November 03, 2023

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your name.’” Luke 10:17

I never cease to amaze myself. 

Not in a good way, mind you. I’m amazed by the depth of my pride. And not just any pride, but spiritual pride.  Spiritual pride is an arrogance about – my Biblical insight, how the Lord has used me in ministry, my talents related to my faith, etc. 

My depraved heart can even take pride in my ability to write these devotionals. 

(How twisted is that?)    

In his renowned book, Spiritual Leadership, Oswald Sanders writes, “Pride takes many forms, but spiritual pride is the most grievous. To become proud of spiritual gifts or a leadership position is to forget that all we have is from God, all the position we have is God’s appointment.”

I hate to admit it, but spiritual pride bubbles up from within me like oil leaking from a pipeline below the ocean’s surface. 

Apparently, I’m not alone. The disciples also struggled with this “most grievous” form of pride, rejoicing that “even the demons had submitted to them” (Luke 10:17).  

On a human level, their reaction makes perfect sense. In Luke 10:1, Jesus sent out the seventy-two disciples on a mission where they had some astonishing experiences. Now that they’ve returned, how could they possibly contain their excitement?

Here’s the problem:  

The human heart naturally drifts towards pride after a measure of success. Yes, even success in ministry

Jesus is well aware of this, of course.

Watch how He reacts: 

First, He affirms their victories over spiritual darkness. I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority…to overcome all the power of the enemy(Luke 10:18)

Then, in the very next breath, Jesus cautions them.Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven(Luke 10:20).  

He’s not trying to extinguish the disciples’ enthusiasm. He’s shifting their perspective. Jesus wants them to keep their pride in check thereby allowing their hearts to recalibrate around the most important reason for their celebration – namely, their salvation.  

And He wants to do the same for us. 

To those who wrestle with spiritual pride, Jesus’ words are a game-changer…or at least they should be.  

As Christ-followers, our greatest source of joy should always be what Jesus has done for us. And, although we do praise Him for what He does through us, maintaining a “what Jesus has done for usperspective helps deflate our egos and keeps us walking in humility. 

Bottom line:  We all have spiritual blind spots. We should never ever be dazzled by our own abilities, but rather by the identity we have as blood-bought, born-again children of God.  After all, it’s only by His grace that He saves us and accomplishes anything through us in the first place.   

So, if you’ve amazed yourself lately, take a step back. Allow the words of Jesus to sink deep into the crevices of your prideful heart and rejoice that He has saved a wretch like you (and me). 

Written by Jonathan Munson, Executive Director, RFTH


Read “Spiritual Blind Spots” also by Jonathan Munson