Spiritual snobs are everywhere. Have you seen any lately? Do you know what a spiritual snob looks like? At times, you may see one looking at you in the mirror!
We are all spiritual snobs by nature; it’s woven deep into our sinful DNA. We like to judge others on everything from lifestyle to looks . . . money to ministry . . . personality to profession. We spend far too much time searching for and speaking about the speck in the eye of another without ever acknowledging and addressing the plank in our own eye. It’s so easy to disregard our own “respectable” sins and shortcomings when we compare them to the “repulsive” sins of others. We find it easy to look down on other Christians who don’t appear to be doing as well as we are or demonstrate the kind of commitment we do.
- We look down on other Christians who are inconsistent in their church attendance.
- We look down on other Christians whom we watch out of the corner of our eye and see that they let the offering plate pass by without adding to it.
- We look down on other Christians who ask for personal prayer for things we aren’t currently struggling with.
- We look down on other Christians who don’t seem to have control over their children during the church service.
- We look down on other Christians who spend more time talking about the good life instead of the godly life.
- We look down on other Christians who watch movies we won’t watch and listen to music we don’t listen to.
- We look down on other Christians who rarely, if ever, find the time to show up for service projects.
- We look down on other Christians who don’t carry their Bible to every activity like we do . . . even though we have no intention of reading from it.
- We look down on other Christians who don’t believe everything we believe and belong to different denominations than we do.
The list, of course, is endless, and as we busily engage in looking down our hearts harden, our faith falters, and our love lessens. Unfortunately, spiritual snobbery is something that affects us all—some of us more than others, but we are all affected.
C.S. Lewis rightly observed, “A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you’re looking down, you can’t see something that’s above you.” Funny thing about looking down on other Christians . . . it leaves us very little time to look up to Jesus! And therein lies the key unlocking the prison door of spiritual snobbery: looking up to Jesus.
The author of Hebrews makes it clear in which direction our eyes should be focused. We should always be “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith” (12:2). The apostle Paul provides a wonderful admonishment for everyone who finds it easy to look down rather than up. “By the grace given to me,” he wrote, “I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one” (Romans 12:3).
You may remember that two men went up to the Temple to pray in Luke 18; we need to be more like the tax collector who looked up to God and asked for mercy than the Pharisee who thanked God that he was not like other men.
“By the grace of God I am what I am” Paul wrote to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 15:10). We all must remember that if there is anything we are doing well, it is only because God has given us the grace to do it. It is not because we are bigger, better, brighter, or more spiritual than others.
This is why we need to keep on preaching the Gospel to ourselves every day. We will overcome our default mode of spiritual snobbery only by keeping the Gospel before us. Preaching the Gospel to ourselves will keep us grounded in the glorious truth about God (infinitely holy) and the dreary truth about ourselves (incredibly sinful). The more we understand these truths, the more we will look to our Savior for all that we need to give our lives meaning and significance, rather than looking to compare ourselves to our neighbor.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!