Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Spiritual Pride

           Our superior religiosity or spiritual success can so blind us that we fall prey to devil’s deceit and snare. We imagine ourselves as righteously priceless in God’s kingdom. If our ministry (service to God and man) flourishes, we believe it to be because of our righteousness (good works), and that our good works is the result of us remaining in God. We delight in these verses for these verses fuel our superior religiosity:

“For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O Lord, You surround him with favor as with a shield.” (Psalm 5:12, NASB)
“A faithful man will abound with blessings…” (Proverbs 28:20a, NASB)
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty...” (Psalm 91:1ff, NASB)

            On one end of our religious tightrope walk, we suppose we are righteous because of our superior communion with God. On the other end, we conclude we are God-appointed “holy-commandos” to cleanse all the sin and filth that surrounds us. This is at the core of superior religiosity.

            Pride inculcates a strong “I” or a powerful self-will even without one’s cognizance, thereby slowly yet surely corroding man’s dependence on God. C.S Lewis said this in Mere Christianity, “A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”

            The spiritually proud are so convinced of their righteousness because they are internally persuaded that they distinctly hear God’s voice without a doubt. But we ought to know that God never contradicts HIS word. God will never ask HIS disciple to condemn, but only to be gracious.

            Spiritual pride puts on a façade of God’s presence in them. The spiritually proud boast outwardly of their superior religiosity, whereas their religiosity corrodes in their inner being. A truly religious person reveals God’s grace and resists condemnation. God’s will is for us to be gracious even as HE is gracious to us (Matthew 5:48). This is Christlikeness.

            While we are on this superior religiosity mode, we forget or ignore the one most foundational aspect – that we are products of God’s grace. We were saved by grace through faith (2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:8-9). Furthermore, we forget or ignore the constant presence of God’s grace, since we continue to sin in our thoughts, words, and deeds (Proverbs 20:9; Jeremiah 2:35b; Romans 3:10; 1 John 1:8). Oh that we would incorporate the fact that we cannot survive outside of God’s grace!

            The constant presence of God’s grace in our lives is a sobering thought that should crush our pride into a relentless dependence on God’s presence and grace. Not only that, we should actively proclaim God’s grace to all.

            We are mandated to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19), not destroy them. May we live up to this mandate by the grace and power of God.

            Overcoming the innate corruption of one’s inner self is at the heart of Christianity. In my opinion, the theology of “works” within Christianity is a product of that corruption, and hence it needs to be completely debunked and the theology of “God’s grace” should overwhelm all Christians. HE wills and so we will. More on this later. Amen. 

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