Ever sense a strong theme to something God is trying to teach you?
It has been occurring to me that I pat myself on the back for things which really God just needs to be thanked. I think I’m special because I did something nice, because food I made turned out well, because I didn’t say something mean, because my house was clean, or because I read a book and on and on I could go. In reality I just need to be grateful that God enabled me to do those things or allowed them to happen at all.
It clearly is something I am needing to learn because I’ve heard the same theme in at least three different places.
1. I was podcast listening to a sermon on Romans 11 and this is what I heard:
“Whenever God steps in and pours out His blessing, history would say there’s always this tendency for the blessed to start to become arrogant, to start to think: this was about me; this was about my performance; this was about my great intellect; this is because we figured it out. And suddenly we start thinking: somehow it’s because I’m better or we figured this out or we are better—and it creates a certain degree of spiritual arrogance, that then moves to self-righteousness, which then causes God’s hand of blessing to move away. It’s a very dangerous pattern.”
2. Then in a Bible study I got to be a part, what David says in 1 Chronicles 29:14 slapped me in the face.
But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given you.
(Side note: If you’re looking for a Bible study for the summer, I would highly recommend Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed!)
3. I chose to review Accidental Pharisees: Avoiding Pride Exclusivity, and the Other Dangers of Overzealous Faith by Larry Osborne. WOW! The title of the 2nd section of the book is “Pride: When Comparison Becomes Arrogance.”
Published: 2012 by Zondervan, who so freely and kindly sent me this book to review through BookSneeze.com
Genre: Christian Life
What I gained from reading it: A realization of many different areas where I have a tendency to think arrogantly and fresh insight into the New Testament
What I liked: For someone who grew up as a Christian, who wants to follow the rules, do things right and be on fire for God, this was a great book for me to read. It pegged my incorrect thinking many times and had many outstanding points.
“But in my immaturity, I didn’t see my hunger as a God-given desire for a God-given assignment. I saw it as a sign of my superior spiritual zeal.” page 161
“It’s no wonder that we’re prone to look down on others. Our natural tendency toward self-deception causes us to think we’re in the top percentile of everything important.” pages 53-4
“The truth is Jesus didn’t come to raise the bar. He didn’t come to weed out the losers. He came to turn losers, laggards, and enemies into full-on sons and daughters of God.” page 84
Osborne gives Biblical references for his points and also great examples from today. His book has discussion questions after each of the seven sections, which would make for interesting discussion in a small group setting.
What I wasn’t sure about: I’m guessing if you read this book, you’ll feel like throwing some red caution flags. You might take a moment to really consider if you agree with what he’s saying when he says on page 69, “My expectation that every Christian should become a superstar disciple…was unrealistic and unbiblical.” Also, I wasn’t sure how his section on idolizing the past fit completely with the Pharisee idea, but it still is an interesting and educational section.
My Overall Rating (5 point scale): 4.7
I would recommend reading this book to many people. I would love to know if you’re interested.