The danger of religion is we can begin to judge everybody who’s not like us and believe we are the only ones who possess the truth. The deception of spiritual pride produces a false spirituality based on a puffed-up perception of our ego and the high opinion of ourselves compared to other people.
Spiritual pride can be subtle; when I grew up, there was a church on nearly every corner, and most believed they were doing God’s will. However, when we take the time to look past the name over the front entrance, we recognize that we attend a place of worship where everybody looks like us, acts like us, and believes like us. The church around the corner was not our enemy; they just weren’t quite as good as us.
If our prayers and walk with God do not change us for the better and influence us to love others, then there is little hope for humanity. If my praying causes me to see myself as superior to others, my prayers are in vain. When I seek to gain power over others or manipulate them for personal gain, I need to be careful. (I am a Pharisee!) Jesus had strong words for those that lead others astray. “It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.” Luke 17:2 NIV
For positive transformation to occur in our lives, we must learn how to recognize and understand the deception that lurks in our hearts and be aware of the false pride present in each of us.
Jesus is restoring us to our true identity, where we die to our self-will and deception. When we are honest, we understand our unwillingness to get along with each other; there is a glimmer of hope. Once we do that, then we have the confidence that we as a people are being transformed into the body and image of Christ.
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