Spotting our Spiritual Pride
Spotting our Spiritual Pride
Words of Faith 7-20-18
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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 An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest.  Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him.  Then he said to them, "Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all he is the greatest."
Okay we are still talking about spiritual pride. Are you uncomfortable? I am. You see this is one of those topics that, if you don't need it... boy do you ever need it! It is tough to get at because the key question is "Where is my blind spot?" There are several danger zones to watch.
There is the danger of doctrinal pride. "I am orthodox. I have creeds and confessions and theology. I have correct doctrine and that makes me better." This is not a call to dismiss good doctrine or sound theology or to ignore the growing threat of cults. But when we divide the Body of Christ in pride over the theological hairsplitting the enemy has the victory.
There is intellectual pride. "I have Bible knowledge. I can quote. I can analyze. I have it down. Scripture streams from me." We can get so caught up in the degrees on our walls and the books on our shelves that we look down from the ivory tower and wonder where God went.
There is church pride. "My church is better than your church." This is not an issue of noting the difference between a Christian church and a cult. But we often hear the subtle spiritual sound of bashing of churches where faithful believers worship and serve. Before you knock any church you had better be sure that it has no Christians in it because to do so is to knock the Spirit of Christ.
There is denominational pride. This can be pride in heritage and history or in polity and organization or accomplishments and institutions. This is the pride that says "our way of doing things is better". We are not just different, we are better. Grand celebrations to honor a heritage are of little use if we do not honor the living Christ.
There is worship pride. This is the pride that claims one form or style of worship is better than another, or that one way of doing worship is right. Pride of worship says, "Look at me and how wonderfully I worship. Look at how I am freer than everyone else. I am more reverent than everyone else. I am more dignified than everyone else. I am more private than everyone else. I am better dressed for worship than all others." When we look down on the worship of another Christian, we are certainly unable to look up toward God. If we are looking up toward God, the worship of others will be of little consequence to us.
There is the pride of christian experience. Many can identify with the divisiveness that can arise concerning the gifts of the Holy Spirit. One of the great attacks upon the church has come at the moments of great outpouring when people experienced a new charismatic gift of the spirit and decided that this was a mountain top experience that made them better than other Christians. Or others felt it necessary to pass judgment on that experience. Experiential pride may say, "I have this gift. I have this experience. I have been on the floor. I have been to the mountain top." Others will simply take pride in "not needing that sort of thing..." But it is still spiritual pride.
There are a few of the various ways we can be attacked in the valley with spiritual pride. How can we be on guard? There are several warning signs that we should look for. These are red flags that we may be in danger of the attack of spiritual pride.
- Anger. There is a place for righteous anger, but be very sure that you are angry at the same things that God is angry at. There is also anger related to grief or loss. But much of our anger in the church-- in the circles of faith, and among the body of Christ-- has at its root in spiritual pride. Any time that we feel anger we might look to see if the culprit is really spiritual pride.
- Withdrawal. One of the ways that we may express spiritual pride is to withdraw. It may even seem spiritual to do so. "Well... I am not going to that Bible study any more." When you feel like running away. There may well be a pride issue at stake.
- Overwork. When we work ourselves too hard and appear to be indispensable, we may be caving in to spiritual pride.
- Lack of Joy. When we cannot rejoice. When we cannot rejoice in God ordained leadership. When we find we cannot rejoice when others are given recognition for a job or ministry they have done. It may be good to check on the pride issue.
- Easily offended. When our feelings are easily hurt, it is most often a sign of spiritual pride.
- If you cannot worship. I am convinced that if you cannot worship it likely is related to spiritual pride. We cannot get our eyes on God because we have our eyes on people we are looking down at or we are angry at.
Lord God, help me to see the warning signs. Help me to recognize my own spiritual pride and to surrender it to You. You are the Lord, God of all the universe. I stand in awe of You. In Jesus' name.