In his book, Follow Me, Pastor Jan Hettinga wrote, “Has your ‘right to yourself’ felt the ax? That’s what salvation is designed to accomplish. True repentance and faith ego-proof us. Our independent self-rule is broken at the cross.” Humility can be measured by the air we exhale. Self-focused leaders constantly inflate their glory balloons. If they are not puffing up, they blow away any who might disagree or question them. Their need for grandeur is always tethered to insecurity.
This week, I observed a new commander preside over a large number of leaders representing programs across the western half of the U.S. I don’t know if this man knows Jesus, but at least two times he demonstrated impressive humility. During our first day of long sessions, Colonel (promotable) Price informed the audience that he welcomed discord because it is often through dissension that an organization is able to grow and improve. Consequently, throughout the day, men and women felt free to voice concerns and objections over the way the command functioned. That night Price presided over a dinner with all the senior leaders present. After eating, he asked for feedback on the content and execution of the earlier sessions. Because of the teachable spirit he modeled, leaders again felt free to express their concerns. Rather than get irritated or defensive about some of the more negative feedback, COL Price was calm and affirming. Instead of criticism giving birth to tension, there was mature discussion and shared growth. We witnessed a leader who seemed liberated from the need to be right.
Proverbs 25:27—It is not good to eat too much honey, or to seek glory after glory.
The more we wrap our worth around our ego and chase after praise, the surer and more painful we shall learn the meaning of dust. The Psalmist wrote, “The LORD knows man's thoughts; they are meaningless” (Psa. 94:11). Jesus did not die for our egos. He died for our souls. He taught, “Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child—this one is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Mat. 18:4). Heaven has no trophy rooms or ribbon displays for what we did in the pursuit of our name. All glory goes to the God who made us in His image. That redeemed image is the model of humility, love, and obedience. Our greatest accomplishment on earth is to be like Christ, the King who came to be a servant. If we believe in Him and love Him, there is no need for self-adulation.
Egotism is a conceited insistence on my own particular ways and manners and customs. It is an easily discernible characteristic, and fortunately is condemned straightway by right thinking people.—Oswald Chambers in Biblical Psychology
©2010 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)