Self-Righteousness - a Curse Within Christianity!
Roiling the Mud
What In the World Is a Puddle Walker?
Far too many "puddle-walkers" imagine they, through their own righteousness, are able to walk on water and thereby what comes out of their mouths is the final definitive truth by which all others must live. This not limited to non-believers but sadly includes any and all others who claim the name of Christ but others do not meet their perfect standards.
Puddles have three things in common: 1) they are shallow; 2) oftentimes they conceal hidden debris and pitfalls; and 3) not only do those who walk in puddles come out more soiled than before but their splashing and footprints impact those around them.
He Could Not Esteem Others Before Himself
The Curse of Narcissus
Narcissism is the epitome of shallowness: a handsome young man sees himself in the reflection from a "shallow" pool and immediately falls in love with himself. This is contrary to Philippians 2:2-4 which commands believers to have the same love, being of one accord, of one mind, esteeming others better than themselves and looking to the needs of the other and not just to his own.
It is easy to understand how a new believer would react to a freshly learned tenet of Scripture. They are filled with excitement and wanting others to know what they have learned, but when confronted with another believer's understanding of the same passages which in some ways conflicts with their new knowledge, they can become very defensive. It is the nature of the flesh and all who follow Jesus have found this to be true. It is here the problem can rear its ugly head in the form of unloving legalism.
Legalistic notions can be healthy for the new Christian. A young child is warned not to play with fire because there will be consequences; either to themselves and/or others. Likewise, a new believer needs to learn new habits that will promote their growth in Christ: in the beginning it appears as a lot of do's and don'ts that eventually become a lifestyle based on the love of the Savior.
There are some factors that are commonly found among those who have supposedly known our Lord as Savior for an extended period of time and yet the love the brethren is not found for any who should believe differently, no matter how minor the point may be.
- They are not a very recent convert and having come from a horrible life situation; an uncontrolled zealot has been released upon the world. (This is OK, even great in the beginning but it must become tempered by a love of the brethren and for the lost.)
- Bad or poor pastoring and teaching at the best which promotes a follower of man rather than the Word.
- The puddle-walker is the unsaved one in the equation of the conflict.
Zeal With Knowledge Is Power
We Must Heed the Danger Warnings
Thomas Henry Huxley, known as 'Darwin's Bulldog', an avowed enemy of the Cross understood that zeal without knowledge is just darkness. Unfortunately, he was speaking of knowledge to support Darwin's theories, but the principle is the same in the world of Christianity. The result that Huxley never lived to see, was that only darkness follows the belief in evolution and that whatever knowledge that supposedly supports evolution is made up of conjectures, misinformation, lies and a hatred for the Creator. What darkness's you may ask: racism, abortion, euthanasia, hatred of religious values (especially Christian) and hopelessness for the masses.
Smokers and drinkers whose old longtime friends who have given up the habits will now limit their social activity with said same, because being around a new healthier life style zealot is both painful and very uncomfortable. I think everyone of us knows someone whose every conversation will eventually turn to their zealousness for their latest hottest health supplement, exercise regimen, beauty product, kitchen doodad and the list goes on. Ever been invited to a party which turns out to be a sales pitch for a new marketing scheme?
In the world of Christianity, it is no different. Someone who has been saved from a lifestyle of drugs, crime and even worse has a desire driving them to help others see the Light. This is great but without growing in the knowledge of our Lord they will come to find that uncontrolled zealousness will drive others away. As a true believer, they will step back and learn to let the Holy Spirit do His work and to become His instrument of righteousness. No less zealousness but with a knowledge that it will be God receiving the glory and they will be blessed beyond measure.
Danger Will Robinson, Danger
Hebrews 5:11-14 - "..seeing ye are of dull hearing...ye ought to be teachers...having become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For everyone that useth milk is unskillful in the Word.. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age ...have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."
2 Peter 1:5-8 admonishes us to add to our saving faith, virtue (a changed lifestyle) then to virtue knowledge and until it concludes with brotherly kindness and charity. This is the standard and the goal set for every true believer; no exceptions.
The Lost Really Are Blind to Deceit
Exposed in the Light of the Truth!
No wolf can stand the test against the Word of God and as long as we continue to grow in our knowledge of His Word, they will not overtake us. Though exposed, they will never go away for there will always be a multitude of people seeking to have their ears tickled. The real danger for the new believer is the lack of knowledge to be discerning, but have no fear, if they are a true child of the King, He will lead them to green pastures.
Back in the mid-80's I was a counselor for the last Southern California Billy Graham Crusade held at Anaheim Stadium. Every night for ten nights when we would drive out of the parking lot, there were literally 1,000s of people standing on the side of the exit streets holding placards, signs, banners and whatnot trying to get the attention of exiting crusade goers. Some were handing out flyers inviting them to attend their churches but the majority appeared to be more cultic and anti-Christian in affiliation. There was a war for the souls of men in mass on the streets of Anaheim every evening. I imagine that most went away with someone in tow by the end of the crusade and new zealots were added to the ranks of the cults.
The major work of these false pastor and teachers is to create mini-subservient replicates of themselves. The more the merrier and as the old adage goes, follow the money. These men and women need followers for two reasons: 1) to satisfy their greed for power over somebody and 2) it is a good living with many perks, including stature within the community.
Sadly, to the believer, these people are all too obvious but the lack of meat in their own assemblies has made many grow weak and powerless for the Gospel. The pastors in America have become denominational first and teachers of the Word last. They have grown fat off the land and as long as they keep their constituents coming and entertained, they feel they are accomplishing the full mission of the Church. The fallout hits the new converts the hardest for you can see it on the social media that the young are more concerned with living the good life and are at times more upset about the politics of the age. Many who have a zeal are venting it in the wrong direction: mainly at fellow believers and their differing doctrines rather than building up the body of Christ for the persecution that is now upon us with earnest. The message of the pastors will change greatly in the near future for the unbelieving will flee the true Church for God for He is already at work shaking our foundations. As it says in Hebrews 12:27 "..removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain." We have made our churches a lukewarm stench but that is about to change on a large scale.
You Are A New Creation In Christ
Whom The Lord Loves, He Chastens
Just as you would never allow your young child to intentionally grow up to be rebellious, a hater of people, violent to their own family, a liar or anything else anti-social; God being a perfect Father to His own will see to it that they become what He wills them to be. When we see, read or hear of a preacher of an obviously false doctrine who has become wealthy and lives a reprobate life style without any drastic correction; the probability of him being a heretic reserved for hell is very great. I have never met a Christian that has not been tried and tested in one form or another. Our Lord knows what will work in each individual's life. I have always considered myself to be the proverbial mule who needs a 2x4 across the bridge of the nose to get my attention. A few years back one of my children asked me if I would like to be twenty again. I did not have to think very long and the answer was a resounding no. Why would I want to relive the trials, tragedies and tribulations of this past 40 years or so?
I can understand the babe in Christ being hard-headed and overly dogmatic for that fully describes myself and my God's prescription for healing my not-so-loving spirit was not without pain. He gave me evidence immediately that something fantastic happened within my soul but it has taken years of hard work on my part and lots of loving chastening on His part.