A friend of mine once said, “I’m an egomaniac with an inferiority complex.” At first, I was confused, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I could say the same thing. Therefore, it will not surprise you that the father of lies can trip me up by getting me to believe two contradictory lies at the exact same time. I bet he can do the same for you. As we noticed last week, Satan wants you to believe that every other Christian is more spiritual than you causing you to give up. At the same time, he will also try to get you to believe that you are more spiritual than every other Christian. Here’s how.
Lie #2: I’m More Spiritual than Every Other Christian
Perhaps you know the feeling. It is that little bit of you that thinks you’re better because you had perfect attendance to the classes and assemblies of the church this year. You accomplished that even while on vacation only to discover the local church was having a Gospel meeting so you attended all of their services as well. Not to mention you are the only one who is truly concerned about issues of modesty so you have made a personal rule not to watch certain television shows and if others were as concerned as you are, they wouldn’t watch them either. On top of that you have established an daily regimen of prayer and Bible study that would prepare you for the Olympics if that were a sport there.
Granted, yesterday, you felt like everyone else you knew was more spiritual than you are. But you seem to be the only one really concerned about all this spirituality. Everyone else just seems to be interested in making more money, being famous, enjoying recreation. That sermon was good for you, no doubt, but the person who really needed it was brother so-and-so. And, wouldn’t you know it, that was the week he went to the lake for vacation. “I wonder if he attended church somewhere while he was gone like I do.”
Perhaps you just don’t understand all those women who can’t seem to keep their houses clean and be hospitable like you. Or perhaps you just don’t understand all those men who have all that trouble with lust, it doesn’t bother you that much. Perhaps you just don’t understand all those Christians who get into debt and eat too much.
You find yourself saying, “I know I shouldn’t have gossiped about sister bless-her-heart the other day. But at least I haven’t been seen flirting with the preacher like she was. Oops, guess I did it again.” Or maybe something like, “I know I shouldn’t have yelled at my wife last night. But at least I haven’t cheated on her like brother such-and-such.” Or maybe, “I can’t imagine how anyone who calls themselves a Christian could ever do ________________________.”
And on and on it can go. You see, Satan wants you to believe this so you will quit striving. If he can get you to compare yourself to others and think you are better, you become self-reliant. You will be like the Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14. If he can get you to trust in yourself that you are righteous, he can get you to treat others with contempt and also get you to neglect the righteousness of God, refusing to submit to it (Romans 10:1-3).
Truth #1: A physician heals the sick, not the well. Jesus came into the world to save sinners, not set up a club for the good enough (Mark 2:17). If you aren’t careful you are going to “good enough” your way right out of Jesus Christ.
Truth #2: God is your standard of holiness, not everyone else (I Peter 1:16). How are you measuring up to that?
Truth #3: When Paul said, “All have sinned…” he wasn’t making an exception for you (Romans 3:23). Check out Romans 3:10-18 sometime. He wasn’t saying you are a sinner if you are this bad. He was saying you are this bad if you have sinned.
Truth #4: Their sins may not be yours. But rest assured you’ve got some sins that aren’t theirs (cf. Luke 15:25-32).
Truth #5: This isn’t a competition. God has never said that whoever grows fastest gets the biggest reward. He’s never said you have to be better than your neighbor to be saved. Christianity is about you growing (II Peter 1:5-8).
Truth #6: In those areas where you have grown, you must never forget where you came from (Titus 3:2).
Truth #7: Any growing you have done shouldn’t be chalked up to your goodness but to God’s (Titus 3:3-7).
Truth #8: If you aren’t careful, while standing up there on your mound of personal righteousness, your legs will be swept right out from under you (I Corinthians 10:12).
Our adversary is cunning, baffling, and powerful. It may certainly be counterintuitive to think that he can get you to believe that everyone else is more spiritual than you and at the same time get you to believe you are more spiritual than everyone else. But he can. But even if he isn’t hitting you with both, he’ll hit you with one or the other. Don’t believe him.
How do you overcome Satan’s lies? For my e-mail subscribers, click the following link to add your input: Post a comment.
Thanks Edwin. I can think of so many people who need these lessons….oh, wait….
Seriously, though, I think this is one of my favorite series you’ve done. I find myself drifting back and forth between Lie #1 and Lie #2 all too often. It’s tough to balance them and realize that I’m a plain, normal saved sinner that God can be pleased with, but who still needs a ton of work. Thanks for your work.
Thanks, Joel. I appreciate the encouragement.
I like your description. “A plain, normal saved sinner that God can be pleased with, but who still needs a ton of work.” I’m right there with you.