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Perhaps the greatest test of the spiritual condition of our hearts comes when we are criticized or when we’ve been wronged. I once heard a friend say that if we had the right attitude, criticism wouldn’t bother us. That attitude recognizes that if people knew the whole truth about us, the truth would probably be much worse than the criticism. The apostle Paul said, “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out” (Romans 7:18).
Paul’s greatness lay in the fact he was transparent about his weaknesses. He knew he was capable of any kind of evil. He struggled, but was honest about his struggle with the desires of the flesh. That humility allowed him to achieve spiritual greatness. It enabled him to “crucify his flesh” and live in the power of the Spirit of God.
There are two heart attitudes that will suck the joy and victory out of a person’s Christian life. They will ultimately destroy any sense of spirituality within us. They’re some of the most destructive feelings any of us can ever experience. These two sins of pride and bitterness have brought the strongest men and women to utter failure.
David struggled with both of these sins. He acted in a very Christlike manner in dealing with Saul. His men encouraged him to kill Saul in the cave. David toyed with the idea, but resisted the temptation. Instead he treated Saul with respect. But not long afterward, David responded in a different manner to a man named Nabal. David wasn’t treated by Nabal with the respect David thought he deserved. So out of anger, bitterness, and pride, he set out to kill Nabal. In anger David told his men, “Put on your swords!” (1 Samuel 25:13).
They obeyed David’s command and “they put on their swords, and David put on his. About four hundred men went up with David, while two hundred stayed with the supplies” (1 Samuel 25:13). But Nabal was spared because his wife pled with David for his life. There are two great lessons to learn from what happened.
First, we must walk in the Spirit every day. We can’t live on yesterday’s victories. The flesh will raise its ugly head every morning, and every day we must crucify the flesh. It doesn’t matter how many victories we’ve experienced or even if we’ve known victory in a certain area of our lives. Every day we will have to fight new battles with the flesh — and even revisit some old battlefields. Satan will make sure of that.
David had already won a great victory over anger, jealousy, and pride in relation to Saul. He restrained himself instead of killing Saul in the cave. Yet pride and anger gushed forth when Nabal treated David without respect. One day victory. The next day, defeat. David rode the roller coaster of inconsistent living. How many of us have done the same? We must never forget we have the flesh to deal with today. Tomorrow, we’ll have to deal with it again.
But there is one more critical message for us in the story of David and Nabal. Abigail pleaded with David not to kill her husband. This pleading reminds us of the Holy Spirit’s pleading with us when we’re tempted to sin. Abigail was passionate, respectful, and kind in imploring David not to kill her husband. David listened and responded, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands” (1 Samuel 25:32-33).
When we are tempted, the Holy Spirit will providentially make for us a way of escape. He will gently and forcefully speak to our hearts. He will send people across our paths and circumstances in our way and make provisions for us to avoid the sin. If we sin, it’s only because of our stubbornness. We must be quick to recognize the Holy Spirit’s pleading, then obey His voice. Only then will we experience victory.

1 Samuel : Chapter 25
23)  When Abigail saw David, she quickly got off her donkey and bowed down before David with her face to the ground. 24)  She fell at his feet and said: “Pardon your servant, my lord, and let me speak to you; hear what your servant has to say. 25)  Please pay no attention, my lord, to that wicked man Nabal. He is just like his name—his name means Fool, and folly goes with him. And as for me, your servant, I did not see the men my lord sent. 26)  And now, my lord, as surely as the Lord your God lives and as you live, since the Lord has kept you from bloodshed and from avenging yourself with your own hands, may your enemies and all who are intent on harming my lord be like Nabal. 27)  And let this gift, which your servant has brought to my lord, be given to the men who follow you. 28)  “Please forgive your servant’s presumption. The Lord your God will certainly make a lasting dynasty for my lord, because you fight the Lord’s battles, and no wrongdoing will be found in you as long as you live. 29)  Even though someone is pursuing you to take your life, the life of my lord will be bound securely in the bundle of the living by the Lord your God, but the lives of your enemies he will hurl away as from the pocket of a sling. 30)  When the Lord has fulfilled for my lord every good thing he promised concerning him and has appointed him ruler over Israel, 31)  my lord will not have on his conscience the staggering burden of needless bloodshed or of having avenged himself. And when the Lord your God has brought my lord success, remember your servant.” 32)  David said to Abigail, “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who has sent you today to meet me. 33)  May you be blessed for your good judgment and for keeping me from bloodshed this day and from avenging myself with my own hands. 34)  Otherwise, as surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, who has kept me from harming you, if you had not come quickly to meet me, not one male belonging to Nabal would have been left alive by daybreak.” 35)  Then David accepted from her hand what she had brought him and said, “Go home in peace. I have heard your words and granted your request.”
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About Sammy Tippit Ministries

STM has been providing inspiration and help around the world for nearly 50 years. Sammy Tippit, founder and president, is a world renowned counselor, teacher and evangelist with experience serving and helping people in over 80 countries. Sammy provides materials that help people tackle a broad array of social, societal, psychological and spiritual issues. He is particularly passionate about making materials accessible to other countries around the world. Sammy is married to Debara “Tex” Tippit, and they have two children and five grandchildren.
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