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Paul warned us not to compare ourselves with one another because comparison involves pride. Then, in speaking to his spiritual son, Timothy, Paul says:
“Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty (high-minded), nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God who gives us all things richly to enjoy.”
(1 Timothy 6:17)
Paul cautioned Timothy about becoming high-minded and trusting in riches. Instead, he exhorted him to think soberly about himself, trusting in God alone. When anyone begins to think that a position of prominence is owed to them because they have worked harder or longer, they are exalting themselves above others—which is what this Scripture warns against.

For example, my wife and I attended a ministers’ conference where a very well-known minister walked up to the front of the church, looking for a chair reserved with his name on it. When he didn’t find it, he asked to speak with the head usher. After they had finished talking, the minister turned and left the meeting—apparently there wasn’t a seat reserved for him. Regardless of how many television stations you are on, the church doesn’t need strife, contention, and pride sitting on the front row.

The word pride simply means high-mindedness. In other words, a high-minded person has a higher opinion of themselves than they ought to. Even if someone is greatly talented, is an outstanding vocalist, excellent on the keyboard, or an exceptional administrator, it doesn’t mean that they have arrived at a place where they no longer need to hear the Word of God. Just because someone does a good job doesn’t mean that they are better than someone else. Considering yourself better than someone else, for any reason, is high-mindedness.

Pride, envy, and offense are the kiss of death for any church that will allow it inside their congregation. Long-standing church members who think that they should have greater privileges are demonstrating pride. Just because you have been in a church from the beginning doesn’t mean that you can run the church. These people exalt themselves into a dangerous place, and they can literally stifle the growth of the church by excluding people.

What many people don’t understand is that there are good reasons for reserving seats. For instance, a seat might be reserved for the person who displays the overhead projector during a worship service. Other seats might be reserved for a person the pastor may need during the meeting, like a worship leader. Ushers usually have a reserved seat on the aisle so they can get up without disturbing those around them.

However, something is drastically wrong with the motives of a person whose goal is to be an usher in order to get a better seat. The person who thinks that way is operating in envy, strife, and contention. They come to destroy the work of God. That’s why many churches reach a membership of around 250, level off, and then never grow anymore. God cannot work in a church where people have bad motives.

If you really want to do all you can for God and you feel that God is calling you to move to a higher level of living, then petty issues must be pushed aside to allow the people who are coming in at the eleventh hour to do what God has called them to do.

Remember, God’s kingdom is not based on seniority.

Taken from “Breaking the Cycle of Offense” by Larry Ollison
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Larry Ollison
Web site: Walk On the Water Faith Church
Dr. Larry Ollison is founder and Senior Pastor of Walk on the Water Faith Church and founder of Larry Ollison Ministries. With over forty years in the ministry, he is a very popular speaker nationally and internationally and ministers the Word of Faith through radio, television, Internet, and daily e-mail devotionals. As the author of eight books (including The Power of Grace, The Practical Handbook for Christian Living, Breaking the Cycle of Offense, Life is in the Blood, and recently released The Paradise of God), he is in frequent demand for radio/TV interviews, book signings, and magazine publications.

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