Returning to true Spiritual Humility!
Jobin Sam Varghese | Article
Returning to true Spiritual Humility!
Jobin Sam Varghese
One of the great challenges the church is going through is the growing essence of elitism and cancel culture. People carrying certain knowledge or skill sets assume they are placed far above others in the church and anyone having an alternative perspective is easily cancelled out!
Is the knowledge we are accumulating humbling us or is it leading to having a feeling of, as apostle Paul calls it “Puffed up knowledge”? Paul also warns us “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you”- Romans 12.3
Here are some of the signs of what it looks like to be falling into “Spiritual Pride”.
1) Hardened Heart:
Have our hearts become more tender over time, or have we become more arrogant? A person with a tender heart displays compassion towards those around them and has the desire to listen to God's voice and follow His guidance in their life than just leaning upon their perceptions and self-interest.
2) Discounting Spiritual Fellowship:
Regular spiritual activities such as weekly fellowship gatherings, bible studies, and prayer meetings are crucial for promoting accountability and facilitating deep transformation. These activities are essential for driving intentional discipleship and should not be neglected in favour of just conducting Sunday services. If we fail to experience transformation and disciple others, the church loses its purpose and becomes like a social club. It's important to prioritize these activities by planning our schedules in a way that allows us to be actively involved. Attending these meetings should not be done for the sake of appearances but with a genuine eagerness and desire to learn and grow spiritually.
Are we currently neglecting the importance of regular spiritual fellowships, such as weekly bible study, small group meetings, and cell group gatherings? Are we only interested in participating in meetings where we can be in the spotlight or where we can be the main resource person?
This is what the scripture states -
Hebrews 10: 24-25 "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
3) Distancing from People:
Do we limit ourselves to interacting with only a specific group of people? Are we open to extending hospitality and fellowship to those outside our usual social circle? When we converse with others, do they feel comfortable and welcomed, or do they feel intimidated by us?
As believers, we are called to be one body and share in the same table. It is crucial that we avoid creating divisions within our community and instead welcome people from all backgrounds, even with their spiritual imperfections.
Below is the reference I hope we could contemplate.
Galatians 6: 1-3 &10
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
4) Elder Brother Syndrome:
Do we have an attitude of being indispensable and above others? Do we dismiss the opinions of other spiritual leaders or members because of their qualifications? Do we make ourselves the central figure in decision-making?
When younger individuals struggle to express themselves effectively, do we show empathy and encourage them, or do we respond defensively or with harsh words?
In his writing, Apostle Paul refers to these "elite" individuals as "super-apostles," who rejected Paul's apostolic authority. Another example of this behaviour can be found in the epistle of 3rd John, which describes a person named Diotrephes who refused to welcome other believers and even expelled them from the church.
This statement of John better explains “he even refuses to welcome other believers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.”-3 John 1:10.
5) Success story or Testimonies?
In what way are we presenting our life stories and achievements to those around us? Are we being viewed as a success story, causing others to feel inadequate? Or are we sharing our experiences as individuals who have been transformed by grace and are still working through our weaknesses? By sharing our stories in this way, we can build each other up and edify one another.
6) Do we Major in minors?
Apostle Paul often advises in his letters to avoid contentious arguments. Are we too focused on minor details, such as personal preferences in worship, clothing, diet, and biblical interpretation, and quick to dismiss those who differ from us? Or do we approach these differences with compassion and a willingness to accommodate? When corrections are necessary, do we do so with gentleness and love?
Overall, the Bible encourages us to focus on what unites us rather than what divides us and to treat one another with love and respect even when we have differences.
Paul's encouragement through the below verse
Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarrelling over disputable matters. Roman 14.1
“Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 6and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”- 2 Timothy 2:23-26
7) Entitled or Serve
Is the increased knowledge you carry or certain skills/talents that we have make us feel superior to the local spiritual leadership? Are we open to correction?
In many churches, younger people often have a sense of entitlement to benefits and see the church as a corporation. This can lead to leaders seeking only those who are resourceful and talented, creating a culture of elitism where people compete against each other to perform better. However, the ministry should be focused on serving others and filling gaps, not entitlement.
When developing young leaders, it's important to evaluate their attitude towards service, willingness to receive correction, and commitment to spiritual fellowship. If they are only interested in special events where they can have the limelight and aren't willing to commit to regular gatherings, they may not be the right fit for the ministry team.
We must be vigilant and avoid the trap of displaying false humility while acknowledging that we are merely stewards of the great treasure of God's teachings. To overcome the temptation of spiritual pride, we should focus on abiding in the Lord and cultivating a servant's heart to bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit. As we deepen our understanding and knowledge of God, we should let it increase our humility and adoration for the Lord.
This is my prayer!
May not the cross and the redemption shown to us be a “theological fact” we choose to believe. May not the second coming of the Lord be an age-old preacher’s topic and consolation in funerals. But let these truths be a living hope, igniting our love for our Saviour. In the pursuit of gaining more knowledge – let not the intimacy with the Lord be lost! God longs for the genuine expression of love from our hearts. May our prayer/song be always a time when we express our love and thirst for God. May we understand that being a mature Christian is not only with the increase of knowledge but instead it is the increased understanding of His works that increases our love towards the Lord! May the tears never run out of our eyes and our knees never fail to touch the ground when we contemplate the great love God has shown to us!