Elitism has no place in the Church, except to be laid down at the altar. It must collapse every time it rises, and that collapse often comes in the form of a slow decline into spiritual dryness. It will slowly damper the voice of the Lord within until you hear less of Him and more of what you want to hear. Holy Spirit is drawn to humility but repelled by the pride of elitism.
The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. Matthew 23:11-12 (ESV)
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him… Philippians 2:5-9a (ESV)
It is often difficult to identify the definite decline into spiritual dryness that elitism causes because faith is a force that works… even when a person is dry. A person who knows how to exercise faith can accomplish much, but that doesn’t equal maturity in Christ or maturity in the Spirit. A person who has an elite view of themselves can also have a lot of developed character, yet allow it to convince them of their superiority. Make no mistake, unchecked elitism will lead to eventual decline while humility acts as an elevator that will lift you higher than you dreamed possible.
I had a dream many years ago that I didn’t feel free to share and didn’t fully understand for a very long time. But it’s been on my heart as I feel grieved over elitism in the Church. In the dream, my wife and I were on an elevator with others we knew and respected. Floor by floor, they all stepped off the elevator and said their goodbyes until eventually it was only us and our senior leaders. Most didn’t exit for any wrong reason; they simply knew it was time to walk into their next level.
But we continued to rise until our senior leaders exited the elevator at the top floor with an air of elitism, fully expecting us to exit with them. But we couldn’t. To be blunt, it seemed to carry a sense of being greater than others and we couldn’t align with that mentality. We didn’t feel any greater than anyone who exited before us and we felt the voice of the Lord within telling us to carry on. It made no sense in the natural because we were at the top floor and it was where we were expected to exit, but we knew we had to continue on, even if it meant going back down.
And then the door closed and we continued to rise until we broke through the ceiling. I remember the surprise and excitement, but I also remember the greater awe and wonder I felt toward God who lifted us higher than we ever asked or expected… and only because we continued to follow His voice within above every other influence. I hadn’t thought about it in this way until recently, but in part, we chose humility over elitism.
Elitism seeks to be at the top, but humility will follow God over aspirations, appearances, and the opinions of men. Humility will carry you on further than you anticipated.
Humility is the door through the ceiling.
May you never stop rising.
Jeremy Caris is the founder and president of Caris Ministries. Since he is called as a prophet and gifted as a teacher, much of his focus involves equipping believers to hear, know, and follow God in their own daily experience. He teaches the foundational truth of the Word with simple clarity, while revealing deep things of the spirit in practical ways. He has the unique ability to demystify the supernatural side of real relationship with a living God and make it an embraceable and accessible reality for all believers. Jeremy has been married to his best friend, Mandy Caris, for twenty years, and is the proud father of two boys.