Published May 22, 2012

Paul's Epistle...
"Who's Arrogant?"

Are you arrogant? Am I?

Whoa!  That's not a term anyone wants to have applied. But you probably know a lot of people who would qualify for the title.

Think about this: Why would anyone choose to go their own way without God instead of walking with Him, worshiping Him, thanking Him for all He has given? (And I'm talking about Christians and non-Christians alike.)

The reason?  It's arrogance, pure and simple. (Well, not very "pure," come to think of it.)

And this arrogance is sin. In fact, it's the sin that started sin. It was Lucifer's sin of pride and arrogance that caused Him to fall from his exalted position around God's throne. "For thou has said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God...I will be like the most High." (Isaiah 14:13-14.) Talk about arrogance!

It was arrogance that led Adam and Eve to sin in the garden by doing something God had specifically told them not to do. They were so arrogant they thought they knew better than God Himself.

The Bible refers to such arrogance with many terms, such as pride, conceit, boasting, high-mindedness, etc. It's never in a favorable light. In fact, pride is on a long list of things in Mark 7 "that defile the man." But we can expect this to be the case in our age: "For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy..." (2 Tim. 3:2.) Wow. You can read about all of those on the front page of today's newspaper. (Of course, they won't be identified as such.)

Arrogance is...

You can undoubtedly expand that list ad nauseam. Such things are all part of the arrogant rebellion of sin. Such people have bought into the lie that there is no God, so why should His rules count? That's foolish. In fact, the Bible is quite blunt about it: "The fool has said in his heart, there is no God." (Psalm 14:1.) So, according to God's word, the equation is this: "atheist" = "fool."

God will tolerate none of this. "The fear of the Lord is to hate evil: pride, and arrogance, and the evil I hate." (Prov. 8:13.) And there is coming a day when He will put an absolute end to it: "I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogance of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible." (Isaiah 13:11.)

How can we avoid arrogance in our daily lives?

Pray!  If we avoid praying, if we avoid thanking God and communing with Him in prayer, we're being arrogant. We're saying, "God, you're just not important enough in my life for me to bother with You today." Now, that's arrogant! Routinely ignoring a little thing like prayer before each meal is that same kind of arrogance.

How can we avoid arrogance? Read the Bible regularly. Failure to do so, for the Christian, is arrogant. We're saying, "God, there's nothing you have to say to me today that's more important than other things I'd rather be doing. I've got a TV show to watch. I have a lot of Facebook friends. I just don't have time. And I'm just too tired, anyway. Maybe tomorrow."

How can we avoid arrogance? Defer to the Lord's leading in all you do. Give His will priority over your will. ("Let not arrogance come out of your mouth: for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by Him actions are weighed." 1 Sam. 2:3.) Any Christian who willfully refuses to honor God and His will for their life is arrogantly placing himself ahead of God. That's not a good place to be!

How can we avoid arrogance? Ask God for a spirit of humility. ("God resists the proud, but gives grace unto the humble." James 4:6.) "Meekness" is, after all, a fruit of the Spirit. (Gal. 5:23.) Arrogance is the opposite of humility, which is the proper attitude one should have in relation to God.

And, as usual, God's direction has a very practical component, too. Someone with an arrogant, prideful nature won't be regarded well by anyone else. Such a person certainly won't be in a position to inspire, let alone be a Christian witness to others. And such an attitude can actually be detrimental to the cause of Christ – something else you certainly don't want to be!

Remember that "if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself." (Gal. 6:3.) Don't be deceived.

- Paul

Note: The original version of the above appeared in this newsletter January 29, 2002. Updated.
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