One of the key elements in genuine discipleship is discerning people and their reflection of Christ (or lack thereof). Humans tend to like what they like. That’s not necessarily a bad thing except when it becomes their only thing. Paul told the Corinthian church that “‘knowledge’ puffs up but love builds up” (1Cor 8:1). So, if you love knowledge and look into the word of God to gain mere knowledge and you absolutely love doing it to the exclusion or ignoring of everything else, you may be “puffed up” and indeed not “building up.”
People who are filled with pride and self-adulation are the most difficult people to disciple. They love themselves and what they think and will be the first to correct everyone around them and set them straight. Over time, this person actually won’t be discipled because they have all the answers. Listen to them, they’ll tell you so. They are puffed up. Consequently, they in fact don’t love God and they don’t love others and are not then building up people. Tragically, their family is the first to be affected by the puffiness. Oddly, the puffy person is ultimately more concerned about who’s right (themselves) then they are concerned about what’s right. Because they have knowledge, and of course, no one else has it like they do, they will sacrifice everyone around them to be able to prove their rightness. So, thinking they are helping by delivering their “knowledge” and are right in doing so, they are in fact tearing down and thus, are wrong to do so.
Puffiness rips and tears. Puffiness pushes people away. Puffiness divides. Perhaps even more critical is the fact that puffiness portrays a small gospel and devastatingly distorts God’s glory.
To the puffy I say, “Stop studying your Bible.” Go on a quest for Jesus. He is the Word! Study Him, not it.
God, by your great grace, keep us from puffiness.