Of The Most Dangerous Sin for Christians
Years ago, a famous preacher enjoyed an immense following. Thousands of preachers would attend his “preachers’ schools” at the very large church he pastored. They hung on to every word the famous preacher said – and his methods and mannerisms. Then, these young preachers would return to their little churches with a desire to build theIr own great churches so they could become “famous preachers” with “huge churches.” Many would fail, and some would drop out of the ministry entirely.
Bible history abounds with people like that. Aaron and Miriam wanted the same speaking and governing authority that Moses had. God rebuked them for their sin. (Numbers 12).
Korah, Dathan, and Abiram rebelled against Moses. They thought they should have authority equal to Moses. God judged them for their sin. (Numbers 16).
The Bible makes it clear that this was the original sin of Satan (Isaiah 14:12-14), and Satan used his own sin to seduce Adam and Eve, causing their Fall and the Fall of all humanity. (Genesis 3:4-6).
It was the awful, destructive sin called Pride! – sometimes mixed with jealousy.
People in Jesus’ day gave in to this sin. John 12:42. “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: 12:43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. (John 12:42-43).
Almost everyone likes to be loved, admired, respected, and appreciated. We want to be necessary and significant. Jesus’ closest associates while on earth were like this.
Just before the Lord’s Supper, the disciples argued about who was the greatest. “And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.” (Luke 22;24-30).
Not long after that discussion – perhaps just a few hours- Jesus demonstrated the servant attitude persuasively. “He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.” (John 13:4-5). A few minutes later, there is this, “So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.” John 13:12-16)
Can you imagine their shock, embarrassment, and shame as Jesus knelt and washed their feet – ordinarily the job of a servant?
In later New Testament times, there was Diotrophes, who loved to have preeminence in the church, and John warned the other believers about him. (3 John 9-11)
A great man in modern days said, “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.”
In outlining the qualifications of an elder/bishop/pastor, Paul wrote, “Not a novice, (new convert) lest being lifted up with pride, he fall into the condemnation of the devil” (1 Timothy 3:6).
Is it any wonder that the Bible warns Christian servants about this sin?
The Christian servant is admonished in Romans 12:3,10, 16: “not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think”; “in honor preferring one another”; “Mind not high things but condescend to men of low estate.” Philippians 2:3,5 commands the following: “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christi Jesus.”
God doesn’t call every preacher to be a “great” preacher or to build a “great” church. God has his own individual plan for each unique servant of His. God doesn’t call every Christian singer to be a “great” singer with a national following. God doesn’t ask us to make a name for ourselves. So, whether a preacher, a singer, a janitor, a business office worker, a construction worker, or whatever – – we should rejoice in the Lord for whatever service God calls us. In Colossians 3:17, Paul writes, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
Paul called himself a chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:5) and the least of all saints (Ephesians 3:8). He testified, “When I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Corinthians12:10). “I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.” (2 Corinthians 12: 15).
If God has called you to serve Him – and He has called every Christian – then humbly submit to Him to do His will. He has not called you to be famous or to become a clone of some well-known person. He has called you to be you and to serve Him humbly with all your heart. Don’t let pride turn you from God’s plan for your life.