Puffed Up Attitude 1 Cor. 4:6 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
In spiritual matters it is easy to get a puffed up attitude. The Corinthians were certainly guilty of that. So, today we are going to study the verses that deal with a puffed up attitude and find out the ways in which it manifests itself. Then we will see a verse that shows us how to get rid of it. You manifest your puffed up attitude by:
Glorying in men – 1 Cor 4:6-7 – that is you judge one man better than another. Paul said, “… let no man glory in men,” [1 Cor 3:21]. Or you can get puffed up by judging yourself better than someone else. But Paul said, “That no flesh should glory in his presence,” [1 Cor 1:29]. Men are nothing in the Lord’s work and yet, the natural tendency of people is to get excited about their favorite preacher or their favorite teacher. It’s great to love him but, often, they end up magnifying him above all others and, practically speaking, even above the Lord. That’s a puffed up attitude. We need to glorify God no matter whom he uses to edify us.
Talking bad about the preacher – 1 Cor 4:18-19 – Paul had determined to go to Corinth. But up to this time he had been hindered from going. There were some among the brethren who had gotten puffed up and started saying that Paul wouldn’t come to them. This wasn’t true but they undoubtedly stirred up some of the other brethren. So, Paul sent Timothy to them to remind them of his ways and his doctrine to keep these puffed up brethren from undermining his work among the Corinthians. You’d better watch out for proud brethren who aren’t afraid to run down their preacher. They are bad business. If the preacher is out of line, God will deal with him. Or if he is not God’s man, you just need to quietly ease out of there without making a fuss.
Enabling sin in the church – 1 Cor 5:2 – in Corinth there was a young man who was fornicating with his father’s wife. Rather than mourn over this sin and remove the young man from among them, they let the thing go on. When a congregation knowingly lets sin go on in the church without confronting it or disciplining the culprit(s), they are puffed up. They become proud of their liberty and their tolerance for sin, not realizing that the whole church will be adversely affected by letting sin go unchecked [1 Cor 5:6]. Preachers need to preach hard against sin and churches need to discipline disobedient brethren who knowingly commit sins that leaven the church [1 Cor 5:7].
Sinning against a brother through your liberty – 1 Cor 8:1 – Paul had to address a situation in Corinth wherein knowledgeable Christians were wounding the weak consciences of newer Christians by knowingly eating things that had been offered to idols. The newer Christians knew that idolatry was a sin and so, to them, having anything to do with idols was sin. The “older” Christians knew that idols were nothing but man-made images. So, eating something sacrificed to an idol wouldn’t hurt them in the least. Yet, it would hurt the newer brethren by emboldening them to do something that they believed was a sin. Paul told those puffed up by their knowledge to limit their liberty, not by their knowledge, but by the weaker brother’s conscience.
Imposing doctrines of men on others – Col 2:18-22 – Paul identified among the Colossians those who had introduced commandments and doctrines of men into the church. He said that a man who would impose doctrines of men on others is “vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.” He is like the Pharisees in Mk 7. When you see the need to impose rules and regulations on the church in order to control the brethren and make them appear more spiritual, you are puffed up. And you are likewise puffed up if you think by subjecting yourself to those ordinances you are spiritual. This attitude is rudimentary among many Muslims, Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons, among others. This attitude is no good among God’s people.
You change your puffed up attitude by:
Having charity – 1 Cor 13:4 – true charity is not puffed up. When you get saved, the thing to do is to grow and abound in your love for the Lord Jesus Christ. Then as your love for God grows, be filled with the Spirit of God. That way the love of God in you can be shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Spirit in you [Rom 5:5]. With that kind of godly love for God and the brethren, you won’t glory in men, run down the preacher, become lax toward sin among the brethren, wound the weak conscience of a brother or force your own ungodly commandments and doctrines on men. Charity is the solution to the problem with a puffed up attitude.