Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Edging God Out

I recently heard a great acronym for the word Ego:


As you invest in yourself, it's easy to get stuck on yourself. If your focus turns inward too far, you take your eyes off the Lord. Your ego becomes inflated.

Wiktionary defines ego as the self, especially with overtones of self-importance.

We must be extremely cautious as believers to not let this take place. Edging God out of our lives puts us in the dangerous position of setting ourselves up as more important than Him. In a sense, we set ourselves up as a god of our lives.

Jesus addressed the issue of ego in connection with wealth in Luke 12: 16-20,
And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.'

"Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry."'

"But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'
Did you notice all of the personal pronouns in this story about the rich man? This guy was stuck on himself. Everything about his life was all about him. He never acknowledged God for his blessing of wealth and what God wanted him to do with it. It was all about what he was going to do with it in order to enjoy a life of ease and luxury. This guy had a huge ego.

As you pursue success and even significance, it's really easy to take the "I'm the captain of my own destiny" mentality. I believe God wants us to pursue a healthy success and significance that is rooted in His plan for our life.

In contrast to Jesus' story about this rich man, John the Baptist had a healthy perspective on his own ego and life mission. He had accomplished success and significance as he went about Israel proclaiming the coming of the Messiah. As Jesus' ministry began, John's ministry naturally began to fade. His ministry was no longer needed, because the Messiah's ministry had finally begun.

In John 3, we read that an argument had developed between John the Baptist's disciples and a certain Jew regarding ceremonial washing. When these disciples went to John to talk about this topic, a discussion broke out about how everyone was now beginning to follow Jesus instead of John.
To this John replied, "A man can receive only what is given him from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ' I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.' The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less (vs. 25-30).
John was filled with joy because he had accomplished God's mission for his life. He proclaimed the coming of the Messiah, and Jesus' ministry had now begun. John had a healthy perspective on who he was and his mission. He kept his ego in check.

How's your ego? Are you edging God out of your life, or do you have a healthy perspective on what He wants to accomplish through you here on earth?

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