Blog Space of Rev. Adrian J. Pratt B.D, pastor at Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church, Ellicott City, MD

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Misplaced Pride

In Luke 4:14-21 we read about Jesus preaching in His hometown. Here at Mount Hebron Presbyterian we began looking at Jesus's statement of purpose last week, in a message titled “What's It All About?” Following the sermon that He gives, the people are not impressed. Particularly when He had concluded it by saying “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Who did He think He was? What was He talking about? After all wasn't He just Joseph’s son? They knew His brothers and sisters. They knew Mary, His mother.

Some commentators describe it as a situation of “Misplaced Pride.” There is a right sort of pride to have in ones self or ones community. Sadly that same pride can become influenced by familiarity and block any expectation for the possibility of change.

Misplaced pride is the sort of pride that sees only the positives and ignores the negatives. It is “rose-tinted glasses” pride. The kind of pride that looks back at the past, declaring “Wasn't it wonderful?” but refuses to entertain the thought that the best may yet be to come. We must caution ourselves against being so proud that we fail to recognize the potential in the familiar.

Jesus sought to work wonders. The home-town crowd just couldn’t accept that wonderful things were meant to happen in their ordinary day to day to experience of people and places. They couldn't accept that this person, whom they knew so well, could offer them anything new or do a single thing to change the way things were. They couldn't accept, that through the people around them, miracles could happen. And the result? Nothing happened!

Misplaced pride can be a tremendous barrier to spiritual growth. It refuses to acknowledge that there can be room for improvement or any need of change. Most disastrously of all it blocks out grace from having free reign in people's lives.

Ultimately it places limits on the love of God. Misplaced pride suggests that the love of God has limitations. That love cannot work through the people and the systems and the actions of people that we are familiar with. Misplaced pride is always subtle and not always easy to detect.

Do not join the people of Jesus in their unbelief. Do not allow misplaced pride to prevent your spiritual growth. Believe. Believe that the Kingdom of God is still happening. Believe that God's Holy Spirit can impact your daily life. Believe that God has supernatural plans for your ordinary life. Believe that God has plans for your local church or faith community. Don't limit what God can do because of your lack of expectation. Don't say “That can't happen here.”

For some music, the worship song “Purify My Heart.”
“Lord I believe. Help thou my unbelief! Help not to exclude my daily, familiar and routine life from the sphere of Your blessings. Amen.”

The Reverend Adrian J. Pratt B.D.

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