Have you ever just taken time to watch people? I don’t mean sit and stare at someone, but observe the ways of human beings. If you have, I am sure you’ve come to realize that we (people) are not really as different as we like to think. Something else I’ve realized is that, as professing believers, we are not as different from unbelievers as we should be…and definitely not as different as many think they are. Are we believers, Christ followers, when it counts? This question is one that really cannot be answered flippantly. It takes some honest self-analysis regarding how we think, feel, and behave.
The mindset of the world is totally focused on self. What’s good for “me”, what “I” need, what “I” want, how “I” feel; am “I” being pleased…; life revolves around “me.” The sad thing is we find this exact same mindset among professing believers. Now we will never come out and say that we are the center of our lives and our will is law, but our actions speak loud and clear.
Are we believers when it counts? Are we willing to go the extra mile to let the light of Christ shine bright amongst those who knew us when in –and even helped us with– our sins? Hmm…now there’s a thought isn’t it?
When it counts, when it’s hard, and when it goes against everything in us – to take the high road for example – this is when truth comes to light; this is when it is revealed whether we are believers in word only or if we will prove to be believers in deed.
The life we should be living before our unsaved loved ones, coworkers, and strangers is more important than we realize. When we have been mistreated and react as Christ ordains, it speaks volumes! It is kingdom work. When we can humble ourselves and apologize (especially when we feel/know we are not in the wrong) when an ungodly person is offended at our words or actions it is a greater testimony than any witnessing speech we could give. It is in the difficult situations, when we can do right in the face of being done wrong, that our metal is tested.
What causes us to forget the cesspool of depravity God rescued us from? What makes us withhold from others (saved or unsaved) the same love, compassion and mercy we so desperately needed and received repeatedly – considering ourselves great because we now have Christ? What causes us to treat others as peasants wholly privileged to be in the presence of our great spiritual superiority? What causes us to be easily offended and, thinking ourselves wise, behave like utter fools? Why are we only able to see the faults of others while remaining deaf and blind to our own turpitude? In believers there is a cause for such ungodly behavior.
SPIRITUAL PRIDELike rottenness at the center of an apple so is spiritual pride in the heart of a believer; both “look” good on the outside but are unpalatable due to rotten insides. Click To Tweet
Jonathan Edwards, a minister who lived during the 1st half of the 1700s, had this to say about spiritual pride;
Edwards’ words were true for all believers of his day, and they still ring just as true for us today. If spiritual pride has a comfortable home in our hearts, we will remain professing believers only, and never establish ourselves as believers indeed; our declaration will never move beyond simple mouth service because pride blocks our vision and path of growth. What are some of the ways in which spiritual pride reveals it has a comfortable home in our hearts? I’m glad you asked! Let’s dig a little deeper.
Faultfinding is probably one of the biggest signs of spiritual pride in a believer. Faultfinders are always quick to point out the faults of other believers. They can always discern who lacks proper understanding of the Word, whose walk with God is lacking, who’s not growing at the rate they should and whose feet just got crushed by Sunday’s sermon. Faultfinders can always “tell” who’s sincere with God and who’s not. Viewing themselves as wise, the faultfinder is great at finding flaws (room for improvement) in everyone but himself. Faultfinders, being such hypercritical persons, are often severe in their words and actions towards others.
Spiritual pride reveals itself in the way we talk to and about others. When we disparage others, believers or non-believers, we actually uncover our own cold, prideful hearts. We are to be gentle with everyone, not harsh in the way we view and speak to or about them (Titus 3:2). Spiritual pride causes us to view others through hypercritical lenses; we have no mercy or compassion for those we deem beneath us. This is wrong.
Have you ever heard a professing believer say to another believer, “you are the devil!”? Have you ever had the opportunity to listen as one professing believer “encourages” another in such harsh, belittling manner that the individual walks away feeling small, insulted, confused and schlocky? Perhaps you know a believer who always condemns others to hell or some other disastrous fate. I have witnessed these examples, and it is hard to watch/hear. It is behavior contrary to the Word of God (1 Tim 5:1-2; Eph 4:32). The haughty individuals who speak so harshly to and about others fail to realize their own spiritual state. Because they consider themselves so spiritually enlightened they fail to realize their disobedience to God in how they treat others.
Pridefulness is a package deal. With it comes self-righteousness, self-centeredness, self-justification, a lack of compassion, and an absence of mercy…among other things. All of this is nicely wrapped in a lack of love.
So much pride causes one to neglect others. We excuse our actions based on our own merciless thoughts and feelings regarding an individual’s unworthiness in our eyes. They are not where we think they should be, they don’t have what we think they should have, they don’t look the way we think they should look, and they don’t do what we think they should do; therefore, they are unworthy of our help…unworthy of our mercy and compassion – unworthy of love. Really?
This is so far from Christ-likeness it is pitiful! The sad thing is that many professing believers are just this haughty and hard-hearted, although they won’t break face and tell you that. Listen to them talk and you will hear it. Watch their looks and behavior towards others and you will see it. What’s in our heart will speak loud and clear through our words and behavior.
God knows our hearts, our motives. He knows if we are obedient in our love, care, and concern for others. He knows if we are merciful and compassionate to those less fortunate/knowledgeable. God knows! Proverbs 21:2
Let’s look at 3 more issues of the unchecked pride.
Pride causes one to have a selective memory. How easily one can forget that the “demonic” behavior they so easily recognize in those with whom they were once best friends, is the same demonic behavior their family, friends, and acquaintances endured from them before Christ had mercy and rescued them! They can get easily offended by the behavior of an unbeliever towards them while forgetting that,
#1. We will reap what we sow – salvation notwithstanding.
#2. Sinners behave like sinners.
#3. We have an enemy who’s always whispering and stirring up trouble. He’s not worried about the unbeliever (he already has them) he is just waiting for us to fall prey to sin – to pride, offense, and the drive for attention.
Another tell-tell sign that one is harboring pride is the craving for attention. Pridefuls want to be praised and pat on the back, so people need to know about good deeds they have done. He loves when people tell him how wise he is, how he’s discovered something in the Word that others never saw. He sucks up compliments as though they were life’s breath. Prideful wants people to come to her for advice. She lives for the attention gained from “helping” others see the light!
Because of pride people harbor unforgiveness and bitterness. Because of pride people care nothing about the feelings of another. At the root of sin you will find pride. Pride is the root of satan’s problem, and caused him to be kicked out of heaven never to return (Isaiah 14:12-15)! What of us??
This is in no way an exhaustive list of all the ways pride reveals itself in the hearts of man. We’ve just looked at a few of the most prominent ways we can be walking in spiritual pride and not recognize/acknowledge it.
The Takeaway here is that we cannot go with God and harbor sin. God hates pride, be it in a professing believer or the staunchest unbeliever (Prov 16:16-19; Prov 21:4; 1 Peter 5:5; James 4:6).If we want to be believers when it counts then we must remain on guard against, and not give in to pride! If we harbor it we will remain believers in name only. Click To Tweet
We are living too close to the end of all things. There is no time to play around. If we are going with God then we must keep our garments clean, and PRIDE puts a gigantic spot and a ton of wrinkles in that garment. If we are harboring pride will be not allowed to enter the Kingdom of God. I know what many preachers will tell you today; however, trust me, pride – and all its trimmings – ain’t getting in!
We must ask the Lord to reveal what hidden pride there is in our hearts. Ask Him and be willing to accept what He uncovers. Determine to get rid of it all, even the tiniest speck. Pride is one of those sins that we will always have to battle against. Guard your heart against it, no matter what you must do or give up. Get in the daily habit of asking God to reveal the hidden issues of your heart. He is ready, willing, and able to help you walk in His will. Remember, He loves you and wants you to make it.
Psalm 51:10; Prov 3:5; Heb 4:12
Until next time,