Shedding Self-Importance

Bryan & Lynn, Still learning to be servants

“I have had more trouble with myself than with any other man.”  D.L. Moody


April, 2000

Shortly after Lynn and I were accepted by Kachemak Bay Christian Center to be their pastor, we traveled to California to be with family for a few weeks.  On our return to Alaska we drove from Anchorage to our home in Homer on the Kenai Peninsula.  I could hardly wait to jump in and be a real pastor. It was my dream, and God had “groomed” me for this moment!

As we drove into Homer I noticed the marquee on the movie theater.  It read, “Congrats to Bryan and Abi”.  I immediately stopped the car to gawk in amazement.  I was flabbergasted.  I suddenly felt a warm flush of self importance.  Homer was recognizing me as a pastor, as well as ABI, the Bible school in town that I had been teaching at, also in Homer.

I was delighted and duly impressed with how enlightened my town had become in recognizing me since my trip ‘outside.’.  I actually drove around the block to take in this wonder and took another look.  I was completely taken in by this marquee.  My pride took over and I felt invincible.  Words would pour off my lips and my little town would be guided by my spiritual brilliance.  I felt a warm surge of “heavenly” authority.

About two weeks later I picked up the local newspaper.  As I paged through I came across an announcement for a wedding for someone named Bryan and Abby.  I suddenly pieced it together.  Abby had been an employee at that movie theater before she got married!  The management had put this message on their behalf.

Immediately the Lord jolted me back into reality.  My arrogance and pride drained from me.  I felt like a pompous ass.  I had so inflated myself, thinking I was so impressive and important that the crash devastated me.  I was not as awesome as I thought I was.  I was embarrassed by how easily I was led into this spiritual trap of self-importance.

The Bible has a great deal to say about pride and arrogance.  “One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.”   I would like to say that I have overcome this arrogance, but I catch it growing in the corners.  I can say that even though I was so self-absorbed and self-important that I am now immune from this sin.  But that would be a lie.

Jesus loves the humble.  He favors those who are poor in spirit.  But he resists people who are proud and self-sufficient.  He stands against the arrogant.  The Father hates my pride and my arrogance.

I want to encourage you to come to Jesus now.  Come as you are and He shall meet you.  Dispense with your pride and “humble yourself before the Lord”We do all right if we see ourself as ordinary and average.  Satan will look for any handle you give him.  Pride is one of his favorite ways to control you.  When the disciples tried to figure this out they ended up fighting (Mark 9:33-34).

 “But it should not be that way among you. Whoever wants to become great among you must serve the rest of you like a servant. Whoever wants to become first among you must serve the rest of you like a slave.  In the same way, the Son of Man did not come to be served. He came to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many people.”

Matthew 20:26-28, NCV

The ”marquee incident” was 15 years ago, but I am determined to remember how the Lord revealed to me my pride.  It has become humorous to me now, but at the time it was brutal.  I have had to learn through weakness.  When I am weak, He is strong.

“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”  Tim Keller

bry-signat (1)

cropped-christiangraffiti1.jpg

*

Being Lorded Over

Prasing-our-Lord-and-Savior-3-jesus-19486588-842-595

“…no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.”

1 Corinthians 12:3

“The question in salvation is not whether Jesus is Lord, but whether we are submissive to His lordship.”

  John MacArthur

Christians believe that Jesus is Lord. I suppose this really means that they regard Jesus Christ is be the supreme authority in their lives. They look to Him to be their presiding judge in all they say or do. “You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies”(1 Cor. 6:20).

Sometimes I think that as Americans we can struggle with this “Lord idea.” We don’t understand living under a sovereign king. A king that exercises total authority and lordship over his subjects. Many believers rather think of the Kingdom of God as a democracy.

Yet when we say, Jesus is Lord (as we Christians are prone to say) we really mean that He is a savior, that He has provided His blood in order to obtain our forgiveness. But this is only half of it. If Jesus is Lord it should mean what we are completely under His rule.

“…yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live.”

1 Corinthians 8:6

Lordship means sovereign control. It means He has the authority to do what He pleases with over the totality of our lives. We’re in His sphere of control. To relinquish this to Him is life’s biggest challenge.

“The lordship of Jesus is not simply a hope of Christians that someday might be realized; it is a truth that has already taken place.”

R.C. Sproul

This small post can not change anything. That is not the point. All I ask is that you consider anew the implications of what I’m saying here. Is there a daily acknowledgement to His sovereign control over your life? Does saying “Jesus is Lord” have ramifications of a submitted heart?

I can attest that Jesus is not only a worthy savior but a wonderful lord. His governance is one of love. He has never ever done anything that has been detrimental to me, “the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1-2). He is a worthy savior.

bry-signat-1

cropped-christiangraffiti1 (2)

%d bloggers like this: