Religious Pride Gets a Smack-Down

One of the most profound revelations we get about ourselves in Scripture is just how valuable we are to God.  All through 66 books of the Bible, the message cuts through the static: “I love you, come back to Me.”.  It’s in this context that our souls are awakened and we find new meaning in the spiritual significance of life as opposed to wrapping our identities in the mean and mundane trappings of materialism.  We become followers of Christ, Children of God…Christians.  And then for some reason, we seem to lose our minds.

We begin to assume a certain transcendence of position and knowledge because of the truth we embrace…and a whole new world of false identity begins to snug around us…we fall prey to religious pride.  It’s easy to have happen…it sneaks up on us without us even noticing it.  It happened to the disciples pretty early on, and Jesus had to deal out a serious smack-down to the prideful attitude that was beginning to bubble up among his crew.

We’ll be reading Luke 9:46-56 this Sunday.  (By the way, I appreciate the comments and even the emails I received concerning last weeks meeting/message.  I’m in awe at how God is moving in new ways in our community)

In the section we’ll be looking at, we will see the disciples falling prey to a form of religious pride in regard to three different areas of relating to people.  Among themselves (v46-48), among other believers who weren’t part of THEIR group (v49-50), and toward those who are actively opposing the message of Christ (v51-56).  In each case, self was at the center of the dispute.  In each case, Jesus corrects their attitude and behavior with a counter response (ie: instead of doing this, do that).

Which of these vignettes hits closest to home for you?  Do you identify with the disciples at any of these junctures?  What counter response seems the most difficult to you to embrace?

If there’s one thing that’s clear…Jesus makes no room for prideful attitudes among His ranks.  This is the work He does in shaping us into the people we were meant to be.

See you Sunday!

5 comments

  1. I guess humans have been the same for as long as humans have walked this piece of galactic dust called Earth. We all like to think we’re right….. which means someone else is wrong (that’s what makes being right so much fun, right?). We all seem to agree that we must “bow our knee” to Jesus. However, too often through our history, we in The Way replace Jesus also means us — our church, our beliefs, our way of doing whatever we do. Jesus peppered the Word with warnings against this. We read the words, “the first will be last, always consider the other, do to others…” but we seem to think it’s still “my way or the highway.”
    Too many of us have felt the frustration of that type of “religion” and we have stayed, can we blame those outside the faith for being a bit skeptical.

  2. About two years ago my daughters and I were discussing sin. My older daughter was agueing the position that God cannot view a lie with the same intensity that He views murder. My younger daugther just sat there silent as her learned older sister and biblicaly well verse father belabored the point. She finally spoke up and said, “God forgives all sins equally”. End of discussion.

  3. I, as a human, judge – everything. I relate quite well to versus 49-50 about judging other Christian’s expression of their faith. In fact, I recently attended a training session at a correctional facility conducted by a Pentacostal chaplain. I was the only person there out of 9 not representing a church or associated with this chaplain(this was part of another organisation I am involved with).

    The way they spoke and the phrasing they used in their conversations seemed very canned or to me somehow artificall eventhough they were praising our Lord. I found myself quite uncomfortable because my expression of faith is much more subdude or I feel “sinceer” and from my heart and experience. The turning point for me came when we all introduced ourselves and it was a call to witness to the converted. I listened to people professing their faith in ways I found off putting and when it came to me, well… I simply chose to avoid the issue and introduced myself as a member of the organisation I was representing and made no comment about my faith in Christ.

    I didn’t want to get in to a religious conversation with these folks and simply choe to avoid the issue. I have questioned myself on this asking if I was true to my beliefs, but the deeper point is I judged those people and their expression of their faith. We are all proclaiming salvation through belief in Jesus Christ, yet I wanted to run and distance myself from this crowd.

    I still don’t know if I chose well, but I do recognize in myself the tendency to feel my way of relating to Christ and my expression of that is THE right way. I get to let ALL of kids God’s be. I can only follow what I get from His Word as it rings true in my heart. Will I be guilty of religious pride in my laided back approach? You bet. As the saying goes, If You Spot it, You’ve Got It. I must always be aware of my pride – it influences everything I tend to think about and judge. Thanks for the chance to look at myself and find I always have room to grow.

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