Impossible!#7. “I’m too good for this church!”

Impossible!#7. “I’m too good for this church!”

I once heard of a couple who left a congregation stating: “We have outgrown this church!” To this day I pray that someone heard them incorrectly.

The most tragic person is the soul who has convinced himself that he is actually good enough to be a Christian. You can’t miss him. He is the brother who is confident in his own standing before God, and always leaving you feeling as if you should doubt yours. Not content to think less of your efforts, he is not shy to voice his disappointment over them.

Oblivious to his shortcomings his prayer life reflects that of the Pharisee of Jesus story in Luke 18. Such men front up to God assuming that God shares their opinions on all things at all times. His prayers would be in lockstep with that of the Pharisee: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get’ (Lk.18:11-12).

The tax collector in Jesus’ story was made of different stuff. His is the model prayer for those confident in their own abilities. In contrast to the self-righteousness of the Pharisee, Jesus says of him: ‘But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ (Lk.18:13).

When the Spirit of Christ abides in a man, he is devoid of pride. He prays knowing God’s grace and mercy, and he fellowships sharing God’s grace and mercy. There is no room in his heart for: “I’m too good for this church!” Such a thought would be impossible!

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