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ON ARROGANCE.

Jehovah has said: "I will bring disaster upon the world and their due punishment upon the wicked. I will check the pride of the haughty (presumptuous ones. NWT) and bring low the arrogance of ruthless menů For then I will rid you of your proud and arrogant citizens, and never again shall you flaunt your pride on my holy hill."  (Isaiah 13:11 and Zeph 3:11 NEB).

THE DEFINITION AND CAUSE.
It is written: "God opposes the arrogant and gives grace (undeserved kindness.
NWT) to the humble."  (James 4:6 NEB). It is therefore important to identify the characteristics that become evident in a person's attitude, speech and conduct when arrogance is being manifested, that we may avoid it in our own conduct and receive the undeserved kindness of God as humble ones .

Arrogance is the tendency to exalt oneself unduly over another. It is caused by having an exaggerated opinion of oneself, leading one to make or imply unwarrantable claims to authority, glory or knowledge. The source of arrogance is a deluded spirit. The Christ listed arrogance among the "injurious reasonings"  (evil thoughts. NEB) issuing forth "out of the heart of men" that defiles them.  (See Mark 7:21 23 NWT)  (See NEB).

When arrogance stirs in a person's heart, he begins to think "he is something when he is nothing".  (Gal 6:3.  Prov 21:4 NEB). Deceiving his own mind with injurious reasoning, he becomes "discreet in (his) own eyes" and is no longer "led along with the lowly things" that make for humility before God. Instead he is "minding lofty things" for self-exaltation. (Rom 12:16). He begins to think how 'wise' he is of his own account, and before he is aware of it has been "drawn out and enticed by his own desire".  The  desire, when  it has become fertile in the injurious reasoning of his heart, gives birth to sin.  (James 1:14,15). The following are manifestations of arrogance:

CONTENTIOUSNESS.
Among the sins that are proof of an arrogant heart is contentiousness. The root cause of this tendency to provoke quarrels and to dispute with others is hatred. (Prov 10:12). Those "arrogant in soul"  (self important.
NEB) stir up contention that they might fulfil their "selfish ambition" for self-glory.  (Prov 28:25). In the eyes of those in his company, a man stirring up "questionings and debates about words" is "possessed of an appearance of wisdom". (1 Tim 6:3-5. Col 2:23). On receiving reproof from the Holy Word of God, he may try to justify his contentiousness with demonic wisdom. "Lying against the truth" he may even "belittle the discipline from Jehovah".  (Heb 12:5.  James 3:14-16).

But in accordance with his hard and unrepentant heart, such a man is storing up the wrath of God for himself on the day of His righteous Judgement. For those who are "contentious and who disobey the truth" there will be "wrath and anger, tribulation and distress" upon the arrogant soul "of every man who works what is injurious". (Rom 2:4-9). Contentiousness (strife) is a work of the flesh, and those who continue in it will not inherit the Kingdom of God. (Gal 5:19-21). Nothing one may say or do in a spirit of contentiousness can ever be justified. Therefore, do "nothing out of contentiousness (or rivalry) or out of egotism (personal vanity), but with lowliness of mind (humility) considering that the others (in the faith) are superior to you..."  (Phil 2:3,4).

PRESUMPTUOUSNESS.
This is another sin that issues forth from the proud heart of a person who is arrogant. As presumptuousness grows within them, their contempt for the rights of others leads them not only to act without adequate authority or permission, but even to speak insolently. Presumptuously "meddling with what does not concern them" they are "walking disorderly" and straying from the commands of God. (2 Thess 3:11) (Psalms 119:21. Nehemiah 9:16). "Everyone that pushes ahead (presumptuously) and does not remain in the teaching of The Christ does not have God". (2 John V.9). By  arrogantly pushing ahead in defiance of God, they are employing the "uncanny power" of evil spirits and "teraphim" that they might receive glory as household gods.  (1 Sam 15:23
NWT & NEB).

Anyone who "pushes ahead" presumptuously and "teaches other doctrine" is no longer in subjection to "the teaching that accords with Godly devotion" and is deceived by his own presumptuous spirit.  (1 Tim 6:3.  Jer 49:16 NWT & NEB). It is written: ""Look! I am against you, O Presumptuousness," is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord, Jehovah of armies, "for your day must come, the time that I must give you attention. And Presumptuousness will certainly stumble and fall, and it will have no one to cause it to rise up" (against God).  (Jer 50:31,32).

That is why it is written: "Do not go beyond the things that are written, in order that you may not be puffed up" with pride and "fall into the Judgement passed upon the devil". "Subject yourselves, therefore, to God; but oppose the devil, and he will flee from you."  (1 Cor 4:6.  1 Tim 3:6.  James 4:7).

BOASTING (BRAGGING).
Another injurious fruitage of those proud in heart is boasting. Behaving arrogantly and speaking boastfully is vainglory and "something detestable to Jehovah". (Prov 16:5). (James 4:16
NEB). The apostle Paul wrote: "If I give all my belongings to feed others, and if I hand over my body that I may boast  (seeking glory through self-sacrifice), but  do not have love, I am not (spiritually) profited at all." (1 Cor 13:3). Consequently, anything that is said or done solely as a reason for boasting is done without love. Indeed, true love is never "puffed up" with pride. It is never boastfu1.  (1 Cor 13:4 NEB).

Boasting is a form of self-recommendation employed by those who seek to be "glorified by men". An example of this are those who make "gifts of mercy" publicly before others, thereby "declaring (themselves) righteous before men". But this is a "disgusting thing in God's sight."  (Matt 6:1,2)  (Luke 16:15). Those who use their words and deeds to "recommend themselves" prove they have no spiritual understanding. "For not the one who recommends himself is approved, but the man whom Jehovah recommends."  (2 Cor 10:12,18).

Let no man "brag about himself" because of possessing the wisdom, the might or the riches of this world.  (Prov 28:11. Jer 9:23). For "in order that no flesh may boast in the sight of God", He chose the "foolish things of the world, that He might put the wise men (of the world) to shame (the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God); and God chose the weak things of the world, that He might put the strong (mighty) things to shame."  (1 Cor 1:27-29 & 3:19).  This is what Jehovah has said: "But let the one bragging about himself brag about himself because of this very thing, the having of insight and the having of knowledge of Me, that I am Jehovah, the One exercising loving-kindness, justice and righteousness in the earth; for in these things I do take delight," is the utterance of Jehovah."  (Jer 9:24).

FLATTERY.
Avoid those who use "smooth talk and complimentary speech" to gratify your vanity and self-esteem, for they are "spreading a net" for you. (Prov 29:5
NEB. Rom 16:18). The specious appearance of the smooth words of a flatterer conceal their sting. Seducing the minds of innocent ones with smooth and specious words, flatterers incite them to nurture a flattering opinion of themselves, until they have caused an "overthrow" of their faith through self-pride and arrogance. We are advised to "keep an eye on those who cause divisions and occasions for stumbling contrary to the teaching that you have learned, and avoid them", for such ones are not slaves of Christ, but of their own demonic appetites.  (Prov 26:28)  (Rom 16:17,18 NWT & NEB).

SPIRITUAL READJUSTMENT.
The apostle Paul wrote: "Brothers, even though a man takes some false step before he is aware of it, you who have spiritual qualifications try to readjust such a man". (Gal 6:1).  The Holy Word of God is beneficial "for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight" and for "disciplining in righteousness" for spiritual readjustment. (2 Tim 3:16). The Holy Scriptures are "powerful by God" for overturning injurious reasonings "and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God." (2 Cor 10:4,5).

The Christ said: "If your brother commits a sin, go lay bare his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother." (Matt 18:15).  But what if he does not listen? Those "stubborn after much reproof" who arrogantly refuse to put away "that superfluous thing, badness" are no longer "holding God in accurate knowledge", but are "suppressing the truth in an unrighteous way." (Rom 1:18,28.  James 1:21.  Prov 29:1 NEB) Consequently, and in keeping with the desires of their hearts, God gives them up to a "disapproved mental state", having become "hateful to God, insolent (presumptuous), arrogant, and boastful".  (Rom 1:30 NEB).

THE CHRISTIAN EXAMPLE.
How may we gain a humble heart and avoid becoming arrogant in spirit? The apostle Paul provides us with the answer: "You must humbly reckon others (in the faith) better than yourselves." You must "Look to each other's interest and not merely to your own". For by humbly seeking to fulfil the needs of one another, we manifest as true Christians the same "mental attitude" as was in The Christ himself while on earth. (Phil 2:3,5 NWT & NEB). As Christ's disciples, we must humbly subject ourselves to the corrective discipline of Jehovah for our spiritual readjustment and benefit. "Accept with mildness the implanting of the Word (of God) which is able to save your souls."  (James 1:21.  Heb 12:5,6).

C. B. Thomas.
26/2/87
& 7/11/11.

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