Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power. (1 Corinthians 4:18-19, ESV)
In writing his letter to the church in Corinth, the apostle Paul anticipated resistance from some of the members of the Corinthian congregation. The apostle Paul referred to these members as being “arrogant” (“puffed up” (KJV, NKJV), “inflated with pride” (HCSB). The Greek word translated as “arrogant” is phusioo which Vines defines as, “‘to puff up, blow up, inflate’ (from phusa, ‘bellows’), is used metaphorically in the NT, in the sense of being ‘puffed’ up with pride, . . .” The apostle Paul knew such an inflation of one’s pride would certainly hinder their obedience to God’s word as well as influence the other members of the congregation (cf. “. . . I will know not the talk but the power of those who are inflated with pride”, 1 Corinthians 4:19, HCSB).
Just as arrogance threatened the spiritual wellbeing of the church in Corinth, arrogance will also threaten our spiritual well-being. Consider the following three things arrogance will keep a person from doing:
Arrogance keeps us from truly submitting to God. James, through inspiration, writes, “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double- minded” (James 4:6-8) In order to truly submit unto God, we must put God’s word and desires above our own. Whether it is turning away from a sinful act or being willing to attend all the worship services of the local congregation, placing God’s desires above our own must take priority within our lives.
Arrogance keeps us from obeying the Lord. In the healing of Naaman, we have an individual who at first considered the instructions which Elisha had given to be ridiculous (2 Kings 5:1-14). However, after considering the advice of his servants Naaman submitted to the prophet’s instructions and dipped seven times in the River Jordan. Naaman came up from the water cleansed of his leprosy. Had Naaman remained stubborn in his own reasoning, the Lord would not have cleansed Naaman. Whether it is becoming a Christian or remaining faithful to the Lord, being willing to obey the Lord is the only way anyone will be saved from his sins. As Jesus told the saints in Smyrna, “. . . Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10) Such faithfulness brings submission to the Lord’s commands.
Arrogance keeps us from accepting correction. Quite often, an arrogant attitude will prevent a person from listening to corrections, instructions, or even helpful suggestions. It is this type of arrogant reaction which the apostle Paul addressed in his letter to the church in Corinth. The apostle Paul wrote, “Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power” (1 Corinthians 4:18-19, ESV) The Christians who needed correction were unwilling to receive such correction. Paul urged the brethren to make the necessary changes, bringing the unfaithful brethren back into fellowship with the Lord.
I’m quite certain there are other areas where possessing an arrogant attitude will hinder the spiritual development of a child of God. Let me encourage you to give honest consideration to whether or not arrogance is hindering your service unto God. Is there a sin or a behavior from which you need to turn away and have not yet made the turn? What is hindering your from turning back to the Lord? Is there a command or a teaching which you are ignoring within your life? What is hindering your obedience to the Lord? Are there brethren trying to help you live better as a Christian, whose corrections you are refusing? What is hindering you from accepting the godly corrections and instructions? If arrogance is creating the stumbling block, then please submit unto the Lord by humbling yourself, turning back to a life of faithfulness today.
— John M. Duvall