Dear fellow preacher,
Like you, I’m always looking to improve and grow as a preacher and as a leader, and a hard lesson for me to learn (and to keep learning!) is Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
There are many good preachers out there who are the ‘model of humility’, and I wish I were one of them! But I’m not. And I don’t think I’m the only one who struggles with this. Pride is a double-dog! Why? Because it gets us into trouble with people and with the Lord. I’m sure the devil tempts us into ‘pride’ just to watch us fall, as per Prov.16:18!
And one of the saddest things about pride is that the one who has it is usually the last one to know it! Like ‘bad breath’ a prideful man doesn’t recognize the smell his own pride.
No question about it, pride ‘hinders’ our effectiveness for the Lord, and damages our relationships with other people (including our wives and children).
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? (Rom. 7:24). (Interestingly, the only other mention of the word ‘wretched’ in the Bible is in Rev. 3:17 when Jesus rebuked the backslidden, prideful Laodiceans.) Oh, how many more times must we fail before we get mastery over pride? The answer comes to us in Rom. 7:25, I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Therefore, Jesus can be our ‘cloak of humility’ if we seek to live and breathe and walk in Him every day!
Lastly, a prideful spirit is often quick to take offence, which can lead to a ‘root of bitterness’ (Heb. 12:15). Has someone offended you? And do you feel bitter towards them? (Hmm.) Would Jesus feel bitter towards them? Perhaps you’ve accidentally allowed your ‘cloak of humility’ to slip off your shoulder?
The Apostle Peter had a prideful spirit when he was younger, but as he aged he ended up writing in 1Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
Stay in the game!
Your brother in Christ,
Steven J. White
I’d like to invite any Independent Baptist preacher (pastor, missionary, evangelist, or retired) to offer helpful advice, experiences and thoughts that will encourage others in the ministry. I want others to hear what you have to say. If this is of interest to you, please email me your thoughts or suggestions. None of us will get ‘paid’ for any of this, but all of us will get ‘blessed’.