As a sequel to our thoughts yesterday, we recall how often the gospels revealed the Pharisees, Sadducees and other Jewish hierarchy as being “puffed up with conceit” in their opposition to Jesus. But our human minds routinely threaten to fall into this kind of behaviour unless they are influenced by a conviction of the privilege and joy of serving God and His son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

As we read his letters to Timothy, we see how he gave Paul much joy. In his second epistle Paul writes, “I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy”. How much do we have this experience with fellow believers? It is sad when there are wrong attitudes, such as those Paul counselled Timothy to guard against in the final chapter of his first epistle. He feared that the growing ecclesia at Ephesus (1:3) where Timothy was based would lose sight of the true spirit and foundation of its commitment to God and Christ.

He continues, “if anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing …” (6:3,4). That’s a remarkable statement! If you become conceited it results in you understanding nothing! But that’s exactly what happened to the Pharisees and Sadducees, except for one or two like Nicodemus, the one who came to Jesus by night (John 3:1-12; 19:39).

This conceit creates a “constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth …” (verse 5). We must tell ourselves, ‘I have been warned, I need the right kind of food for my mind every day’ – and this will lead to a genuine prayer life so that, as Paul tells Timothy, we will be motivated to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness” so that we can “Fight the good fight of the faith” (verses 11,12) until our faith is turned to sight.