What would Jesus say to former Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, whose promising career recently grinded to a halt amid multiple domestic abuse incidents and drug scandals, asked the pastor of one of the largest churches in America in a new sermon series called "What Would Jesus Say to ______."
Phil Print, senior pastor of Crossroads Church in Woodbury, Minnesota, asked this question in an April sermon, answering that Jesus would tell him to get some perspective and stop pride from controlling his life.
Print explained during his sermon that he chose to focus on 23-year-old Johnny Manziel, who was dropped by both the Cleveland Browns as well as his agent after multiple scandals and excessive partying, because he is an example of someone who seemingly won the "talent lottery" but "squandered it," making a "royal mess of their life."
Jesus would say to Manziel, Print surmised, that pride and failure to realize that all of the good things handed to you in life actually belong to Jesus.
"We all face pretty much the same thing Johnny Manziel faces on a smaller scale," Print explains, saying that all Christians, like Manziel, have some degree of the "three P's" in their life: Privilege, Possessions, and Prestige.
Out of the "three P's," Christians must be particularly wary of privilege, because there is a "fine line between privilege and pride."
The "difference between you and I staying in bounds, and you and I going out of bounds and allowing pride to ruin our lives – the difference is one word – it's the word perspective," the pastor says.
The cause of failure is "always pride," the pastor continues. "Pride always goes before destruction."
"The more that God has placed in our hands, the greater the risk that pride is going to creep into our lives," Print says. "Pride is like the carbon monoxide sin of the Bible – it's hard to detect, and it's deadly."
If you rewind every "human trainwreck story," you will find that the demise began with pride, the Minnesota pastor warns, because "when we're full of pride there's no room for anything or anyone else in our lives […] pride shuts God and everyone else out."
"Whatever it is that's in your hand […] it's not yours […] it's on loan to you from our God," Print emphasizes. "No one can receive anything unless God gives it."
Ultimately, to avoid the trap of pride, Christians must remind themselves that they are not the messiah.
"I'm not here to build a pedestal for myself – I am here and you are here for one reason: to build a platform for God," the pastor explains.
To avoid pride and maintain perspective, Print encourages Christians to look to the story of John the Baptist as the "poster child" for maintaining perspective, as John maintains that he is merely a witness for God.
The verse from John 1:8 reads: "He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light."