Spiritual Pride (Part Two)



“Jerry Bridges was an evangelical Christian author, speaker and staff member of The Navigators. Born in Tyler, Texas, United States, he was the author of more than a dozen books, including The Pursuit of Holiness, which has sold more than one million copies.” Wikipedia. 


Jerry had this to say about spiritual pride: “As we grow in the Christian life we face increasing danger of spiritual pride. We know the correct doctrines, the right methods, and the proper do’s and don’ts. But we may not see the poverty of our own spiritual character. We may not see our critical and unforgiving spirit, our habit of backbiting, or our tendency to judge others. We may become like the Laodiceans of whom our Lord said, ‘You say, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.” But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked’ (Revelation 3:17).” ― Jerry Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness


“You (I/us) do not realize that you (I/us) are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked.”  If this quote from Revelations seems to be getting personal then good, for it is a litmus test of where we stand with spiritual pride or not.  If we ever forget to remember where we came from, what God had to do and overlook to love us into His kingdom, and the truth of the wretched condition of our life that lies hidden from the surface, then we will embrace spiritual pride into our life.  We must keep a realistic view of our relationship with Christ through His grace. When we embrace our set-apart condition from God except for His grace that brought us into His heart, it keeps spiritual pride in check.  But we need to also understand that we have been redeemed for a noble purpose.  We are members of the Royal Priesthood (1 Peter 2:9) and should live above spiritual pride, just as Jesus did. But oh, how easy it is for mankind to go from one imbalance to another.  For example, have you ever heard of “Worm Theology?”


Worm theology is an old idea in Christian culture that in light of God’s holiness and power an appropriate emotion is a low view of self. The name might have originated in a line in the Issac Watts hymn,  Alas! and Did My Saviour Bleed (Pub 1707) which says, “Would he devote that sacred head for such a worm as I?”  


I understand the thought’s origins come from Calvinism that emphasized that the human race was totally unable to save itself. This thought about worms does have some biblical roots from the Old Testament, and it is true that mankind cannot save itself.  Even so, I think we have to get God’s view of His sons and daughters from the New Testament and as well not use our view of our self or others to tell us who we are. This is why I want to advance our thinking toward the best way of controlling spiritual pride, which is to embrace our roles as sons and daughters of God, rather than seeing ourselves as worms or superstars.


I think that a low view of self can also become a form of spiritual piety and pride.  The result of this is to view others as less committed, less concerned, less dedicated, loving God less and one’s self more.  The examples pile on and feed our spiritual pride.  Of course, we adopt this view of others by comparing them to our self as the standard, and once again like a snake in water, the old ugly head of spiritual pride exposes itself.  Can you spot it in yourself?  I have in myself, and this is why we must combat it.  It can become a spiritual cancer, and like the Laodicean Church we read about in Revelations, we are likewise told:


“Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.  Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent …”  Revelations 3:2-3


Always remember what you received and heard.  Always remember the condition you were in when the Father gave you sonship or daughter-ship.  Remember you are not a worm, but a member of His royal family.  Live like it.  Honor Him rather than yourself,  and spiritual pride will stay far away from you.