Pastoring a church is a great joy. I continue to be amazed at what a wonderful privilege it is.
Sunday, in particular, is my favorite day of the week because it is when our church family gathers twice. Spending time together and building one another up is something that I look forward to all week long.
Sunday is also a day that I must be careful. Many folks within the church say very nice things to me on that day. This encourages and edifies me. However, there is a danger. The danger that lurks in the midst of this is pride. Once in a while, after someone has said something nice, I can sense myself feeling good about myself. I am not referring here to some sort of healthy self-concept. Rather, I'm talking about feeling prideful in my own actions, skills, and abilities.
When I realize that I am feeling this way, it makes me sick. Over the past few weeks, I have been preaching through Genesis chapter 1. That chapter makes it painfully clear that all abilities come to us as a gift of God. In fact, even our very lives are a gift from His hand. In light of this, pride is absurd.
When we become prideful, we are basically dethroning God in our lives and placing ourselves on the throne. Because of this, God condemns pride.
Proverbs 11:2, "When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom."
Proverbs 16:18, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."
Proverbs 29:23, "A man's pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor."
In Mark 7:20-23, Jesus lists pride among evils that come from within man. He says, "What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man."
Additionally, Paul writes something interesting to Timothy in discussing qualifications for an elder/overseer/pastor. In I Timothy 3:6, Paul says that an overseer should not be, "a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil."
Pride is a sin that all followers of Jesus Christ should resist. When the temptation arises, we should squash it by remembering that it is God who has given us all we have, including our abilities to do any good at all.
As pastors, we must fight against this temptation when the church gathers. In fact, even as we are being edified, we must watch out for Satan's attempt to use this to make us think that we are something special.
As pastors, we should pray that God will constantly remind us that we are profoundly unworthy of our calling.