Having spiritually opened eyes for the first time, we were eager to learn as much as we could. We had a consistent stream of godly intake that we were intentional about. The desire to be just like Christ became our motivation.
At some point, we can begin to become satisfied with just learning biblical facts. We search to look more spiritual (or just as spiritual) as others around us. We then slowly become spiritually prideful.
A desire for the Bible is amazing. That is a gift from God! Our sinful nature does not like God very much. It really likes sin, and this is why we must strive for holiness (Romans 6:13). When I first became a Christian, I was so hungry and thirsty for the truths of God. I couldn’t get enough of learning more. Those desires were from a sincere heart of wanting to know God better. My eyes were set on Him and I just wanted Him.
I am sure you know what I mean when I say youthful zeal. Every Christian has experienced this to some degree. This is good and pleasing to God. He tells us to seek Him and to meditate on His Word. He gives us the ability to be taught by hundreds of books from Christian writers. He wants His name to be made much of. He wants us to grow in our knowledge of Him (Ephesians 1:17). This is not spiritual pride. However, slipping into it is so easy.
The enemy is sneaky. He will even use our desire to know God as a way into sin. He is very deceptive, and we can be very easily tempted when he uses the Bible against us. We should not be surprised, Satan used Scripture when trying to tempt Jesus (Matthew 4:1)! As we grow and learn more, we can slip into a lazy Christian walk. We continue to learn, but we don’t act on what we have learned. We end up with a lot of knowledge, but no fruitful living.
This doesn’t mind the enemy. Learning is not profitable if we don’t act on what we read. Our lives start to get messy because we aren’t obeying God- though we know all of the truths! We know God’s word, but we are prideful enough to feel like we don’t have to actually obey Him. We forget our need for the Holy Spirit to help us walk out the truths He teaches us. Instead, we prefer to continue to learn, while settling into spiritual pridefulness.
HOW MUCH I KNOW
When I graduated Bible college and entered the ‘real world,’ I learned that I knew very little about God. This was in comparison to the church I started attending. They studied older writers like Charles Spurgeon, C.S. Lewis, Andrew Murray, Amy Carmichael, Thomas Watson...and many of the Puritans.
If you have never read anything from those authors, get one of their books. You will find that they wrote on such a deeper level than many writers today, though we do have Christ-centered writers that are still living!
After regular attendance at this church, I was surrounded by people who truly loved God and took their walk with the Lord seriously. They gleaned a lot from the older writers and had definitely moved from the milk of the Word to the meat.
I felt incredibly insecure! So, I started reading to ‘catch up.’ I wanted to be able to contribute to the spiritual conversations. Even though I believe I had good motives to start with, I quickly fell into spiritual pridefulness. I was trying to learn for the sake of others and not for true godliness.
Have you found yourself in this kind of space? It could be friends and church family that we try to impress. It might even be social media. We want to come off as ‘super spiritually,’ like how everyone else seems to be.
The hardest part about this is that we can be deceived into thinking we really are not prideful. If you are studying and learning godly things, but don't feel like you have to obey...you are spiritually prideful. If you are reading books and doing Bible plans to appear just as godly as others, you are prideful.
The opposite of pride is humility. We must become humble again. This is when we look at God and then see ourselves in comparison...which is itty bitty. We realize we are so small, and we turn to God- not to our spiritual appearance.
We also, can’t be prideful in thinking we can just fix all of this pridefulness business in our own strength. No, just as we couldn’t save ourselves, we can’t sanctify ourselves (John 17:17). We must go to God, repent, and ask for His help. If He has pointed out spiritual pride in you, then He is doing so in love. He desires a real relationship with you!
Pride started in the Garden of Eden. This is our natural state, apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. We must depend on God to help us have an authentic relationship with Him. We seek God so that we can know Him more and so that we will become more like Him (Matthew 7:7).
We love Him because He first loved us. He died for these very sins we are struggling with. He is patient and sympathizes with us. However, we must turn our hearts fully to Him. Our goal should be to know Him personally.
When we have this, our conversations about God will be natural and not prideful. They will be from experience and not just facts we can quote from C.S. Lewis. We must ask God to show us the state of our hearts. If it is prideful, we have a loving Savior to go to.
I would love to know what you think about spiritual pridefulness. Leave a comment!
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