Have you ever noticed how powerful public speakers and writers live in a world of seemingly limitless social influence? I don’t know about y’all, but I fear the desire to rise into influence when I see it in myself.
You know, regardless of whether we admit it, inside of all of us lies the desire to elevate ourselves to a level far beyond the place we started in. And throughout the world, the idea of striving is generally painted as a good thing. We tell stories full of the miracles that it took for people to rise into the middle class. We strive after wealth and power and influence and beauty and possessions like we think they can add anything to who we are. Many people are afraid to be seen “as they are”, as the broken creature they started out as, before all the striving. We measure success by how far we have come from ground zero.
Financial and social stability are convenient for those of us lucky enough to have them, but do they really add to us? Christ came for the poor, the weak, and the down-trodden. Why then do we rush to become something unlike those he recognizes as greater than us all? He tells us to renounce our status and worldly pursuits to be more like him. I can tell that the desire for influence is strong in me when it draws me away from pure interests and being able to decieve myself in identifying his Holy Spirit.
I have a lot of desires, but not all of them are good. I catch myself desiring after other people’s attention and the prestige that comes with it, and for what? I have literally everything I could need already. I have enough to give away even. Addicted to what I can do to appear more like God, I forget the freaking miserable lives the prophets and saints lived. Nothing I strive after can add even a nickel to my net worth. And as loved as I am, how could it?
If I drift away from Christ, it is not only to my detriment, but to the detriment of those who listen to me over him. Causing others to stumble for vanity is a noose. It is the spirit of the enemy, and has planted weeds in the church that are only now becoming exposed all around the world. Not a single oen of us is perfect, which is why I think it’s good to talk about the desire for personal glory. I’ve got nothing to prove. And it’s for my own egotistical safekeeping that I admit my sin, because it’s not like I can hide it from God.
There is a lot of danger in being a good public speaker and writer. If we really care about Gods glory, then we must be willing to listen to even the meekest voice, when there is only a chance that that person may be right. Love does not insist in it’s own way. Love rejoices with the truth. And frick, the desire to be right instead of justified in Christ has led me wrong so many countless times. It creates this division between who he calls me and how I act. Between his grace and what I can recognize of him.
None of us are all that strong. None of our lives are enduring. No one has any reason to boast before God, except in that which God gives freely and without partiality.
Even if you recognize the truth, you can still spin it in such a way that saves part of the glory back for yourself. That practice is wrong, and it is poison. We must not depose God of what is solely his right to possess. We see his truth. It is not of ours. We do not have it freely within us unless he gives it.
A life well lived means being a servant before God on the last day. Humility. The desire to serve God just because he told you to. Genuine love. We have already recieved our reward as Christ, from the fullness of God. Do we need any other proof that he loves us apart from the murder of his son? I’m serious. God loves us, but he is no holy vending machine. If Christ isn’t enough for us, why not?
Or are we like Paul in Phillipians? Would Christ define your victory as you starved to death in your pwn weakness, in prison? Could his glory be seen through you? That has nothing to do with you. I suspect it has so much more to do with honesty and humility. I still don’t understand humility. Seeing my vanity so frequently is the thorn in my side.
We all die, but we don’t die in vain unless we die still serving ourselves. Today, for all of us, I pray that God would purify the interests of our hearts. We all need his constant presence and reminder to remain small. His grace should be enough for us. Pride will be the noose around every good thing if we resist relying on his love alone.