Fire in My Bones, by J. Lee Grady

Want to receive Fire in My Bones by email? Sign up here

Something Smells

Pride stinks because it is the sulfuric stench of Lucifer himself.
British missionary Jackie Pullinger has endured lots of bad odors. When she moved to the slums of Hong Kong in 1966 to help prostitutes and drug addicts, I'm sure she held her nose a few times because of the rats, the human waste and the stench of death all around her. Yet Jackie exuded a fragrant aroma in that place—the same sweet smell of Jesus that follows every person whose heart has been broken for suffering humanity.

When I first suggested that we feature Jackie on our cover, I got some puzzled looks. "Who's she?" people asked.

After all, Jackie is not a Christian celebrity, and she doesn't have her own public relations office. She avoids the spotlight. Like Mother Teresa, she has been content to work in a hellhole of lost humanity for 41 years, expecting no recognition.

As you'll read in our story, she was invited to receive commendation from Queen Elizabeth 20 years ago, but Jackie almost turned down the opportunity for fear that the honor would cause her to forfeit her heavenly reward. I wonder how some of our American ministry celebrities would handle a visit to the queen. Would they downplay it, or would they air the fanfare over and over on Christian TV—sort of like when Juanita Bynum's $1 million wedding was broadcast repeatedly on TBN in 2003?

Don't get me started.

Jackie is so uninterested in publicity that she almost refused to pose for photographs for this magazine. I had to beg her to set aside a few hours so that we could take pictures of her work among the poor. She later admitted to me that she is "media shy."

I believe Jackie represents a model for ministry in this new season. God is requiring us to scrap the American-made superstar syndrome so we can embrace New Testament servanthood. In order to make this painful shift we must crucify our inflated egos and break our addiction to approval. As we redefine what ministry is all about, we must throw some idols into the fire:

»Get rid of entitlement. The Oral Roberts University scandal taught us that leaders must never view their positions as a means to get rich. If a leader succumbs to greed, God just might expose to the world what he has hoarded in his oversized closet. If he has misused money for personal advantage, his larceny may be exposed on national television.

»No more entourages. A pastor doesn't need five people to follow him into the church carrying his Bible, water bottle, handkerchief, microphone and sermon notes. That pompous display is nauseating. The day of the "armor bearer" is over. Today's leaders should be happy to carry their own suitcases—and help other people carry theirs.

»Eliminate special seating. The Bible tells us plainly that rich people are not to be treated with favoritism when they come to church (see James 2:1-7). Yet in many ministries today the poor are ignored while the rich "partners" get a private audience with the pastor—even if the wealthy donor is living in adultery. We are crazy if we think God is going to ignore such carnality.

Do you smell what I smell? There is a disgusting odor permeating many of our American ministries today. It is the putrid smell of haughty flesh. Pride stinks because it is the sulfuric stench of Lucifer himself. No wonder God resists it. We must repent of this arrogance. The work of God's kingdom is being accomplished today by the Jackie Pullingers of the world—the "little people" who learned long ago that they must decrease so that Jesus can increase.

While the celebrities steal most of the thunder from everyone else, at least temporarily, the Lord's unsung heroes are feeding the poor, fighting injustice, healing the addicted and quietly salting the earth with the gospel of grace. They should be our role models.

I hope Jackie will challenge all of us to ask some tough questions. Will we clothe ourselves in fragrant humility, or continue to wear the stinking garments of pride? Do we really need the praises of men in this life? Or will we be content to hear our Father's ultimate affirmation when we stand before His throne?


J. Lee Grady is the editor of Charisma. To see additional photos of Jackie Pullinger's work among drug addicts in Hong Kong, go to charismamag.com/pullinger.

Best Magazine Deal. Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Charisma, SpiritLed Woman and Ministry Today, all for $24. YES - I want this deal!

3 Reasons Why you should read Life in the Spirit. 1) Get to know the Holy Spirit. 2) Learn to enter God's presence 3) Hear God's voice clearly! Click Here to draw closer to God!

Did you enjoy this blog? Click here to receive it by email.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
View/Add Comments
  • Donald Trump certainly needs your prayers.

    Why You Must Pray for Donald Trump

    Here are eight ways I plan to intercede for President Trump regularly.

  • Pastor Jim Garlow in a file photo shown praying.

    Conservative Christian Leaders Gather in DC, Calling Trump's Election an Answer to Prayer

    "Although the news media is predicting protests, what I'm seeing is that everyone is abuzz ...

  • Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    Inner Healing Is the Fruit of the Spirit

    I have been puzzled about the subject of inner healing for some time.

  • Here's a prophetic word for Washington, D.C.

    Prophecy: The Lord Is Raising Up Daniels in DC

    I believe we're on the precipice of a Third Great Awakening the Lord spoke to my heart about in ...

  • 2017 is the year that swords will clash.

    Prophetic Word: 2017 Will Bring a Clashing of Heaven and Hell

    "This is a time to cross over and not pull back."

  • Bishop Eddie Long died at 63.

    Bishop Eddie Long Dead at 63

    "Although his transition leaves a void for those of us who loved him dearly, we can celebrate ...

  • Roadblock

    6 Roadblocks That Will Stop Your Spiritual Growth

    God wants you to grow in your faith, but many of us get stuck along the way.

  • The devil will try to silence you in any way he can. Don't give him the satisfaction.

    Satan's 2 Most Potent Lies to Render You Ineffective

    There's something in you so powerful that Satan doesn't want it out. Kyle Winkler reveals ...

  • Watch for these danger signals for choosing poorly.

    4 Signs You're Making a Bad Decision

    Avoid distraction and disappointment by testing your choices with these 4 principles.

  • Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Continue Your Journey with the Holy Spirit

    Follow God on the most fulfilling journey of your life with Encounter the Holy Spirit! Break away from past hurts and press into the One who wants a personal encounter with you.

  • Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Dream the Unimaginable In His Presence

    Reach your full potential and be led by His Spirit. In His Presence takes you to a deeper understanding of who God is and how he communicates with us.

  • Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Set Your Spirit on Fire

    Receive the power and gifts that come through the Holy Spirit Baptism. Don’t go empty-handed; accept all that He has for you! His power is available to those who ask.

  • Put on the Full Armor of God

    Put on the Full Armor of God

    Break every stronghold with the power of the Holy Spirit. Use the power of your tongue to declare and decree the Word of God. Witness heaven move on your behalf.

Use Desktop Layout
Charisma Magazine — Empowering believers for life in the Spirit