If you were away from us at The Journey Church this past weekend, here is what you missed:
As we enter our 10th week of our MY Year series we will be preaching over the 12 spiritual formation markers that we want our church to abide by. The two markers that we combined this week were:
A go-the-extra-mile type of willingness to fight for unity in the church and a genuine Christ-exalting, self-minimizing humility.
Pride produces division
Unchecked pride produces Christ diminishing division all throughout the local churches. It is extremely easy to locate the division in churches, but the problem is locating the pride in the heart of the Christian. This is because pride shows and hides itself in many ways. When the average Christian hears the word pride, he or she may think of arrogance or boastfulness and although those are directly connected to pride, pride does not stop there.
Jonathan Edwards, an influential Puritan preacher, writer, and theologian gives us seven symptoms we can use to diagnose pride. If we allow the Gospel to transform us, we will be able to keep our pride in check. These seven symptoms are:
- Fault finding- a critical spirit that always sees the negatives
- Harsh spirit- expressing your opinions in a way that be-littles others
- Superficiality- constantly trying to show your best in front of others
- Defensiveness- never allowing for any correction
- Presumption before God- upset when we don’t get what we want from God or men
- Attention seeking- a desire to always be in the spot light
- Neglecting others- more concerned with oneself then the concerns of others
Pride can be sneaky by hiding behind certain actions we perform or mindsets we have. This is why it can be hard to recognize the pride in our heart. All of the seven symptoms are major contributors to creating division. Unity is not produced by being around people who have a critical and harsh spirit. It is hard to walk in unity when people are constantly presenting themselves as something that they aren’t. Being one with people who never allow correction and always show frustration when things do not go their way is difficult. How can a group of believers have joy in unity when others are constantly desiring the spot light and are more concerned with their own needs than the needs of others? This pride must be checked and in order to do this, we must do two things: focus on examples of humility and use the necessary tools to uproot the pride.
Christ-like humility produces God-glorifying unity
A great way of looking inside the heart to make sure you are not living pridefully is by looking at the examples in the Bible. We see in Philippians 2:5-8 Paul points to the humiliation of Christ by taking the form of a man and dying a death by hanging on a cross. Jesus Christ is our ultimate example of humility because only a humble God would die for man who is unworthy of it. Paul himself is also an example of humility. In the same chapter of Philippians 2, verse 17 Paul shows his desire for the church in Philippi to grow in their faith. His desire for their growth is so strong he expresses, “even if I’m to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith.” Another example in Philippians chapter 2 is found in verse 19-26 as Paul points out Epaphroditus and Timothy’s humility because of their genuine love for the church in Philippi. We see in verse 20 Paul says of Timothy, “there is no one like him, who will be genuinely concerned for your welfare,” and we also see Epaphroditus more concerned with the spiritual health of the church than his physical health (Philippians 2:26-30).
There is one common theme in the humility of Jesus, Paul, Timothy, and Epaphroditus and that is their care for others. The care that Christ had for the lost is why He humbled Himself to save humanity. The care Paul had for the church is why he was beaten and willing to be beaten again. We see the same care in Timothy and Epaphroditus as they assist Paul in a way that threatens their lives. We must follow these examples in order to keep in check our pride.
Digging out Pride
Focusing your eyes on examples of people marked by humility will mean nothing if pride is still hiding in the heart. In order to uproot this pride we must constantly confess our pride, discipline ourselves to serve others, and constantly remind ourselves of the Gospel.
The very nature of the Gospel shows that every blessing we have from God is because of His grace. We are not owed anything but death and God’s wrath. We deserve nothing but eternal punishment from Him because of our sins but because of the grace of God, He has blessed His children with the gift of faith in order to believe in Him (Ephesians 2:8). Knowing we deserve eternal punishment but will receive eternal joy should completely humble us in how we live our lives and fight for unity.