The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

High-minded vs. humble-minded #1 Dissecting high-mindedness

with 3 comments

[ Dissecting high-mindedness ~ Describing humble-mindedness ~ Destroying high-mindedness and developing humble-mindedness ]

It is utterly inappropriate to think in terms of a pecking order in Christ’s church, but all too common.  In Philippians 2, Paul presses upon believers a unity of mind that works itself out in lowliness of mind.

He contrasts two attitudes: one carnal, one Christian; one earthly, one heavenly; one of spiritual blight, one of spiritual beauty.

High-mindedness is the selfish pursuit of empty glory out of a desire to advance and exalt oneself.  High-mindedness esteems self better than others, provoking bitterness in oneself and frustration in others.

How does it often manifest itself in Christ’s church?

  1. A blatantly or subtly critical spirit, happy to advance over the grave of another’s reputation (2Cor 11.5 ff.; 2Sam 15).
  2. An unwillingness or inability to acknowledge one’s own ignorance, inability, faults, weaknesses, and sins – often makes excuses and rejects rebukes (1Sam 13.11-12; 1Kgs 22.8; Jn 8.9; Mt 7.3 cf. Paul in 2Cor 4.7).
  3. A desire for praise that issues in acting to be seen by others – performance for recognition and applause (Mt 6.1-2, 5, 16; 1Cor 11.19).
  4. An envious and bitter spirit of rivalry because of gifts and graces recognised in others (2Sam 19.13; 20.9-10; Lk 15.29-30; Mk 10.41).
  5. By a making known of one’s attainments, and a readiness to praise oneself if others fail to do so (Prv 27.2; 2Cor 3.1).
  6. By a proud and angry response to counsel, or being crossed or rebuked – sulking, sourness or wilful rejection (1Kgs 21.6; 22.24; Ahithophel; Jer 19.15 – 20.2).
  7. Fishing for compliments and rewards by means of self-promotion, flattery, or false self-denigration (Jude 16; Jn 12.43; Acts 12.20 ff., 2Sam 6.10-11; 15.3-6).
  8. The exercise of particular gifts and graces to the shame, detriment or exposure of others (1Cor 13.1; 14.12, 20).
  9. An unhealthy willingness and desire to stand out from the crowd – loving to have your voice heard and presence known (Lk 14.7 ff.; 3Jn 9).
  10. An unwillingness to serve in unseen or menial ways (Lk 19.17).
  11. Dissatisfaction with the extent and degree to which your gifts and graces are currently recognised – you believe you deserve more than you receive (1Sam 18.7-8; Lk 15.29; 17.9-10).
  12. A dishonest disconnect between what you are in private and what you wish to appear in public (Acts 5.2; Mt 23.3, 25).
  13. An unbalanced pre-occupation with how others perceive you (Jn 12.42-43; Rom 14.4; Mt 23.5).
  14. Speaking of that which you do not know; pretending to an expertise that you do not possess (Gal 6.3; Paul’s exposure of false apostles in 2Cor 11 – 13).

Some of these things are outwardly evident; others are matters of the heart, known primarily to self and to God.  This is the way of the world, but it creeps into the church when Satan whispers in our ears a prompt to advance our own cause.

Such an attitude robs us of pleasure in our serving, our brethren of the profit of our serving, and God of the glory of our serving.  To think in terms of a ladder to climb, a pecking order in which to advance, will end with our seeking to topple Christ from his throne.

Paul makes plain that high-mindedness has no place in the kingdom of the crucified and risen Christ (2Cor 8.8-9; Phil 2.5-11): nothing is to be motivated by a spirit of selfish ambition or conceit.  These are weeds that make the heart a wilderness: they are not to be controlled but destroyed, and the opposite cultivated in their place.  High-mindedness is to be searched out, identified, repented of, and mortified, for we have nothing of which to boast (1Cor 4.7).

Written by Jeremy Walker

Wednesday 3 March 2010 at 12:35

3 Responses

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  1. Thank you for your God given thoughts on the topic of Highmindness. I was praying this morning and felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to google “highmindeness”and got you/your blog.
    I will be spending some time pondering over the scriptures quoted for my own spiritual growth.
    Virgina Beach, Virginia, USA

    Sonny Mathew

    Tuesday 1 March 2011 at 14:50

  2. Thank you. This has really helped explain high mindedness vs. humblemindedness for those who attend my Bible Studies here in Liberia, West Africa.

    Connie Lindsey

    Wednesday 27 October 2021 at 11:01

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