I’ve discovered no matter how much money people make in America, it’s never enough. People will eventually spend it all trying to live up to their preconceived status. People want to impress people. We want people to be impressed with our accomplishments and our sacrifices. This is all a part of our sinful human nature– The Bible calls “the pride of life.” If you ever have the desire for others to see you and your acomplishments…understand, it is sin.
The problem is as believers, we know it is sin to seek praise from the world and other Christians. What we know and what we do about it are two different issues. Unless you have purposefully crucified this area of your life, you desperately want other Christians to view you as a “Spiritual Somebody.”
I got some “Free To Be Nothing News” for you today. If God is not blowing a trumpet so that others notice you, then don’t consciously or unconsciously try to blow it yourself. In the church, the sin of pride and desire for spiritual recognition has reached epidemic proportions.
People often want others to know of their accomplishments in God’s Kingdom. Like the world, we want others to be aware of what we have given, what we’ve sacrificed, and how deeply holy we really are. If you have another believer out there who actually believes you are a spiritual man or woman of God, and you know you are NOT walking the walk, you are not just a hypocrite, you are a prideful hypocrite. Because what you really want accomplish is to give the appearance of holiness without actually possessing the integrity of it before God. If this is the case, you need to be setting the record straight. It is not wrong for others to see a holy person in action. It must authentic holiness, not a sideshow. Jesus was free to be nothing and we should strive to live the same way.
“He made himself nothing (of no reputation).” Philippians 2:7
Focus on the word “made” for just a moment. In other words, it was Jesus’ choice and He followed through with it to the cross. He didn’t empty Himself of His God likeness. We know when Jesus was on the earth, He was 100% man and 100% God. The question is, of what did He empty Himself? Jesus emptied Himself of His reputation.
Jesus, though he had the opportunity to impress others, knew it was not the way of the Father or the cross. We do not deserve the glory of men, but many try so hard to impress others. Jesus was worthy of all glory and praise. Yet, He voluntarily set everything aside for the glory of the cross. How much more, we who do not deserve any praise, should set aside every fleshly impulse to impress people. If we would just be honest with ourselves, most would have to admit we have had problems in this area. No one ever confronts us about it, because it lurks deep within our heart. Yet, the fleshly impulses to impress others is probably the number one unchecked sin in the church today.
We LOVE TO HEAR PEOPLE SAY…
- “He/She just loves the Lord.” (There is nothing wrong with people saying it. The problem is you like to hear people say it. It enhances your reputation and further complicates your inward deception.)
- “He is always so faithful.”
- “He tithes more that anyone in the church.”
- “What would we do without __________ being here every service?”
- “She is so modest.”
- “He’s a Prayer Warrior.”
- “She is so thin and beautiful.“
Again, there is nothing wrong with people saying these things, unless we relish it and secretly want it stated about us.
A young woman asked for an appointment with her pastor to talk with him regarding a besetting sin about which she was worried. When she saw him, she said, “Pastor, I have become aware of a sin in my life which I cannot control. Every time I am at church I begin to look around at the other women, and I realize that I am the prettiest one in the whole congregation. None of the others can compare with my beauty. What can I do about this sin?” The pastor replied, “Mary, that’s not a sin, why that’s just a mistake!”
Listen to what Jesus said about this very issue.
“Take care! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired, because then you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give a gift to someone in need, don’t shout about it as the hypocrites do–blowing trumpets in the synagogues and the streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I assure you, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone, don’t tell your left hand what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in secret, and your Father, who knows all secrets, will reward you.” Matthew 6:1-4
Did you catch what Jesus was communicating to us? Half the battle is found in not performing before others. The other half of the battle is not performing our good deeds before ourself. I know it sounds crazy. You may do a good thing, but in reality it becomes worthless, because it was done with the wrong motive and attitude. We’re so influenced by a results oriented society, sometimes we forget God isn’t as interested in our results as He is in our hearts.
- Trying to maintain a spiritual reputation places the emphasis in the wrong areas of life.
- Trying to maintain a spiritual reputation takes the focus OFF Christ and places it on us.
- Trying to maintain spiritual reputations causes us to view and treat people differently.
- Trying to maintain spiritual reputations causes others to feel inferior.
- Holding on to our spiritual reputations causes believers to emulate us instead of Jesus Christ, who made Himself of no reputation.
There is only One Spiritual Giant. His name is Jesus Christ.
Jesus said of the church of Sardis, in Revelation 3:1, “I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive–but you are dead.” One commentator said it like this, “the church at Sardis was like a well-adorned corpse at a funeral, but God was not fooled! We may give the appearance of life for a while, but it is not truly healthy.” You may succeed in fooling men that you are spiritual, but God is not fooled.
If everybody is so busy doing the things that will impress people, it doesn’t leave anybody to do those things that are truly important. And the body cannot be maintained unless all of it’s functions are carried out.
How much better it is to do something that nobody ever knows about, but will make an eternal difference for the Kingdom of God? How much better it is to never obtain the recognition of men, but for it to be said of you like it was of Noah, “But Noah found favor with the Lord“? (Genesis 6:8) Let your focus today be to find favor with God. Forget about your spiritual reputation on earth. Get a reputation in heaven.