All sin is dangerous. We should never be complacent about any sin or the risk it poses. But surely the sin of pride should be top of our danger list as preachers. Pride, a sense of independence, not needing God or others, is a strangely familiar companion to pulpit ministry. Perhaps it is something about the stepping out from the crowd in order to speak to the crowd. Perhaps it is a fruit of the respect many show toward those with up-front ministry. Perhaps it is the result of the higher level learning that is expected of those who speak. Perhaps the enemy turns up the pressure looking for a high profile casualty. There are many perhaps-es, but one certainty – pride is a serious danger for every preacher.
Watch out for the warning signs. A lack of prayer in preparation or following ministry. An attitude of complacency and a sense of being capable in your own strength. A yearning to get the microphone, then a resistance to giving it up. A yielding to the temptation to say what you know will receive praise from the hand-shakers after the meeting. An excessive appreciation of positive comments from listeners, and maybe an over-reaction to any who would dare to question or critique. A resistance to sharing the pulpit with appropriate others.
Pride is always lurking nearby. At the slightest hint of its presence, let us be diligent to humble ourselves at the foot of the cross again. In our brokenness, perhaps God will lift us up and use us as preachers again, but let’s lose the notion that this is guaranteed. He doesn’t need us. Yet He chooses to use us – a fact that borders on a miracle if we really look in the mirror!