Question of the Week: How do you glorify God without letting your ego get in the way?
Our ego, which is usually another term for pride, is a very tricky sin to deal with in our lives. The more attention we give to it, the more power it has over us. If I were to ask you if you thought you were proud, the follow up question would be if you answered yes because you wanted to appear more humble than you really are. The follow up to that question would be to ask if your answer to that question was an attempt to bring attention to yourself through the honest confession or not. And on it goes. The more you peel this onion the more its stink makes itself known. Greater minds than our own have came to the same conclusions scripture has when dealing with pride. And while the solution isn’t easy, it is simple. Instead of focusing on your pride, focus on God’s character instead.
But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.
James 4:6-10 (NKJV)
The Apostle James’ solution for pride is a proactive pursuit of its opposite. In order to properly understand it’s opposite, we first need to understand what it actually is. Pride by its very nature is based on a dishonest view of ourselves and others. When we make ourselves the focus, pride will manifest itself as naturally as gravity. A low view of yourself is just as self-centered as a high one. You are still your focus. If there ever was an example of a person devoid of pride in all of human history, it was Jesus of Nazareth. Never once did He take the time to explain to people how horrible He was. In fact, He seemed to be fully aware of His total lack of sin and perfect relationship with the Father. The reason His positive self image isn’t translated as pride by any standard is because of the fact that He didn’t determine that value for Himself. His sense of self came from His Father. His satisfaction for who and where He was in life came from His relationship with the Father. As James stated, His drawing near to the Father modeled for us a picture of what that does to someone’s character.
The most honest perspective we can have towards ourselves is the one God sees. James rightly understood that is going to break us. No one enjoys seeing just how “not-like” God we really are. It is then in that state that God is able to lift us up. Drawing near to God through an honest acknowledgment of our sin and need for a Savior is the mindset we all first adopted resulting in salvation. Why wouldn’t that continue to be our mindset as we continue to live in light of that salvation every day? We combat pride through honesty. We avoid pride by drawing near to its opposite. We don’t overcome pride by focusing on ourselves in different ways, but by showing God is much more worth our attention. We won’t see total victory until we see Him face to face. CS Lewis once observed that the most arrogant man is the one who believes he is humble enough. The key is to take every opportunity we have today to make God the center of our attention.
A Reason For Hope is a ministry of Calvary Christian Fellowship of Tucson
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