In this discussion about what I call, "Christian Arrogance," we are following an acrostic on the word "PRIDE."
In the last entry, we talked about "P - Position."
Here, we talk about "R - Rules" - or, regiment, and how we can become arrogant in our ability to follow the rules or regiments of "being a Christian."
We need rules, to a certain extent. We need to know, for example, that a red light indicates stopping at intersections. To stay fit and healthy, you must adhere to a certain regiment of making wise food choices and exercising consistently. It's okay, and even necessary at times, to have rules and regiments that we live by.
Some people become quite arrogant, pushy and obsessive about their exercise and nutrition rules even to the point of forcing those rules on others, as if they, and they alone, have suddenly discovered the only truth available regarding health and shove that info in your face to prove you are not now, nor will you ever be, as healthy as they are.
There are Christians who do the very same thing with their faith journey.
They are very, very proud of the fact that they rise at 5am, spend 30-minutes alone with God, spend another 30-minutes reading His Word, attend an adult Sunday school class, attend a mid-week Bible study, sit in the front during the service (to be "seen and glean"), teach the children, sing in the choir, donate to the food bank and help set up chairs for the men's meeting.
These are not bad things. In fact, these are GOOD things! Until you shove your over-extended goodness in the face of fellow believers in an attempt to prove just how "good" you are at "following God's rules."
The Bible has many examples of pride - and they are never portrayed as something to strive for. Rather, they are revealed as something to avoid. "God hates a haughty spirit..." (Proverbs 18:16).
It's important to consider how Jesus dealt with this matter of regiment and rules in His own relationship with God. In a nutshell, Jesus NEVER alerted everyone to His personal plan of intimacy or obedience to God. He simply did it. We know He went off by himself to pray, for example, because Luke tells us so. (Luke 5:16). But Jesus never said, "Okay, guys, here's what I'm gonna go do now - I'm gonna go be with God in a quiet time - you know, like YOU guys SHOULD be doing."
I am always amused by the comment from the Pharisee in Luke 18, verse 11: "God, I thank you that I am not like other men..."
Be honest - haven't you thought that sometimes? Our modern version of that statement might go like this: "God, I might have had lustful thoughts, or uttered cuss words, or even hated my next-door neighbor, but - I never killed anyone, or stole money from the bank, or did drugs. Thank you, God, that I'm not THAT bad. Thank you, God, that I read my Bible every day and do all that other stuff on my "God list" that I know makes you happy. I am so amazing, huh?"
Your wording might be different, but that's essentially what many of us do because, sadly, we actually believe that DOING THE LIST is what makes God happy.
That isn't what makes God happy. He looks at the HEART, not our ability to "do the list."
If you are over-pleased with your ability to "do the list" (the rules and regiment), then I suggest you reconsider that aspect of your spiritual life. I encourage all of us to be less prideful in our ability to follow the rules.
Remember, one of "the rules" is humility and it doesn't really fly to show off your Christianity if you want to be humble.