January 4, 2012

Look What I Did!
Laura MacCorkle, Crosswalk.com Senior Editor

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. James 4:10, NIV

“So . . . have we talked about me, yet?”

Several years ago, my good friend Jeremy and I would always kid each other with that question during our conversations. It was said after one of us realized we were talking way too much about ourselves, about our accomplishments or about anything that we wanted the other to know so he or she could give up some props and praise.

It was said in jest, but also with an ounce of truth. For we really were so self-focused that the other would periodically enter into the “conversation coma” while listening. You know . . . the whole eyes glazed over, occasional nodding of the head and maybe an “uh huh” every now and then type of thing. 

I have gotten that a lot with my friends over the years. But I used to just think, Well, I’m just very verbal and like to over-describe things and tell really good stories . . . so that must be why people can’t stay focused on what I’m talking about. Right.

Several times recently, the Holy Spirit has checked me on that interpretation. In one instance, I was sharing with a small group about my “ministry” of reaching out to back-burner Christians. I think if I had just simply said that I feel like the Lord surrounds me with these people and has allowed me to speak into their lives and that’s all, then that would have been fine. 

But ohhhhh no. I had to go on and on and list example after example of how I had “helped” and “ministered” and said exactly the right words to help a brother or sister see his or her bad life decisions, so that they would get back on track with the Lord. 

I didn’t realize what kind of a peacock moment this was was until later on. I’ve also noticed that I tend to be less than humble when it comes to sharing about my acts of service. I won’t fall into my own trap and list them all out right here and now, but I sure would love to. Why? Because I want the praise. I want the recognition. I want to feel like Sally Field at the Oscars and know that “You like me . . . you really like me.” 

And that’s where I get it all wrong. The Bible says that the Lord is the one who is supposed to lift us up. Not us.

“This is the one I esteem:  he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word” (Isa. 66:2b, NIV).

Even if no one ever found out what my “good deeds” were or how I prayed for this person or how I gave financially here and there, I should still be satisfied in knowing that God knows. Because everything I do should be for his glory and not my own. It’s a tough pill to swallow for someone who enjoys running her own fan club. But Jesus tells us to live counter to our culture and to our fleshly desires. 

Let us encourage ourselves—and one another—to seek humility and look to what HE is doing in our lives!

Intersecting Faith & Life: Think about an upcoming good deed that you are planning. Tell no one what you are going to do or afterward what you’ve done. The Lord knows, you will have glorified him, and he will be pleased. That’s all that matters.

Further Reading:

Matt. 6:1-4, NIV

Matt. 23:12, NIV