“I hate pride and arrogance…” (Prov 8:13b, NIV2)
A young woman goes to confession and admits that she is prideful. “Any time I look in the mirror, I can’t help but think that I am so beautiful, much more than any of my friends that look like prunes compared to me.” The priest answered: “This is not a sin, it is a mistake!”
Ouch! That must have hurt. In all reality though, pride is always a mistake, one that always serves to make others miserable!
I have noticed that those who attend legalistic churches have a tendency to be prideful. For some reason they tend to think that compared to others, they know everything about the Bible much better than anyone else who is not part of their organization. They don’t realize they are walking in the very footprints of the Pharisees who urged the Roman authorities to crucify Jesus!
The chairman of a local church school had to deal with a difficult situation. Prayerfully he sought for Bible verses that would remedy the problem. When he brought these to the school council, he was overruled. The pastor adamantly proclaimed that their defunct prophet had a different opinion than the Bible, and she had to be followed above the Bible. Shocked, the board chairman tried to defend the stance the Bible was portraying. No one listened to him.
There was once a pastor of a local church who came to talk with me. A few weeks earlier, he had become quite angry with one of his board members, so angry that he hit him in the face and this member ended up at the local hospital. The church was in an uproar. The cavalry was called, and someone high up from their denomination called a meeting with all the local church members. They were told that they had better obey their pastor or else they would be excommunicated. That same pastor told me: “The church is not the board members. In fact it isn’t even the members . . . I am the church.”
Eventually that pastor moved to another province. He didn’t like the attitude of his church!
My advice to anyone facing a prideful church or denomination: Run as far as you can from there! They are not serving God! God’s Bible should be our motto at all times. Moreover we should always follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit, not some human who pretends to be a prophet or who relishes the thought of basking in full authority.
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” (Prov 11:2, NIV2)
That very same church eventually had another pastor who was more eager to question himself about certain aspects that were happening in his denomination. He was shocked that at a prayer meeting at a church from the same denomination, some members started to speak in tongues. He didn’t know what to think about it, as these members were outstanding examples in the church. Still, according to his denomination, speaking in tongues was from the devil himself.
I encouraged him to look into the Bible and he did. He was shocked to learn what was truly Biblical. He was in conflict then. Should he be following church doctrines? Or should he be following what the Bible says? But what about his career? If he went astray, he would be kicked out of ministry.
I don’t know what happened to him, but I do pray for him, as God was evidently trying to catch his attention.
Anyone who thinks he or she has all the answers is not from God. Our source of wisdom comes from above, from the Most High Himself.
“If you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil.” (James 3:14-15, NIV)
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” (James 3:17-18, NIV)
Let us pray for revival, that all the earth can come to realize that it’s not about them, but about the One who willingly died for us, so that we could experience eternity. Jesus is our peace (See John 16:33), anything or anyone bringing strife or pride is not broadcasting the message Jesus was conveying. Jesus is our guide in everything!
Thank you Lord for making us aware that You are the head of the church (See Eph 1:22). We love You and ask You to help us to focus only on you and to follow in Your steps, the ones that lead to complete inner peace. You are our everything! Without You we would be nothing. Thank You Lord for making a difference in our lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
(To access the entire “Radioactive Religion” devotional series, please click here.)