You never want your Christianity to be just a different form of self expression--something you take pride in, in yourself. As if, let's say before you were into running, or bike racing or business . . . and you excelled--but then you "got Jesus" . . . and now "Christianity" is your thing and you "excel" at that. You just trade idols--cash in one repository of pride for another, only now it's worse because you've glossed it over with religiosity.
A bad habit, and a crucial one to break in the process of sanctification, is the tendency while looking at all the lost ones, to think you are better than them. Better off indeed you are (once saved) but never forget it is only by God's grace that now you can See. It is nothing you did or warranted.
When you make a new habit of recalling how lost you yourself once were, and how only by God's mercy have you been rescued, then you can start leaving that self-righteous station with it's taint of spiritual haughtiness which the Spirit so abhors.
It is an easy new idolatry to slip into. . . . The idol of your newfound "faith in Christ." The fruits of the Spirit are "love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." So, are these rising and abounding in you? Or mostly just judgment, condemnation, criticism, arrogance, loftiness--self love cloaked in religious garb?
This is a doozy. A tough nut to crack, subtle, hidden and slippery. . . .
It is best faced head on, confessed, repented of and thereafter resisted, when realizing that you are looking down on others, forgetting that, not so long ago "there was I". . . .
"I pray, Lord, to see hypocrisy and pride defeated in me, so that I never forget Your grace and mercy and love, Who rescued me, based on no merit of my own, but only what You have Sovereignly decreed!"
Okay, if you haven't noticed it, we got the latest video up of Al vividly describing his last fire fighting battle.....there on Youtube (see link to the right). . . . .
Here are some pics from the battlegrounds....................