- How are we arrogant? Let me go directly to the heart and identify some of our arrogant ways.
- We protect “our” pulpit. This is both a good and bad trait. We should protect the pulpit from those who do not proclaim truth or who speak in a watered-down fashion. This protective arrogance gets out of line when we are judgmental of others and their style or when we refuse to take a Sunday off because no one can fill our shoes.
- We refuse to ask for directions. You have probably heard why Moses wandered 40 years in the wilderness. “He refused to ask for directions.” That joke is well worn.
- Refusing to ask directions displays arrogance in the following ways: we refuse….to ask the opinions of others; to ask someone to mentor us; to ask consultants to advise our church; to ask others to critique our sermons; to use lay people to lead, etc.
- We think our opinion is the only “right” opinion. Consider these examples. We may think…our church is the only “right” church; our interpretation of scripture is the only “right” interpretation; our Bible translation is the only “right” translation; our view of prophecy is the only “right” view; our way of doing church is the only “right” way; our music is the only “right” style. You get the picture.
Two special notes: Arrogance seems to be strongest in young ministers. This is true because the Lord has not had time to adjust the thinking of young ministers. When we come out of seminary or Bible college we have idealistic thoughts and narrow views. Such thoughts and views have not been tempered in the real world of ministry.
Another sad note involves older ministers. There are some older ministers who isolate themselves in the name of orthodoxy. Some pastors claim to be conservative, when in fact, they are legalistic and judgmental. These men tend to isolate themselves from other people thinking they have the only “right” way.
Enough of the examples. What does arrogance do to us?
- Arrogance closes our heart to ministry friendships. One of my best ministry friends was a man from another denomination. After our friendship blossomed I was surprised to discover how much we had in common.
- Arrogance goes before a fall. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Prov. 16:18) “A man’s pride will bring him low, But the humble in spirit will retain honor.” (Prov. 29:23)
- Arrogance kills a teachable spirit. Peter would not receive Jesus’ warning about denial. He was arrogant. He said everyone else may fail, but that would never happen to him.
- Arrogance makes us self-sufficient. The Bible portrays the church as a body. The body is to be a cooperative and serve serving unit. Arrogance causes us to act alone and be a lone ranger.
One of the saddest sights is to see a person on an island of arrogance. Such a person closes himself to the blessings that come from others.
Pastors, I encourage you to examine your heart. Has arrogance taken control of certain corners of your heart? Have you closed yourself off from others? God wants you to see the blessings of which arrogance has robbed you.