I am reading a wonderful book titled Embracing Obscurity (how appropriate that the author chose to remain anonymous). It has really been a challenging read for me because all of those times I seek to glorify myself rather than God have surfaced and I’m heartbroken at the many times I vie for the attention…
I recently shared with a friend that I was going to pull away some from Facebook because most of what I do there is to attract others to ME (Look at me! Look what I’ve done! Look how I believe… my way is best you know!). I certainly don’t want to pull away all together because I have many precious relationships that I treasure and keep up with on FB, but by questioning my motive every time I post or comment & lessoning my time spent there aligns my priorities appropriately.
As I look to Jesus as my example to emulate, I’m reminded that He never sought to glorify himself. He wasn’t concerned about being in the limelight. His primary concern was to bring glory & honor to God. He did not come to earth to sit on a throne, but rather He came to serve others.
Let’s face it, I am going to live my life on this earth and when I die, select individuals will miss me, however that mourning will be very short lived and eventually there will be no thought of me at all. The striving for notoriety is fruitless and diverts attention off of what is really important and that is serving others and glorifying God.
Satan is masterful at busying us doing the wrong things, isn’t he?! He sure messes with me all the time… he doesn’t want any of the glory to be given to God. Ponder for a moment about the most famous person you can think of in the last 100 years. That person may be in history books and may be remembered longer than I will be, but there will come a time when that person too will not be known to the present day inhabitants of this earth. I mustn’t allow satan this stronghold any longer… dying to self, retraining to be Heavenly-minded, serving others, & glorifying God in all I say and do must be my daily mission.
When I read recently a list of words that define many of Christ’s followers (proud, greedy, sinful, self-focused, self-sufficiency), I was immediately drawn to the words we so often use to describe Jesus (humble, thankful, righteous, a servant). The characteristics many of us carry around are the very antithesis of who our Lord and Christ is. How did that happen? We’re decent people, right?! Have you noticed it isn’t something that happens to us over night. Satan never sleeps and works diligently & subtly to steer us off track… I know that is what has happened to me.
Along my year long journey, I am challenging myself to ask, “Is what I am doing glorifying to God, or is it rooted in pride?” And, we know how God feels about pride:
- The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. Proverbs 16:5
- The LORD Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled). Isaiah 2:12
- Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 1 Corinthians 13:4
I’d like to clarify here by saying that I believe there is a distinct difference between pride & replenishment. Doing something for ourselves to fill ourselves back up again is very appropriate and Jesus did the same. He escaped to Galilee, a boat on Lake Genessaret, or the Mount of Olives to not only evade the accolades of others, but I’m sure He went off to replenish, reflect, & and to spend time with His Father (sounds awesome to me!). Conversely, pride is defined as a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in bearing, conduct, etc.
I think sometimes we think that if we do anything for ourselves we are being prideful and I personally do not hold this belief. There are certainly things we do that seek to bring glory to ourselves, but there are things we do as replenishments for ourselves that bring glory to God… Let’s pause for a moment to look at some examples of each:
- Inordinate self-esteem
- Engaging in relationships (Is there anything that brings God more glory than when we love one another?)
- Giving to others… As John Wesley so eloquently stated: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can.”
- A pause away to reflect and spend time with God.
- Meditate on God’s Word.
These lists are certainly not exhaustive and many more examples can be included, but I think we get the idea that when we focus our attention on ways to bring glory to ourselves, our spiritual progress will be fatal (after all, isn’t pride at the very beginning of the 7 deadly sins?). On the other hand, when we focus our attention on others and glorifying God, we will reap eternal & Heavenly rewards.
Won’t you join me in asking ourselves, “Is what I’m doing glorifying to God, or is it rooted in pride?” I think if we answer & act honestly to this question, we will find this world is a much better place to be.
Heavenly-minded = embracing obscurity, serving others, & glorifying God
Hugs & Love,