Wednesday, July 24, 2024
Wednesday, July 24, 2024
HomeAll The NewsHEALTHY CHURCH: The Danger of Pride

HEALTHY CHURCH: The Danger of Pride

The book of James reminds us of the God we serve and how He operates with those who seek to serve Him. “…God resists the proud but gives grace (strength) to the humble” (James 4:6 NKJV). In the world of the celebrity pastor today, the caution to remain humble is not determined by the size of your congregation but the size of your ego. Pride is not necessarily the outflow of success but, rather, the condition of the heart. God makes the warning clear that you should not think more highly of yourself than you ought to think. According to Philippians, Jesus (God in the flesh) did not consider His position to be something used for His own advantage.

Proverbs 29:23 (NASB) states clearly, “A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.” In God-Initiated Leadership, Bill Elliff states, “Pride lowers, humility exalts. A desire to be known will cause a man to be known for all the wrong reasons.” What are you known for? Are you known for control, being in charge and always doing things your way? Or are you known for encouraging and equipping others by helping them to succeed? Are you ready to hear other ideas knowing that quite often, the ideas shared with you are much better than your own? God does not look favorably (in any way) upon anyone’s pride.

Pride has a way of showing up in every area of our lives, including our attitudes and in our actions. It is always asking, what about me? How come I am not being noticed and recognized? Henry Blackaby spoke to this by stating: “When you complete the task God gave you and no one expresses thanks for what you have done, the Father’s grace surrounds you, and He reminds you that you have a heavenly reward where everything you have done in the Lord’s service will be remembered.” By the way, it is not about you, and it is not about me and it is good to remind ourselves of that truth daily.

Pride shows up not only in our attitudes and emotions — having an occasional pity party — but it also surfaces by believing you can handle the situation yourself. You begin believing (and it is a lie) you do not need to seek God’s assistance or guidance. You begin to think you know what you are doing and how to do it. After you begin to “figure out” a few things in the ministry, if you are not very careful, you can give into the temptation of pride that you now know what you are doing. Blackaby continued, “Self-regard will seek to convince you that you can handle your dilemma through your wisdom, resources and hard work. Pride will also rob glory from God and seek to give it to you.”

Pride amplifies how mistreated you believe you have been, causes you to think you can rely on your own skill set and causes you to overfocus on comparing your ministry and church to others. Comparison can be very unhealthy because no church or situation is the same. God desires to work uniquely through you in the unique situation where He has placed you. Blackaby also spoke to this: “At times, it is easier to diminish others’ spiritual victories than to honestly confront your own failures.” Are you prone to run others down to, hopefully, make it appear that you are a notch above or more spiritual than them? Are you able to rejoice when others see spiritual revival and awakening, and you don’t?

In God-Initiated Leadership, Bill Elliff challenged us to take the “Diotrephes test.” Why that test? Because the Bible says this in III John 9, “Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them.” His problem was a pride problem. He loved to have first place, yet he refused biblical truth. He criticized the leaders while not having a good testimony himself. Bill challenged us to ask ourselves these questions:

• Do I seek to be first?

• Do I submit to biblical truth?

• Do I criticize other good leaders?

• Do I humbly submit to spiritual authority?

• Do my actions match my words?

• Do I have a good testimony?

These are great questions to keep us humble. You must remind yourself that if your goal is to be recognized, your focus is on you more than the glory of God. God will not share His glory with anyone, and when you see Him for who He really is, it quickly reminds you of who you are not. There are two things you can be 100% sure of — there is a God, and you are not Him.

If you truly understand His holiness, you will never enter His presence without a sense of holy awe. It humbles you as you begin to grasp the incredible price paid at Calvary for you. The ministry is not about making you successful, accomplished or happy. Our lives and ministry are meant to glorify God and Him alone.

The picture is clear in Isa. 6:5, “Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, theLordof hosts.” Seeing and seeking God’s glory causes you to properly bow in His presence. Bill gave us great advice here: “Stay before God in the Word and in prayer long enough to rid yourself of the desire to be known.” The way to safeguard against pride is to stay in His presence and allow trusted friends to have the liberty to address any pride they see rising up in you. Listen to notice if you are talking more about you or more about Him.

Man was not made to be worshiped and when he is, he is not capable of handling it and it can be very destructive. Remain open to evaluating your motives and any pride that is trying to slip up and deceive you. Bill’s wisdom points out the danger of pride, “A lifetime of humility can be undermined in a moment of unguarded pride.”