"Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel" (1 Chronicles 21:1).
Trusting God can feel like a pretty easy thing to do when we are at a place of desperation and know that we incapable of doing anything without Him. But what happens when we start feeling good about ourselves, overly comfortable with our own abilities, and start listening more to the compliments and accolades of those around us than to the voice of God? David was a man who had learned to listen to God. He had cultivated an incredible intimacy with Him while in the pasture overseeing the sheep. Think about it. Sheep didn’t talk to him. They didn’t tell him how good he was. They didn’t ask him about anything. They didn’t verbalize any care for him at all. He had to find his security and purpose in something greater than what he did. He found it in God. He knew who he was and what he could because he had grown close to God in the exile of the pasture. But THAT is where he discovered that he was never alone.
After years of struggle and then years of success, David’s desperation for the Lord began to recede and be replaced by his security in himself and his own accomplishments. He began to look at what he had done more than what God had done in his search for confidence and assurance. He dispatched his general to gather a census of all the fighting men. David’s action was not the sin, but rather the motivation of the action. “Satan rose up…and incited David…” Satan had observed the potential pride in David’s life, the insecurities and buried inadequacies that had not been fully surrendered to the Lord. He exploited the hidden secrets within David’s heart and lured him into making a decision that would replace God’s protection with his pride.
There is not a person alive who has not struggled in some way with the potential destructive patterns of unfettered pride. As God is watching to protect you, the eyes of the enemy are also on you with the intention to exploit you. He is looking for some area of insecurity, inadequacy, or inferiority that has not been identified and surrendered. He is looking to breathe upon those embers of self-pride so that your actions will be cause you to step outside of the shadow of the Almighty and into the open exposure of your own self-centeredness. Recognize where that potential lies in you and refuse to allow Satan and his minions to enjoy the satisfaction of tripping you up and those who follow you. Surrender those areas to God and allow Him to work His humility in and through your life.
Humility is one of the greatest evidences that God is at work in your life. When someone sees pride, they see you. When they see humility, they see Jesus. Pride never dies easy and when it does, its many nasty relatives come out of the woodwork to come and try to take its place. Be on your guard. Once you think you’ve licked it and it’s over, you might be close to being licked yourself. Stay on guard and keep your eyes on Jesus in all you do and in every response. Let humility be what redirects the focus off of you and onto Jesus.