky pride and plug ourselves into the Source once again.
Enjoy object lessons? Check out Spiritual Warfare: A Defeated Foe. In it, God uses a housefly to teach me about the way I should view the enemy. Or, try Message in the Moisturizer: We Can Choose Change. In that one, God shows me that we don’t have to stick with bad choices once they have been made.
Like to read more from Evangelical Christian sisters who “tell it messy, true, and wonderful because we are His”? Check out Telling Hearts.