There are many consequences of misnaming. Even for the most unassuming, when we misname people or call people a derogatory name, there is usually a hint of arrogance involved. Yes, without really saying it, there is an “I am better than you” in that subtle misnaming. When we, Christians, deal with people that appear “lost” to us in an arrogant, overbearing way, it pushes them away from our faith when all the chips are down. In the meantime, in our minds we are thinking how great we have been after we have quoted all the Bible passages that come to us at that time. The truth of the matter is that, if the gospel we preach, as well as our demeanor, is not filled with grace and love, we should not be patting ourselves on the back because we are just “a sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal” – 1 Cor. 13:1 (NKJV). Every action we take and words we utter as Christians must be in the light of the Word of God and they do have consequences for the Gospel. When we distort names, we come off as arrogant, and the Bible states those who act arrogantly give themselves distorted names too – “A proud and haughty man – “Scoffer” is his name; He acts with arrogant pride” – Proverbs 21:24 (NKJV).
In our Christian walk, as we seek knowledge and maturity, if we are not careful, we can develop this feeling that we know more than others, which is otherwise known as arrogance. People who have acquired some measure of spiritual insight either due to revelations or due to their own diligent inquisition tend to have this form of arrogance which if not immediately checked can lead to their fall. The Bible tells us that those who are arrogant and have a haughty heart are an abomination to Him: “Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; though they join forces, none will go unpunished”- Proverbs 16:5 (NKJV). Spiritual arrogance can present a real and present danger for spiritual seekers. Just by the very nature of spiritual search and growth, we all tend to find some satisfying and serious personal truth on our spiritual journey and if we are not careful it can result in a feeling of “I am all that”, “been there, done that”. This inherent danger that is in growing spiritually is precisely why our faith teaches us the exact opposite of arrogance which is humility.
We cannot be effective soldiers for Christ if we always proceed from the point of arrogance or “I know and they know not”. If our major aim is to win souls for Christ then as leaders, ministers, or Christian brothers and sisters, we should never consider ourselves as learned while others are ignorant. Leaders should never see in themselves any superiority because superior feelings covet superior treatments. If we want to touch people’s souls, then we must proceed from the point of lowliness and humility. “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves”- (Philippians 2:3). Spiritual arrogance is bad news. Ironically this trait is not easy for us to understand. By their fruits you shall know them. For example, spiritually arrogant folks do not like to pray with others except they are leading the prayer. They do not like to meet with others except they are calling the shots. Put them in charge of a committee and before you know it, it becomes a one-person committee. Why? Because in our minds we have already labelled the others non-achievers. These are traits but it is much deeper than that. It can be referred to as Spiritual arrogance.
Spiritual arrogance is bad news. The kind of spiritual arrogance that causes one to refer to another Christian as a “spiritual nonentity” is arrogance of the worst kind, because it seeks to put down. When a Christian knowingly calls another person a derogatory name, there is some spiritual arrogance involved. We are allowed to make judgments for our own decision-making but our Lord frowns at name calling just because we can or because we think we are better. The worst danger of spiritual arrogance is how it makes us lose sight of our own accountability. When we are spiritually arrogant, we begin to see ourselves more and more as the source of our spirituality. Everything is because of what we do. We think it is because we pray more than the others. Sometimes we believe it is because we read the Bible more than others and other times, we believe it is because we have superior understanding than others. We lose touch with grace. Brethren, we must not want to lose touch with grace because we are whatever we are by His grace. This is why Apostle Paul makes that warning very loud and clear, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” -1 Corinthians 10:12 (NKJV). We will not fall in Jesus’ name.
November 21, 2021– Pastor Simbo Odunaiya