What “Do Not Think Too Highly of Yourself” does NOT Mean

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:3-8)

Satan and his reps are very adept at twisting God’s Word. This Scripture has been a favorite target for such abuse. Victims of evil have been taught, told, commanded, instructed… that God wants them to continue being abused. This twisted evil insanity goes something like this:

  • You are selfish and you are conceited
  • You need to humble yourself
  • You need to focus on others, including your abuser, and consider them more important than yourself
  • You need to be like Jesus and even die if necessary

Reporting abuse, desiring to be free of abuse, and exposing the wicked is not selfish! It is not arrogance! Confronting evil is NOT self-serving. If it were, then Jesus, the apostles, and the prophets would be guilty of selfish arrogance. They all confronted evil. The Christian, Paul is saying here, is to love his brothers and sisters in Christ. We are to consider their needs more than selfishly and pridefully demanding first place for ourselves. In other words, when it comes to abuse cases, this Scripture is calling upon Christ’s people to stop being cowards, to quit focusing on the consequences for themselves if they stand with the victim against the abuser, and to consider the protection and deliverance of the victim as first priority. All of this, of course, assumes that it is a godly and right goal to bring justice to bear upon the wicked and deliverance for the oppressed.

Abuse victims are not guilty of selfish arrogance when they call out for deliverance. If they are, then the fact is that the following Scripture is an example of that selfish arrogance:

Be not silent, O God of my praise! For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me, speaking against me with lying tongues. They encircle me with words of hate, and attack me without cause. In return for my love they accuse me, but I give myself to prayer. So they reward me evil for good, and hatred for my love. Appoint a wicked man against him; let an accuser stand at his right hand. When he is tried, let him come forth guilty; let his prayer be counted as sin! May his days be few; may another take his office! (Psalm 109:1-8)

So look out for this trap. Don’t let anyone twist Philippians 2 and convince you that seeking deliverance from and justice against your oppressor is to be guilty of selfish arrogance. It is quite the opposite.

Boys’ Clubs in the Church

Numbers 27:1-7 Then drew near the daughters of Zelophehad the son of Hepher, son of Gilead, son of Machir, son of Manasseh, from the clans of Manasseh the son of Joseph. The names of his daughters were: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.  And they stood before Moses and before Eleazar the priest and before the chiefs and all the congregation, at the entrance of the tent of meeting, saying, “Our father died in the wilderness. He was not among the company of those who gathered themselves together against the LORD in the company of Korah, but died for his own sin. And he had no sons. Why should the name of our father be taken away from his clan because he had no son? Give to us a possession among our father’s brothers.” Moses brought their case before the LORD. And the LORD said to Moses, “The daughters of Zelophehad are right. You shall give them possession of an inheritance among their father’s brothers and transfer the inheritance of their father to them.

Men are men and women are women. The Lord created us male and female. This fallen world in rebellion against the Lord actively perverts sexuality, and that to mankind’s ruin. Sexual immorality of all kinds is to be rejected by every Christian. Clearly that is God’s will for us – our sanctification.

Yet there is another form of distortion when it comes to male and female, and we find this example not only in the world but in our churches. I call it the boys’ club. Most of us experienced it when we were kids. No girls allowed signs posted on the treehouse or bedroom door. To be fair, I think I have seen some no boys allowed signs too! There is an early rivalry between the sexes which gets even more complex when puberty hits.

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Trusting Experience Over Scripture – a Common and Deadly Error

Galatians 1:6-8 ESV  I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—  (7)  not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.  (8)  But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.

Many people who claim to be Christians also claim to believe the Bible to be God’s Word and our authority for what we believe and do. And yet in my conversations with them, I find that few really do consult Scripture as their primary source of truth. Instead, they turn to the “bible” of their own experience.

Let me explain.

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