This article is further musings from my article last time, entitled The Ministerial Lie, In the last article, I considered the great travesty of ministerial lies. These are lies preachers tell when trying to make points in their sermons, whether they are made up false illustrations or embellishments to make the preacher appear better, more studious and/or more intelligent than he is. The source of these tactics is prideful arrogance.
Last week, I read a great article on the Judgment Seat of Christ which included the following information about the change of attitude in believers when Christ appears, and we stand before Him. Here are some thoughts from this article that deals with humility in heaven. The arrogant pastor will be changed—that is assuming he makes it there! Enjoy the wisdom of the following excerpt from Sam Storm’s book, One Thing. The italics are in the original.
“Hardly anything will bring you more joy [in heaven] than to see other saints with greater rewards than you, experiencing greater glory than you, given greater authority than you! There will be no jealousy or pride to fuel your unhealthy competitiveness. There will be no greed to energize your race to get more than everyone else. You will then delight only in delighting in the delight of others. Their achievement will be your greatest joy. Their success will be your highest happiness. You will truly rejoice with those who rejoice. Envy comes from lack. But in heaven there is no lack. Whatever you need, you get. Whatever desires may arise, they are satisfied.
“The fact that some are more holy and more happy than others will not diminish the joy of the latter. There will be perfect humility and perfect resignation to God’s will in heaven, hence no resentment or bitterness. Also, those higher in holiness will, precisely because they are holy, be more humble. The essence of holiness is humility! The very vice that might incline them to look condescendingly on those lower than themselves is nowhere present. It is precisely because they are more holy that they are so very humble and thus incapable of arrogance and elitism.
“They will not strut or boast or use their higher degrees of glory to humiliate or harm those lower. Those who know more of God will, because of that knowledge, think more lowly and humbly of themselves. They will be more aware of the grace that accounts for their holiness than those who know and experience less of God, hence, they will be more ready to serve and to yield and to go low and to defer.
“Some people in heaven will be happier than others. But this is no reason for sadness or anger. In fact, it will serve only to make you happier to see that others are more happy than you! Your happiness will increase when you see that the happiness of others has exceeded your own. Why? Because love dominates in heaven and love is rejoicing in the increase of the happiness of others. To love someone is to desire their greatest joy. As their joy increases, so too does yours in them. If their joy did not increase, neither would yours. We struggle with this because now on earth our thoughts and desires and motives are corrupted by sinful self-seeking, competitiveness, envy, jealousy, and resentment” (180-81).
As pastor, I like to apply these words to pastors. I hope Sam Storms is right, otherwise some controlling, arrogant pastors will be miserable watching the saints in higher places than them. Pride goes before destruction. There is no destruction in heaven, but pride here will put you in a lower place up there.
Pastor V. Mark Smith