I had a middle-class English childhood in the 1940s and 50s – was this a good thing? On the whole, yes. My life was founded on solid certainties in a secure and loving family. My parents were staunch Congregationalists and I grew up with the unquestioning knowledge that you had to go to church on Sundays. This too was a good thing. Thank God for believing parents and for a godly inheritance.
But there was also an unhelpful side to this ‘good’ upbringing. Nobody said it openly, but I grew up thinking that our family was not only good, but better than others. In our family we did not drink, smoke, swear, argue, fight, steal, gossip, or do anything immoral. We were not like ‘other people’; we went to church and we were good! This is spiritual pride, probably the worst kind of pride. God hates it. This unrecognised pride made it very difficult in later life to confess my sins and look to the cross for forgiveness and salvation – because I was already a ‘good Christian’, wasn’t I?
Are you tempted to believe the same about yourself, that you are a ‘good Christian’ and that you have nothing much left to confess? This could be the one thing that is holding you back in your Christian life – immense but unrecognised spiritual pride. Listen to what Paul says to the Philippians:
‘I do not claim that I have already succeeded or have already become perfect. I keep striving to win the prize for which Christ Jesus has already won me to himself’ (Philippians 3:12).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I throw myself on Your mercy. I know in my mind that I am a sinner, but deep inside something keeps telling me that I am already good enough. I am shocked and appalled by this spiritual pride. Please help me. Lead me to true and deep repentance. Please forgive me, cleanse me and heal me, I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.
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