Pride sure is an interestingly sneaky and ugly thing. Just when you think that you are beyond it, it sneaks up and starts puffing up your head. You wanna see some really ugly pride rearing its head? Go and hang out with some leaders of your local churches. Do you think I am being harsh? Well, first read about how prideful the leaders were acting in the early church: Today’s Reading – 1 Corinthians 1:10-18. As you can see from the text, everyone thought that they had it right, they had figured out who to follow and everyone else’s ideas were mere rubbish. So much so that Paul equated their actions to chopping up Jesus into little pieces so that everyone could have a relic.
What amazing imagery. You can still see this today, everyone is holding onto their piece of Jesus and saying, “We have it figured out, we are the best!” While all the while we miss out on the larger picture. We are all the body of Christ and we desperately need one another. I remember driving around one day with one of the leaders from a small church in a community near where I live. This particular church had gone through some major changes and “renewal” as the Lord seemingly redirected their path. As we passed another church in the town, the leader said, “I am glad that the Lord has taken us beyond that [level of spirituality], I could never go back to that kind of church life and leadership.” See how this kind of mindset holds a thin veneer of spirituality over its ugly prideful head. It is easy to do – I know I have done it. But no more!
The more I have ministered alongside the leaders and lay people of churches from every denomination, doctrine and flavor, the more I can see the thread of Jesus in each one. Sure, the church down the road may not worship like you do – but they may minister to marriages better than you or evangelize the lost better than you. Paul reminds us in Galatians 6:4 that we should never compare ourselves to others. Have you ever wondered why? It is quite simple actually… When was the last time that you compared yourself to someone and thought – we’re about the same. It is quite rare, if not impossible. When you compare yourself to another you always come out on top or on bottom. So you either feel inadequate or superior. Yet it seems when we compare churches, we most often come out feeling superior…
I believe that the days of the Lord tolerating the mentality of “chopping Jesus into little pieces” is fast coming to an end. I don’t know about you, but when my Lord returns I don’t want him finding me with a death grip on my little piece of the pie saying, “I’ve got it figured out, you all are wrong…”
Lord Jesus, your church needs you more than we could possibly realize. Please help us to see your life in those around us. Help us not to be so focused on what you are doing in us that we miss out in everything else you are doing around us. Lord, I would invite you to kill that thing in me that feeds pride. The only pride I want in my life is boasting in you as my Lord. Jesus, please bless grow EVERY church in this community that honors you as Lord and Savior. Help us to see how these walls of pride and arrogance of ways can be broken down. We have tried on our own to break them down and have failed time and time again. We desperately and urgently need you. Thank for all you have done and all you have yet to do. I Christ Jesus’ name I pray…