In high school there I had this one girl that became the bandit of my breath and the captor of my heart.
She was my dream girl and I was sure I was her dream guy. I had built myself up in my own mind to the point that I was convinced I would meet this girl’s wildest dreams and be her knight in shining armor. Yeah, well, that wasn’t exactly the case. When I finally mustered but the courage to talk to her, she totally rejected me. And insult to injury, later that day I tripped right in front of her spilling chocolate milk all down the front of my shirt.
So can you identify with me? Remember those time in school where we were younger and we could convince ourselves that we were God’s gift to the world?
If we are honest, there are still times today where we are self-absorbed and need to get over ourselves.
Have you ever heard the phrase “self-glorification”? It means to magnify yourself for something much grater than what you really are; it means to glorify yourself more than the only one who deserve the glory – God. Sadly, I’ve found myself there more than I’d like to admit. A quick flip through the Bible shows me that I’m not alone in this:
The book of Daniel talks about a king named Nebuchadnezzar who was one of the most powerful rulers of all, but he was so self-centered. God did many things to make it clear that He was greater than ‘ol king Neb. For example, the Lord sent prophets to tell the king what his dreams were and what they meant. God also proved His power to King Nebuchadnezzar when he threw Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into a fiery furnace and the walked out alive! All these events that we read about in Daniel 1-4 were specific spat shots of God’s Greatness, yet it seemed that Kind Neb Never got the picture!
The king still did not want to fully obey the Lord. In Daniel 4:30-32, while the king is looking over his kingdom and talking about how great he is, God finally was like that’s enough! God turned him into a person who acted like an ox, and he went around for 7 years eating grass.
Just so I won’t forget this life lesson that King Nebuchadnezzar had to learn from become like an ox, I have hung a large picture of an ox in my office to remind me to stay humble. You see, many of us say that we love God and are his servants, but we live like we’re just as good without Him. Here are a few things I’ve done to ensure that my head never get’s to big to fit through the doorway – if you know what I mean:
- Pray daily for humility. When I pray and keep the Cross of Christ at the center of my life, God’s Spirit is faithful to remind me that I am nothing without Him.
- Humble myself. The Bible never says “Be humble,” it tells us to “Humble ourselves” – this is an active command that requires intentionality and discipline.
- Ensure that I have people around me to keep me in reality. It is easy to put your head above the clouds and get high on yourself. I must have people in my life – my wife, accountability partner, family, etc. – who are not afraid to speak the truth to me, in love.
- “Momento Mori” – “Remember you will die.” I remind myself often that my life is a vapor and God is the only sovereign and everlasting God. Thinking of death is a fast way to put life in the right perspective.
- Keeping my sin in front of me and always in check. I make it a practice to ask God for forgiveness for my sins, but I must always been keeping then in check. Believe me, this is not always comfortable, but it is important.
Bottom Line: God is not content with being 2nd best. If we really want to be good servants of Jesus Christ, we have to give Him the glory by not focusing on ourselves. Things, people, money, and power aren’t bad, but when they consume us then there’s a problem.
Nebuchadnezzar had to learn the hard way when God turned him into an ox. Maybe the Lord won’t turn you into a wild animal, but maybe He’s tugging on your heart and telling you that you need to stop paying so much attention to yourself and start focusing in on Him.