Laughter is a divine gift to the human who is humble. A proud man cannot laugh because he must watch his dignity. He cannot give himself over to the rocking and rolling of his belly. But a poor and happy man laughs heartily because he gives no serious attention to his ego. ~ CS Lewis
Do the leaders of your church laugh easily? If you are a church leader, do you regularly, publicly, give yourself over to the rocking and rolling of your belly? If not, it could be that you are unqualified to serve as elder of a local church.
Titus 1:7 says that an elder “…must not be arrogant…”
Little wrecks a church, or a life, like prideful arrogance.
Do you enjoy being around people who ooze arrogance? How deeply will you open your heart to someone who always has all the answers? How willing are you to share your struggles with someone who regularly criticizes people?
Is this part of the reason so many churches are judgmental and superficial?
Pride isn’t just a vice. It corrodes your soul. We were designed in the image of a God who describes Himself as being “gentle and humble in heart.” Pride eats away at our dignity like rotting wood in a window sill. Eventually, the whole thing will fall apart.
But that’s not even the worst part! The Bible pulls no punches on this one. God is absolutely, unapologetically clear when he says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” ~ 1 Peter 5:5
If you want to see how deformed a fully prideful human being is, if you want to know the extent to which God opposes the proud — look at the cross of Christ. Jesus emptied Himself of His humble, gentle, righteousness, so that He could be filled with our arrogant, violent pride. He did this, so that He could take all of our pride with Him to the cross — so that God could fully, finally destroy our arrogance by crucifying it with Christ. God opposed Christ so that He could give grace to us.
You cannot start or continue to follow Christ, to be a Christian, in pride. You have to get on your knees, humble yourself, and admit that you don’t just need some information, you need transformation. You don’t just need to be warned of the dangers of pride and be exposed to the benefits of humility — you need to be rescued. That is a massive offense to the prideful — and an infinite, eternal gift to the humble.
God hates pride, because He loves humility.
God requires the leaders of His church to be joyfully humbled by the gospel, so that the entire church, together, can mutually enjoy God as we serve each other.
The Spirit of God in you will keep your heart amazed by and satisfied in the love of God displayed through the gospel of Christ. Through receiving and applying the gospel, God restores the core of your being to increasingly display His image.
Through the gospel — you are free to laugh.
You don’t have to maintain a false appearance of dignity — you have been clothed with the righteousness of Christ.
Through the gospel — you are free to rest.
Jesus died on the cross, fulfilling the Scriptures. He was raised from the dead, fulling God’s historic, cosmic plan for redemption. That means the weight of the world is not on you anymore. You can be still and know that Jesus is God.
Through the gospel — you are free to work hard, to give it your all, to aspire to greatness.
Regardless of how talented you are or how much you’ve messed up. One day, you will hear God Himself say — ”well done, good and faithful servant.”
Through the gospel — you can forgive.
Because God has forgiven you. Not because you deserved it. But because He loves you, and now His Spirit in you can empower you to treat others as He has treated you
Through the gospel — you can drop your guard, you can take off your mask.
You can be you. There is nothing in you that could ever be exposed that has not been covered by the blood of Christ.
Through the gospel — the Spirit of God restores the people of God to bear the image of Christ.
This does not and cannot come about by our hard work, but rather, by joyfully, humbly submitting to the hard work God has already done.