Not About Me

Why is it so hard to live a genuine life?

A tiny word has been buzzing around my brain like a gnat that I quickly shoo away and forget: pride, pride, pride. For days, I managed to ignore this realization which the Spirit was beginning to stir in me.

Finally, the sword of God’s Word cut right through the great divide of my sinful soul and God’s Spirit inside of me, showing the impurity of my intentions.

God convicted me through a strange little Bible story that I don’t fully understand: King David sins by taking a census of Israel’s inhabitants. Only by God’s mercy is Jerusalem not destroyed by holy wrath. (story found both here and here.)

What a weird story! My flesh protested: David’s census was not so wrath-worthy!  But the buzzing gnat word got louder in my spirit: pride, pride, pride. The ugly heart of David’s census was pride.

Worse yet, I recognized myself in the story.

David forgets that his kingdom was built by God. He is filled with self-satisfaction instead of awe in the God who brought David from obscurity to fame, from shepherding sheep to ruling God’s people. Instead of saying, “Not to me, but to You Lord, be the glory,” he seeks more glory for himself by counting how many subjects he rules over.

When we read stories like this, we have to look into the mirror. So I asked, am I distorting the beautiful growth that God has begun in me by making it ABOUT ME?

I can’t do any good apart from God. My brain always knows this. I am willing to confess this. But sometimes my actions and attitudes reveal how forgetful I am of the God who gives me life and love and every good gift. I tremble as I remember the damage that pride caused in my life as a young Christian. Lord, never let me go back there!

I am reminded that seeking ME, feeding my pride, lifting up myself – even (especially?) in a ministry context – leads me AWAY from the life I so ache to have. A life owned by Christ and not by me. A life where I give up every “right” and honor I could ever have in favor of pointing to someone far greater.  A life where I don’t care about the esteem of others, so long as God is well pleased.

Can you imagine? The God of the universe… well pleased by US?

Father, let it be.

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