There is a ‘demon’ born out of the ashes of man’s rebellion in the garden that lurks in the soul of all mankind. He is subtle but deadly. He shrouds himself in a form of humility that not many recognize. He is called ‘spiritual humility’. He cloaks himself with good works and an outward display of supposed love. We all have to battle with him. We all have to be on our guards that he doesn’t creep in and tear down the defenses of our hearts. You may see this ‘demon’ in pastors, elders, deacons; or anyone who think themselves to be something in their ministry or their knowledge.
The Apostle Paul was given a thorn in the flesh, a messenger from Satan, to buffet him so that he wouldn’t think too highly of himself. The apostle recognized this nemesis. Perhaps it took a while for him to see it. Perhaps it came to him not long after he rebuked Peter for Peter’s double mindedness. Perhaps he realized it after God spoke and said that His grace was sufficient. This ‘demon’ will make you think that you are holier, more informed, more religiously educated than anyone else. And even when you will speak and confess, “oh no, brethren I am no better than any of you.” Deep within will wait in the shadows those hideous claws ready to grip your soul with that pharisaical thought, “oh but yes I really am.” In the back of your mind you will look down just a little at those around you.
No one really knows what a child of God may act like in their personal time. Many just like the publican will constantly be on their face confessing and thank God for his mercy towards them, while others will think that God can’t do without them. There are many modern day preachers that are more interested in your self esteem making you feel good about yourselves that they are interested in your eternal soul. Remember the Pharisee prayed to ‘his god’ but the publican prayed to God. And we can see who came away justified. The one who realized he was a nobody in need of God’s forgiveness.