Grotesque Arrogance

“They say, ‘Through our tongues we have power; our lips are our own—who can be our master?’"—Psalm 12:4 (HCSB)

A few days ago, we explored Mark 7:15 (NLT), where Jesus says, “You are defiled by what comes from your heart.” And we came to the conclusion that the evidence of this heart defilement comes out of our mouths, in the actions we take, and attitudes we display.

In today’s verse, we see this principle on display. Here, David is pleading for the Lord’s help, because “no faithful one remains” (Psalm 12:1 HCSB). He wants justice against those who, with defiled hearts, exemplify a grotesque arrogance . . . the kind of arrogance we see in today’s verse.

According to one commentary, today’s verse is essentially saying, “Whatever we desire we can accomplish through our tongues—by persuasion, or by menaces, or by skill in argument . . . Who is lord over us? Who can interfere with us and impede our action? They do not believe in any righteous Judge and Controller of the world, who can step in to frustrate their plans, upset their designs, and bring them to ruin.”

Sadly, I’ve met a few people like this, who don’t believe in the existence of God, who think themselves superior to others, and don’t care about the damage they do in order to accomplish their agenda. Pilate is a great example of this. In John 18:35 (NIV) he asks, “Am I a Jew?” His phrasing clearly shows his Roman pride. After all, he was the governor over what Romans considered an inferior group. 

Now, while it’s sad to meet a nonbeliever like this, it’s much worse to meet a Christian that espouses such arrogance. This person is immensely judgmental and often unkind; they lack compassion or self-awareness. They believe themselves invincible and impervious to the temptations of sin, as though they’ve risen above their nature on this side of heaven. They’re essentially modern-day Pharisees. These Christians are often easy to spot . . . except when it’s us doing it. 

If we’re honest, from time to time, we wear those Pharisaical robes. I know it happens to me when I fall into the trap of believing I’m “good,” better than the person whose life is a “mess.” I make snap judgments and become incredibly cynical. These moments are honestly my most shameful and show just how defiled I still am and how much sanctification I still need every day. I pray the Lord will help us in these moments and bring us back down to earth! I also pray we can recognize these moments in our lives and seek God’s correction and humility when it happens. 

DIG: Read about Jesus’ interaction with Pilate in John 18, as well as the attitude and actions of the Pharisees, and compare it to what David said in Psalm 12.

DISCOVER: What do you do in your moments of arrogance? How does the Lord bring you back to a Christ-like way of thinking? What has He shown you in those moments?

DISPLAY: Consider your interactions, attitudes, words, and actions to see if there is any arrogance, any accidental Pharisee in your recent lifestyle. Ask a trusted friend, relative, or mentor to give you an honest assessment. Seek out that feedback, because we often don’t see this in ourselves. And then, spend time praying that the Lord help you put on the humility of Christ in every aspect of your life and dealings with others; that you would embrace His humility and filter your life through it.

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.