Pride

There are spirits operating in the Body of Christ today that are diametrically opposed to the Will of God and His true intention for His Church. Sadly, these spirits are either (1) so pervasive that they’re not noticeable to the average Christian (that doesn’t study God’s Word), or (2) they are allowed to operate freely and are even welcomed into the fellowship – which (to me) is far worse. As Christians, our mandate is simple. Acts 13:47 (NLT) states we were made to be “light to the Gentiles” (non-believers) in order for salvation to come to the earth.

Instead, however, we’ve adopted the ways of the world, joined fellowship with the spirits of this world, and have invited them into our Holy assembly. In my not so humble opinion, there are many ungodly spirits of the world that are operating in most churches today. I’ve seen some of these spirits up close quite frequently – and I am praying against them on a daily basis. Allow me to take a closer look at the spirit of pride.

 

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The primary definition of the word “pride” is a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority…”. There’s nothing wrong with having a high opinion about yourself (in fact, we can call that self-esteem). There is a problem, however, when your opinion supersedes reality and causes you to operate in selfishness and ungodly pursuits. Many of us in the Body of Christ operate with an inflated sense of self-worth: we think God only visits our church and speaks through our man of God, we look down on people who aren’t as “blessed” as we are (materially), and we think that God’s favor only rests on our assembly.  

Pride goes before destruction and haughtiness before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18 NLT) 

The spirit of pride runs rampant in our churches today. It seems as though the bigger our worship facilities get, the more prideful we get. We equate God’s goodness and favor with the impressive buildings we build to stroke the egos of our pastor and the surrounding communities. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy seeing impressive structures (just like everybody else). My problem, however, is that we use these buildings to further inoculate us from the troubles and struggles of our fellow man – you know, the world that we’re supposed to be evangelizing to.  

Once the new building is built and dedicated (and the usual big-named bishop or apostle pays a visit to put their seal of approval on it), the pastor now ties his legacy to the new building. “Look at what God did for us” he thunders. “As God’s mouthpiece, He’s going to use me to speak to the nations from this Holy place” he says, “this will be a place of healing and deliverance…many will flock to us and say ‘what must I do to be saved’”.  

Now, pride has taken the focus off of God and placed it on the pastor, and subsequently the members who want to “walk in the pastors anointing”. Sinners couldn’t be saved coming to our old storefront church (or any other assembly in the city). No, God has designated us and this new multi-million dollar facility as His exclusive “drop off station for lost souls”. Oh, and please take your children to “children’s church” or sit them quietly in the back of the church because we don’t want them to “disturb the spirit of pride the service”. 

As born again believers, we must do our best to combat this spirit of pride – especially since we’d be condemned to hell if it weren’t for the saving grace of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. That assurance does separate us from the non-believer, but we don’t have the right to ensconce ourselves in religious towers, and pretend as though God is only operating through us. Elijah was an awesome prophet of God, but he wasn’t God’s only prophet. When Elijah had destroyed the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel (a moment of well deserved pride), and fled fearing Jezebel’s retribution, he cried out to the Lord for help because he thought that he was the only prophet left (read 1 Kings 18 and 1 Kings 19 for context).  

Elijah had just killed over 450 false prophets, and called down rain on a land that was deeply immersed in famine, yet he found himself running from an evil woman and hiding for fear of being found out. In anger, he summoned God:

And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14 He replied again, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”

Essentially, Elijah’s pride (at least the little that he had left) caused him to questions God’s allegiance to him and his work on God’s behalf. But God quickly corrected him by pointing out: 

Yet I will preserve 7,000 others in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal or kissed him! (1 Kings 19:18 NLT) 

In other words, God let Elijah know that His justice didn’t begin and end at the hands of Elijah. We’re guilty of operating in that same spirit of pride when we think that God is beholden to us because of the work that we do in His name. We were saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8 NLT), and grace alone.  

God wants us to operate in a spirit of humility with one another (1 Peter 5:5 NLT), so don’t let that prideful spirit taint your relationship with God or your fellow man.

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