Anytime a church begins to move forward and take ground for the kingdom, the enemy will do everything he can to impede progress. He does so by getting us off track. By tempting us to focus on minor issues instead of our mission. There are great dangers that we face. We need to be aware of these dangers so we can avoid them.
1. The danger of self-righteousness. It’s easy to become self-righteous and not even realize it. If we’re not careful we can become accidental Pharisees. I know because I’ve been one.
How do I know if I’m a Pharisee? When I focus more on the outside appearance than the heart I’m probably a Pharisee. When I talk about what someone wears instead of whether or not they know Jesus, I’m probably a Pharisee. When I’m so focused on the style of music that I don’t think about the God I’m worshipping, I’m probably a Pharisee. When my life revolves around man-made, external standards of righteousness, I’m probably a Pharisee.
Jesus’ greatest rebuke was not to the sinners, prostitutes, and tax collectors. His greatest rebuke was to the self-righteous Pharisees and their crowd.
2. The danger of self-centeredness. Do you know what self-centeredness looks like? Of course you do. Have you ever seen a toddler? “I want what I want and I want it now.” Believe it or not, there are people in the church who act that way.
When did church become all about keeping church people happy? When did church become about my preferences instead of God’s glory? Is worship supposed to make me happy, or is it supposed to make God happy?
The church is the only organization that exists largely for those who aren’t yet members of the organization. We are here for those who don’t yet know Jesus. We are here for those who are not yet here.
The natural tendency of a church is to drift inward, not outward. That’s why regular maintenance is required. You have to align the wheels to point in the right direction -outward, not inward.
3. The danger of self-confidence. Self-confidence is deceptive and insidious. It is so dangerous. Whenever we think we’ve got it all figured out we are in great danger of losing it all.
We must be desperate for His Spirit and not dependent upon ourselves. We must continually long for the anointing and power of His Holy Spirit and not rely on our own ability or strength.
The remedy: As I thought about these dangers, I thought about the remedy for these dangers. One resounding theme kept coming back to my mind – humility. Only humility will stem the tide of self-righteousness. Only humility will break the bonds of self-centeredness. Only humility will crush the sense of self-confidence. The remedy is humility. Oh God, keep us humble!