Arrogance is a deceiver. It causes us to place value in what has little or no intrinsic value. We are convinced that we are something great when, in reality, we are really not much different than everyone else. It was for this kind of arrogance that Jesus sent message through the Apostle John to the church at Laodicea. “Because you say, ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,’ and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.” (Revelation 3:17-18) The Christians at Laodicea saw themselves as being rich and being full of the things of God, yet the things that they thought brought them great wealth were nothing more than common fools gold. They thought they were rich, but the truth was that they were utterly poor. We are content to hold onto what we have, assuming that it is of great value, and discard what God has for us and those things have true eternal value. Arrogance deceives us into thinking that we are something that we are not and that we have something that we really don’t have. Here are some ways that arrogance deceives us into valuing the wrong things.
“Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other. For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?” (1 Corinthians 4:6-7)Arrogance finds reasons to value ourselves over others. Paul was writing of those who were puffed up in regards to which apostle they, or their church, was related to. One group saw themselves better then the others because of their relationship with Paul. Others thought themselves superior because of the relationship to Apollos. Their arrogance led to a party spirit and caused divisions between Christian brothers and sisters. This form of arrogance is far too common among self righteous religious ones. We boast about what makes our church better than other churches; we have better worship, we have better teaching, our church is more loving than other churches. We take what God has given us and use it to separate us. Paul, in his letter to the Jews in Rome, wrote to tell them not to think of themselves as being superior to the gentiles. “Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God. What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin.” (Romans 3:1-2, 9) In the end, none of us are any better than anyone else. We are all but mere men and women. We are all people born into sin and in need of a savior. Even as Christians we are not better than those who are still lost. Apart from our relationship with Jesus we are no different than anyone else. There really is only one that is great, and it’s not us. “But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you.” (Romans 11:17-18) We are all branches, Jesus alone is the root. We have nothing with which to boast against the other branches. Our boast should be in the Lord.
More to come… David Robison