Are you honouring God?
Are you reflecting Jesus?
Pride is what can stop you from taking that leap of faith because of your fear of failing or looking stupid or foolish. Yet that unfulfilled leap may be a bridge into a new ministry that God has for you. In my case it was public speaking, whether for an audience of four or four hundred, it was all the same to me. It may seem to be fear that stops you, but it can also be pride. When you say “I am scared of standing there in front of all those people” what you could be really saying is I don’t want people to change their perception of me, or value me less, if I mess things up. It is placing focus on yourself, rather than people seeing Jesus through you.
Reflecting Jesus is largely what we have been put on this earth for and we can’t let our pride get in the way of fulfilling this important mandate. Here are some of the ways it can be manifested:
- Research has revealed clergy as one of the most insecure of all professional groups. This compels them to seek praise and attention from others, in order to feel loved and secure.
- Christians often have a driven need to be right, especially on theological issues that are open to interpretation. This is an exercising of their Greek nature, where we can tend to consider ourselves right and everyone else wrong! All very black and white. A person who needs to be right has an exalted investment in himself or herself and can often justify themselves with the declaration ‘God told me’ or ‘God showed me’.
- We can be quite argumentative. When we argue our point of view, especially to those in authority over us, we can be allowing pride to get the better of us. Isn’t it a better reflection of Jesus to arrive at a mutual understanding without resorting to ‘handbags’.
- Sometimes we can develop a pattern of needing others to listen to us rather than first hearing others. This neediness can be motivated by pride or insecurity.
- If we are irritable or impatient with others, the root can be anger, caused by pride. It demonstrates an inflated self-opinion and it can be because we feel that our views, time or needs are more important than the other person’s.
- Lack of a submissive attitude. Submission is the voluntary placement of oneself under the influence, control or authority of another. When an individual pledges their submission to you or another, yet is critical or argumentative of that authority, then pride is the hidden issue. The test of humility and submission is being able to say ‘yes’, maintain a positive attitude and trust God, especially when the decision of your authority goes against your grain or better judgment.
- How good are we at dealing with negative or corrective feedback? This too is pride. Ideally we should be able to receive correction and allow this to make a change within us. On the flip side we may have a need for others to accept our advice and it is important that the correction we give to others is without strings attached. If we find ourselves resenting the fact that our advice is not followed, pride has surely taken hold.
- How some clergy love their titles. Being a ‘pastor’ is surely a function not a form, a spiritual vocation rather than a title that you can append to your name to add importance and boost your self-esteem.
Here’s a passage that best sums up how we should view ourselves in relation to God and he whom we are endeavouring to reflect:
Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. (Philippians 2:12-16)
More next week …
This is an extract from the book, Livin’ the Life, available for £10 at https://www.sppublishing.com/livin-the-life-151-p.asp