Pride & Ambition. The original sin. It’s what caused Lucifer to rebel. It is what persuaded Adam and Eve to take the first bite of “self” that set the stage for our own feast of self-importance.
I have, like many other people, struggled throughout my own life with pride and ambition. I want God to do mighty things, but inside I want to insist that he does them through me. I want Him to be glorified, but I would like to at least bask in the reflection of His glory. That is the ugly truth.
I was recently at a meeting with almost 1000 of my peers, all leaders within our organization. All of us experts in our fields, skilled in mentoring, church planting, discipling, leading, teaching and on and on. There was not a sense of competition or pride in the air. But in my heart, I found jealousy when I was not called upon to speak into topics which I was well versed. I was secretly indignant when I wasn’t introduced or lauded for creative answers to persistent problems.
To be honest, it frightened me. I was unaware of this greedy, ambitious monster living in my heart. But there he was none the less, settled in and comfortable. He has been residing there for years, maybe decades. Today, I am serving him his eviction notice!
This is my confession: I am a Son of Adam, made in the image of God, but prone to worship at the altar of self.
This struggle is hereditary. It’s never going away. But I will continually submit my “self” to Him. Let Him sanctify me. Burn away the sickness in my heart.
Sanctification SUCKS! It hurts. You get this burning sensation in your chest as you release your own sin and self-importance, while your sinful heart desperately desires to hold on to it. I find myself physically clinching my eyes as my flesh fights the relinquishment of one of its favorite sins. But, when I open my eyes and look upon the Lord, I notice something strange. He is bigger than He was when I closed my eyes. I see things about Him I didn’t recognize just an hour ago. His Majesty is on full display.
You see, Our sin (especially the sins of Pride and Ambition) literally blinds us to the true Glory of God. We can’t see how excellent and good HE is because we are trying so hard to convince everyone else of how skilled and gifted WE are.
So, I’m gonna tell you the truth about me: I’m nothing special. The skills and gifts that I have are just an expression of Christ in me. They are parts of His character that reflect in my life. So, If you want to see the real thing, the truly amazing, the life-changing, look to Jesus, not to me. He is the source, I am just the flawed reflection. And I hope that as I submit to this terribly painful thing called sanctification, my reflection will become more clear and will reveal just how good and excellent He is.