Pride Comes Before a Fall (Proverbs 16:18)
We all know this quote from Proverbs, but I think it is never so ugly as when it comes disguised as a Spirit-Filled Minister. The respect that comes with the title often gives way to a license to control! Nowhere does it seem to be as dangerous as when we see a man or woman of God who have an incredible knowledge of the Word of God! To further add to the potential for disaster, many who are very charismatic, convincing, and able to do amazing feats with the Word of God have no accountability structure to keep them in check! Whew…this is a recipe for “Spiritual Abuse”!
What is weighing heavy on me this morning is how many times I have been fooled by these types of ministers. I keep praying that God would increase my discernment so as to make me more able to see the chinks in their armour before it becomes full blown and the destruction has left in it’s wake, sheep who have become traumatized and full of fear! After the fact, those who are close by, need to initiate damage control and bring the spiritually broken into a safe place to heal up the damaged souls! It is not a pretty sight!
It is also not a pretty sight to watch a man or woman that you know personally fall like this! But many times the spiritual pride has become so deeply inset that their ears have become dull and they do not receive counsel from anyone. Often they do not feel that anyone has become “spiritually mature” enough to speak into their lives. WOW! This phenomenon is even more tragic when the minister is young in age. (or young in the Lord)
It seems that the “Church” is still spending way too much time praising the “Gifts” or “Anointing” upon a person and not scrutinizing the “Character”! We are called to be fruit inspectors and that means that we are to be checking out that the “Character of Jesus” is being manifested in that life. What seems to happen is that we are so amazed by the gifts of God that are evident and powerful that we become reluctant to approach this person to discuss personal character issues that have surfaced of late. There is a tendency to obscure the hidden sin because the gift is so needed in the church structure! This is a formula for all manner of evil to start to take up residence in that person and in “The Church”! “A little leaven leavens the whole lump!”
A mighty man or woman of God used in church, out of church, in their homes and on the streets can become a law unto themselves! This is the mystery of lawlessness! (See www.flashfloods.com for the book “The Mystery of Lawlessness” by Scott Holtz) The ones that you least suspect because of the mighty gifts of God being manifested through their ministry can become the very ones who fall prey to this mystery.
Another thing that I have seen is the praise paid towards this individual will often work within them to stir up dormant pockets of control that have been hidden and waiting for the right opportunity to rise up and take over. Are we so hungry for the gifts of God that we overlook the potential for disaster brewing just below the surface? This is serious business! One more time: Where is the discernment? We can be sure of one thing: God is not surprised by any of this, is He? It is like He is allowing all of it to teach and instruct us to become more aware and more vigilant next time! But beware……offense and bitterness can turn that discernment into a “Critical Spirit” if we are not continually coming before the Lord to wash us in His forgiveness. We may become tainted by the experience to the point that we get a “Bunker Mentality” and are afraid to venture very far from home. How do we discern the true “Discernment of the Holy Spirit” and a “Critical Spirit” that often becomes formed by our hurts and tainted by our tongues? We have to be in communion with the Lord daily to keep us in check to avoid the “Bitter Root Judgments” that can increase the fear in our lives. Oh Lord it is hard to balance all of these things! I have seen true discernment operating and I have seen a critical spirit operating and I will tell you brothers and sisters….they are hard to tell apart! “ For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment” James 2:13. Without the Holy Spirit filtering every thought and action….we would be unable to tell the difference.
What am I saying this morning? I guess to sum it up…. “Spiritual Pride will result in a fall every time!” The only missing part of the puzzle is “When”? Be sure that the “Aharit” of this manifestation of pride will be destruction! The only way to avoid it is to live a life that is constantly being washed by an ‘intimate continual communion with the Lord’! The Bible says
“ God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble .” 7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded . (James 4:6)
Let us lift the bar on Character and lower the excitement for the Gifts and Anointing before it is too late and we watch another one fall and take out the sheep with him or her! Let us avoid the destruction that is sure to fall without the accountability structure to keep in check the minor manifestations before they become full blown and unable to curtail! The end result or the Aharit is certain disaster for the unsuspecting and the weak ones! The mystery of lawlessness is at work here but we can avoid much if we are willing to confront the issues before they become full blown tirades of rebellion, stubbornness and all manner of evil being unleashed and unchecked! Hallelujah!
In all of this we need to stay humble and in prayer before the Lord, forgiving those who spitefully use us and abuse us. To top it all off, we need to be vigilant and accountable that the very same thing could happen to any one of us, and we would be the last to know! Forgive 7 times 70 times per day (That’s about every 2 minutes and 20 seconds) Let us be transparent before the Lord!