To venable (verb): To randomly muse upon this and that.

Archive for the ‘Pride’ Category

Do Not Presume.

What I want to consider here is the presumption that certain things will happen in our lives. At the heart of such an attitude is a perspective that I am in control of my life. James says Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.  (James 4:15-16).

Making our plans is right Solomon says,  In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. (Prov.16:9). But all such plans should be subject to the Lord’s will. 

I am not saying that we should always be verbalising “if the Lord will”, but I do believe such a sentiment should be continually on our hearts. This is the godly attitude to life.

I remember a couple sending out address cards for their potential new home upon them getting married. Alas the property purchase fell through.

We need to be careful how we act as regards the anticipation of events.

Leadership and Pride.

The call to Christian leadership is a call to servant leadership. Our Saviour said to his disciples who were jostling for position  ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave (Matt. 20:25-27). The disciples had been disputing about who would have prominence in the kingdom. To which the Saviour replies: don’t seek prominence rather seek to serve.

The Saviour Himself is obviously the perfect example of this. Interestingly therefore He concludes the aforementioned exhortation to His disciples by saying. Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.’ (Matt. 20:28). As elders in Christian churches we need to remember that we follow a Saviour who did not seek position, but sought to serve. Christian leaders are first and foremost to be disciples of their Lord. For them to seek position and glory in position is reprehensible and a total contradiction of their faith.

Jeremiah would remind us though, that The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? (Jer. 17:9). Pride is always lurking nearby for a Christian Leader. Paul when giving the qualifications for an elder says that He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil (1 Tim. 3:6). The pre-fall position of the devil was august, but pride came in and condemnation followed. How we need to be on our guard fellow leaders, that we do not fall into this satanic pattern.

So how do we guard against pride in the service of God. Here are two suggestions:

  • Always remember you are at best an unprofitable servant. And if you have done something valuable (as you might perceive it) you have only done what your Master required you to do and there is nothing to boast of in that. The Lord develops this issue of servants doing what they were told when teaching his disciples and then pointedly addresses them and says So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.” (Luke 17:10)
  • Always remember you are a sinner in need of a Saviour. Paul, perhaps the greatest of Christian leaders after the Lord Himself, never forgot this. And so he could say towards the end of his ministry that Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance, Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst (1 Tim. 1:15 ESV). If we are vying for first-place with Paul in our estimation of ourselves concerning sinner-hood and the need of salvation then this augurs well for our leadership.

Let us be vicious against pride in our service brother elders. And if we are we will do well.

(This post follows-on from my post of yesterday about Mrs May and Leadership – see here)

 

Pride

Whoever is proud is on a “collision course” with God. Both James and Peter quote from Proverbs 3:34 and record that ‘God opposes the proud, but shows favour to the humble’ (James 4:6b and 1 Pet. 5:5b). God is not just indifferent to the proud, He actually actively opposes them. This should cause us to have some sober reflection as regards to how heinous pride is. Having grasped this essential concern about pride, we then need to establish what exactly pride is.

Pride is considering ourselves to be better than others. This attitude is seen in its most grotesque form when we consider ourselves to be better than God. The way pride shows itself can be varied, but at its heart is an inflated estimation of one’s self. Generally, pride is displayed when we have a wrong attitude as regards our knowledge or abilities. So someone can have ability in cookery and thereby produce beautiful meals. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, things do go wrong when that person considers themselves to be of a higher order to all others because of their abilities and as a result scoffs at the limited culinary abilities of others.

When the matter of pride is raised, Christians very often fool themselves into believing that pride is only displayed by non-Christians. Alas, this is not so. Christians can so very easily be guilty of pride. Let us look at three areas where pride so easily emerges in a church.

Gifting: When we are able to do something our default position is to think: ‘I must be so clever to be able to do this‘. This can be in the realm of both the practical and the spiritual. So whether it be erecting shelves, preaching in church or seeing someone come to Christ through our witness, we can start to think that ‘I must be ever so smart to be able to do these things‘. Of course, we would not blurt it out like that, but in secret, that is what we think. This is pride and God hates it. In this context, we need to heed Paul’s observation to the Corinthians: For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? (1 Cor. 4:7). Anything we are able to do is only through God giving us the ability to do it.

Knowledge: To study scripture is absolutely vital for Christians. And every Christian should be studying so as to be growing in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. However, as we grow in knowledge (and every Christian should be growing in knowledge) there is the danger that we can become proud. One way that this develops is when we believe the right doctrine, but have the wrong attitude in holding that doctrine. In 1 Corinthians 8, we see something of this. Some had the right understanding of the issue of eating food offered to idols. There was nothing wrong with this. In fact this was the “strong” position to take. However, they did not treat those who saw the matter differently with due respect. Paul goes so far as to say that such weaker brothers could be destroyed by the way the stronger brothers operated (see 1 Cor. 8:11) and that was totally wrong.

We must take a view on many matters as we study scripture and properly establish our convictions. However, we should never hold our views in an arrogant manner. We need to remember that if we have come to understand anything of God and His Word; it is only because God has revealed such. Paul says to Timothy: Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this (2 Tim. 2:7) If we understand anything let us thank God and not be arrogant in our own knowledge.

Authority: The proud man generally loves to be in authority, but hates being under authority. They want to do their own thing and not be subject to others. One implication of this is that such people are not teachable. They have the attitude that they know what they are doing and no-one else can assist them in knowing what is right and proper. Any thought of submitting to one another is very much off their agenda (see Eph 5:21). And the thought that they should have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account (Heb. 13:17a) is not something they consider to be for them. After all they will do their own things and do not want to submit to anyone.

As Christians then, we should consider pride to be a monster that we hate and resist. We should instead be cultivating a spirit of humility. In Isaiah 66:2b we read These are the ones I look on with favour: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word. This is what the LORD is looking for. He is looking for humility.

Finally, we soberingly conclude that pride always leads to disaster. The first disaster in the universe came through pride. This was when Satan decided that he knew better than God and led an angelic rebellion against the eternal LORD God. (see Is. 14:12-15). Moreover, Proverbs 16:18 tells us that pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Let us be hard on pride then. Let us engage in mortal combat with it. If we fail to beat pride our lives will be ruined.

And in waging this war, remember that we are those who belong to a Saviour who was gentle and lowly of heart (Matt. 11:29b). At the heart of his mission a humbling of Himself (see Phil. 2:8b). Oh LORD give us the grace of humility like yours and that will all be to your glory.

(Taken from the Feltham Evangelical Church Newsletter of March 2015)

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