If I asked you “what is the biggest and most frequent Sin in churches around the world today?” what would be your answer?
Some might say “greed” or “adultery” (husband/wife) or even “spiritual adultery” (God/other things).
I think the problems in churches are caused by many things including what I have listed. However the root “sin” that produces all these things is “spiritual pride”
Here is an example … “I tithe my gross income!” (look what a good boy I am.)
“I don’t tithe … I give cheerfully” (sola scriptura, look what a good boy I am!)
Both positions have led to pride and self-righteousness. There is no humility at all. Passion for Jesus really comes from a realisation of what he has done and how we have been given a second chance. The trouble is, the longer we are believers the more this passion fades away. Bible knowledge can restore the passion, but it can also lead to pride and self-righteousness.
Whether or not spiritual pride is the biggest sin, it’s definitely a problem. As Bull pointed out, there is no group that is immune to it. All of us will suffer from it or be tempted to succumb to it in some way or other, at some time. Spiritual pride probably causes more division in the body of Christ at large than anything else, and prevents us from hearing one another, when we want to be right more than we want truth. It causes some to side with the powerful, to be right by association, while others are rejected because they don’t fit. There is pride in right theology, pride in the most amazing experiences, pride in the music, pride in the good looking crowd, pride in the building. Yet none of these things on their own are necessarily bad until the pride seeps in. Even ODM’s (thanks for the acronym, Teddy!) can fall victims to pride. It undoes us all.
How do we abide in Christ when we are proud? Does this kind of thing kill people’s genuine passion? If all the externals were taken away, and there was no-one to compare anything with, and just Christ left, would the passion remain?
Dwelling on the person of Christ seems to be the answer to me. Not necessarily perfect worship, theology or anything else, or even doing anything of note. Though all those things have value. Just experiencing the Person He is, revealed through scripture. The stark contrast between Jesus and the rest of the world. When we look at things like pride and its effects, and then look back at Him. Light in the darkness. He is wonderful, and that brings me both joy and passion.