Pride and selfishness for all of history have been deadly enemies to God's church. Loving oneself too much has caused many Christians to act in ways that have literally destroyed God's church beyond repair. Many Children of God who have simply loved themselves too much have viciously attacked pastors, staff, other Christians in the flock and have caused irreparable damage to everyone around them. Satan just loves getting Christians to think too highly of themselves. These folks want their church and every detail in their church their way. They honestly believe that God has called them to run, control, and protect His church.
But these folks love themselves to such a high degree that they don't see what their actions and attitudes really do to the very church that they say they love so much.
So aspiring to leadership is commendable. Paul said, "If someone aspires to be an elder, he desires an honorable position." (1 Tim. 3:1). But there is a difference between stepping forward to take on the responsibility of leadership, and stepping forward to project yourself into the limelight. Harry Truman once said, "If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen."
Another question isn't whether you enjoy the focus of attention, but whether you can take the heat that goes along with it. For every person who acknowledges our skills and appreciates out accomplishments, there'll be ten who make demands on our time, talent, treasure, and will be out to get you.
Consider Barnabas. When the gospel was first preached to the Gentiles, church leaders in Jerusalem sent Barnabas to check it out. "When he came and had seen the grace of God, he was glad, and encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord. For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and …faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord" (Acts 11:23-24).
Barnabas had three(3) great qualities…
1. He had nothing to prove. He never sought the limelight. When he mentored Paul, he gladly let the emerging apostle rise above him, supporting him every step of the way.
2. He had nothing to lose. He didn't seek to guard his reputation or fear losing his popularity. He wanted to serve, not be served.
3. He had nothing to hide. He didn't try to maintain a façade or image. There were no skeletons in his closet. He remained authentic, vulnerable, and transparent.
And best of all, he rejoiced in the success of others.
Can each of us do that? Can we live that kind of life? Or is it all about you?
So I ask again…"Do you love yourself too much?" Do you love the Lord more than you love yourself? That's the starting point. God must be first…and not ourselves!
I hope God is blessing you and I hope to see you loving yourself just a little bit less this Sunday!