Monday, 22 August 2011

It's not all about me!

Humility is a never ending journey and pride seems to rear its head in many, many different guises. Just when you think you’ve overcome pride in one area of your it is again in a different form. We sometimes forget that this is God our Father gently sanctifying us and showing us what our next step is.

Recently I’ve started to realise that I’ve been getting prideful when it comes to other followers of Jesus. I see other Christians going a bit lukewarm, getting complacent and apathetic and doing things which frustrate me. I see them sinning and immediately I judge them. I don’t necessarily speak to them about it (although confrontation in a loving way is a good thing) but in my head I’ve put myself above them. It’s not that I’ve recognised their sinfulness; it’s that I’m elevating myself above them. I’m ignoring the plank in my own eye and focussing on the speck in theirs (Matthew 7:3-5).

This is clear-cut pride.
But it’s so easy to do and so easy to miss – we think we’re being holy when actually we’re being hypocritical.

Philippians 2:3 says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourself.”

Now that is hard and isn’t going to happen overnight and actually it’s not always obvious how to do this. When I identified this new pride in my life I began praying to God:
‘Ok. So how do I see others (Christians in this case) as better than myself when it seems they’re sinning more than me? When it seems I’m in a better place than them spiritually?’

Today I felt God answer me. He spoke a single sentence to me which changed my perspective. I don’t fully understand it but I’m trying to apply it. I heard God’s voice:

You’re not here on this Earth to make the best possible you. To make you into a world changer. To make you be on fire. To make you be as close to God as possible. You’re here to make other people into these things

Okay you might be thinking that’s completely wrong, maybe a bit heretical and unbiblical – when I first heard it I thought the same. The more I thought about it though, the more it made sense. The Gospel message is all about other people – it isn’t about ourselves, it’s about sharing it with others. To love God and to love other people. It’s sacrificial. We give ourselves to God for His Kingdom sake.
As people we are so selfish and even as Christians we become so obsessed with ourselves and our walk with God we can lose sight of this. Our role is to bring other people as close to God as possible, to equip other people, to enable other people and to let God do what only He can do in their lives.
When we do this then actually we ourselves will become the best possible us, the biggest world changers, the most on fire Christ followers and will grow closer to God ourselves. God is in the detail: He said to me ‘you’re not here to make yourself into....’ but as we invest in other people and focus our attention on them as being more important than us, actually God makes us into these things and blesses us abundantly in these ways too.

Rather than getting frustrated when I see other followers acting sinfully I’m now trying to pray for them immediately and remind myself – You are here on this Earth to challenge, strengthen, uplift and impact that person. It’s not all about you. This won’t happen straight away but hopefully will gain momentum and become a habit. From that I know God will show me the next step.

I hope that makes sense, it kind of all came out at once and if I’m honest I don’t 100% understand it all but that’s my mini-epiphany for the day and I hope it challenges you to value others above yourself, to lift your focus off yourself and onto raising up others. I challenge you to invest your prayer for others to be more blessed than yourself – for others to have better opportunities and more fruit than yourself. It’s a big prayer.

Value others above yourself. I’m challenging myself in this and excited about what God is doing in others...not just in me....

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