We live in a day and age where everyone wants to have their 15 minutes of fame, even if it is at the expense of their dignity or another’s. Everyone wants to be seen and heard, regardless of what is right or wrong. Many people are so desperate for attention and acceptance that they put themselves above others in an attempt to have their deepest desires fulfilled.
43 "Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. 44 "And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. 45 "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." - Mar 10:43-45 NKJV
Jesus taught something far different than this way of man. He said to be the greatest or the mightiest; we shall become servants, even slaves to others. Jesus said that the way of the world was for the rulers to lord over the Gentiles. To lord over someone means to dominate and control them, but to be a servant means to attend to others or wait on them such as a waiter serves tables or any other menial task. This word servant is translated as minister in other translations and it not only means serve, but it is the same word used to describe a Christian teacher or pastor, deacon or deaconess. Clearly to be a minister of the gospel even as a pastor, teacher, or deacon, one would do so with a servant’s heart of humility. As a minister of the gospel one does not elevate him or herself above others because of their ability to teach or preach, on the contrary, we are to take the road of humility, being thankful and honored that God would use us to esteem others.
Don't Build a Podium on Personal Promotion
Sadly, many people hope to attain their fame and fortune through the podium. I have met so many people who say they want to be a public speaker, a famous preacher, a famous author, and even those who claim they have seen themselves speaking in front of the masses. These things are not bad things, and God can bring you to a place to achieve these things, for His glory and not ours. However, if your deepest desire is to attain greatness through the gospel, then you are dangerously off track. We should go forth on preaching the word, be it to one person or thousands of people, with a fear and trembling of God! We should remember the words in the book of James, “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” James 3:1
Sadly, many ministers have an attitude of “look at me,” and “look how mighty I am, for the Lord uses me to work signs and wonders, preaching with power.” There is no place in the Bible that leads us to believe that we are better than someone else because of our ability to be used by the Lord. On the contrary, Jesus said, 2 Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, 3 and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 "Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. - Mat 18:2-4 NKJV
When Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days and nights, the devil visited him, often. In his assaults against Jesus, he tried to get Him to prove Himself. Of course, we all know the story, Jesus used Scripture to counter Satan’s advances. That is how we attain victory as well. One of the greatest ways the enemy of our souls tries to get us to fall is through pride. Demonic voices begin to whisper facts in our ears. However, just because something is factual, it isn’t necessarily the truth. For example, the devil will use a circumstance in your life when you were right but a person disrespected you and publicly humiliated you, and Satan tells you to prove your worth by defending yourself. The truth is what God says about it and He says to make room for His wrath and that He is our defender. Perhaps you are overlooked for a position at work, church, or another area, and you know you are more qualified for the job. Satan will whisper the facts to you in an attempt to get you to retaliate, again the Lord says to humble yourself and He will lift you up. I’m sure you get the point, there are various ways we can be tempted to protect ourselves and to blow our testimony.
God’s grace is our answer to every circumstance. He allows multiple things to transpire in our lives and He wastes none of them. We serve a glorious God who first and foremost wants a relationship of intimacy with us. Leaders in the Church are no exception; they should be the first in representing an intimate walk with the Lord. It all starts with God and us, and the rest flows from that.
6 But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble." 7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. ... 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. - Jas 4:6-7, 10 NKJV
God Will Resist Our Pride
I hope you caught that part in James; God resists the proud! The word translated as humble means to depress or bring low yourself, this starts within a person’s heart. Humble people are often quiet and attentive listeners. An individual that is practicing humility may struggle internally with their flesh but at least they are willing to wrestle with the flesh and not allow it to rule them! When we bring ourselves below the situations that represents an opportunity to act in pride or humility, we are giving God the chance to esteem us and to correct the other individual if necessary. Most importantly, we are giving Him a chance to be glorified.
God may handle a problem in our lives with silence, other times He may raise up others to defend our name. Often, I find God will work things out in the secret place. He is more concerned with our hearts than our reputation. When He needs us to be of good reputation He will cause it to happen and give favor where there was none. That is how He works. He places us where He wants us, not the other way around.
The proud that James is speaking of are those who appear above others, the haughty. These people are arrogant and overbearing. This person wields high expectations for everyone around them except themselves.
The following scriptures are often used for giving, but they are applicable in other ways as well. 7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. 9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. - Gal 6:7-9 NKJV
The word sow means to scatter, to throw down loosely, or to deposit, while reap means to harvest or to gather; to receive what you deposited. Everything we do has a consequence, for good or evil. Even our words can cost us, in the natural and spiritual. Jesus said, “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.” (Mat 12:36) Not one thing will slip by our God, including our motives for He "I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve." Jer 17:10 NIV and People may be pure in their own eyes, but the LORD examines their motives. Pro 16:2 NLT
Heavenly Father, today I admit the need to become a person with a contrite spirit and humble heart; confessing my needs before You that I am unable to do this on my own. I thank You that You remember the humble and give grace, that You will prepare my heart and Your ear will hear me when I cry out in humility. Thank You for saving the humble people and bringing down haughty looks, for I desire to be found a treasure within Your midst and not a thorn. I praise You for guiding me in justice and teaching me Your ways as I submit my needs, in humility to You. My soul makes its boast in You and no longer in self. I shall be lifted up as You cast the wicked to the ground. Shame came amongst my pride but now within the heart of humility I have found wisdom! Today I thank You for putting my feet on the path of righteousness and removing me from the path of unrighteousness. I choose to be of a humble spirit serving with the lowly rather than dividing the spoils with the proud. Lord, Your word tells me that Your name is Holy and You dwell with those who have a contrite and humble spirit, reviving the spirit of the humble and the heart of the contrite one. Soften my heart, break me for what breaks You. Today I give you glory for revival within my soul! In Jesus name, Amen