He (Elijah) said, “I have been very jealous for the LORD, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.”
… “Yet I (the Lord) will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.”
1 Kings 19:14, 18 (ESV)
There must come a time in every man’s life, if he would continue to walk in the approval of God, that he realizes himself not to be the primary target of the devil, nor the sole barometer of the spiritual progress of other men; and that he likely does not perceive the secret devices of God’s true workings in others. And by degrees he must continually be reminded of this again and again.
He must indeed learn to walk at times in solitude, and at many times under the rejection of others; but this is for him to learn the trusting of God above all – it is not for him to become full of evil suspicion against his brother.
The man who lives vicariously through God’s past humbling of him, and thereby does not continue to humble himself today, deludes himself; and may quickly become as much a well of poison as he is a spring of living water to others.
The one who has become puffed up in his spiritual solitude will often predict that others will soon begin to avoid him due to his piety, his spiritual knowledge, or his comparative closeness to God; failing to see that this prediction is often only fulfilled because neither the wise nor many of the simple will long endure such a monster of pride, nor waste any time in vainly reasoning with him about it.
He will begin to manufacture his own rejection; and he will begin to think of his life as being quite representative of the rejection of Jesus by His own disciples, without having ever yet loved his own friends as Christ did.
And as those who loved him drift away, he will continue to spin his web of self-delusion, feigning humility, taking some of the weak-minded and gullible along with him – if they are useful to his cause. Therefore he warns agains the wise who warn him, and flatters the fools who flatter him.
He will have a secret kingdom all to himself, in which he is secretly the king over his domain of influence. The most unpardonable sin in his eyes is for another to take him less seriously than he takes himself.
(If only we could all see just how spiritually awake and correct he is: then we would all truly understand…)
The only way that such a man may exit this cycle of self-deception is honesty without bounds, without excuses, without agendas, and most importantly, without any regard for the self-image that has been built upon the sands of his completely undeserved martyr complex.
The man who becomes proud rather than humble in the midst of spiritual solitude has looked not unto Christ; but rather unto others, whom, ironically, he despises, in order to confirm his delusions of grandeur.
Love… does not take into account a wrong suffered,
1 Corinthians 13:5 (NASB)
At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them!
2 Timothy 4:16 (ESV)