Oba 1:3-4 The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rock, in your lofty dwelling, who say in your heart, “Who will bring me down to the ground?” (4) Though you soar aloft like the eagle, though your nest is set among the stars, from there I will bring you down, declares the LORD.
Most of you are probably familiar with the name Jonathan Edwards. He was a godly and genuine pastor in New England way back in the 1700’s and is known for his ministry during the great revivals and awakenings which the Lord effected in his day. In his essay, “Thoughts on the Revival” Edwards wrote about some of the sins and errors which tend toward quenching the Holy Spirit’s work in such times.
One chief of those sins is – spiritual pride. I am not certain why he specified spiritual pride but suspect that he is emphasizing that it is a pride which particularly emanates from the heart and which is especially operative within the boundaries of the visible church.
As you read these excerpts from Edwards’ essay, you will quickly understand why I am quoting them here. It is because they are a very excellent and accurate description of the RASN in action. NOTE: I have grouped revilers, abusers, sociopaths, and narcissists together in this acronym because it seems to me that they all share in certain fundamental qualities. Namely, lust for power and control, a mentality of entitlement and superiority, lack of empathy, and the use of very similar evil tactics to achieve their evil ends.
So then, here we go. Listen to Edwards:
Spiritual pride often disposes persons to singularity (ie, uniqueness, unusual, distinctive) in external appearance, to employ a noticeably singular way of speaking, or to be singular in voice, countenance, or behavior. Often his goal is to become all things to all men. At other times he may evidence a certain stiffness or inflexibility in opinion and ways.
Comment: You have seen this. For example, the RASN who selects the church for his/her theater of operation will often “put on” an outward manner of dress, vocabulary, tone of voice, which is intended to elevate the
RASN above everyone else.
Spiritual pride disposes persons (RASNs for our purposes) to enact separation, to stand at a distance from others, as being better than others; and loves the show and appearance of distinction.
Comment: That is to say, the RASN loves no one but himself, having no use for others except as a supply of praise and worship for themselves.
Spiritual pride takes great notice of opposition and injuries that are received, and is apt to be often speaking of them, and to be much in taking notice of their aggravations, either with an air of bitterness or contempt.
I believe this last point describes the really evil aspect of the RASN and the quality that in ways causes the most hurt and harm. The RASN takes great notice of opposition and injuries. Especially even perceived opposition and injuries. When the RASN concludes that anyone is opposing them or criticizing them or pointing out their sin, the fangs come out. No explanation is permitted. Revenge is the only menu item at that point. The RASN has a kind of radar rotating and monitoring at all times, quick to discern any possible exposure of their true self. The missiles of vengeance are always ready to fire.
As the Scripture quoted above says, the RASN lives in a lofty dwelling, deceived by the pride of their own heart, concluding that no one can ever take them down. The Lord says otherwise – “from there I will bring you down,” says the Lord.