or stand in the place of the great,for it is better to be told, “Come up here,”
than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.
Yesterday, I received an email from a trusted younger brother. He basically asked me how I avoid idolizing other leaders and how I avoid the lust for the type of influence they have. Although stated in fairly general terms, it seemed to me that he was calling me out, at least to a degree. Although that was not his intention, he would have been justified in doing so.
I confess that I am glad that I have an influence upon others. I do not think that, in and of itself, is sinful. Certainly, the apostle Paul called people to look upon his life to know how to act, not that I am in any regards like the apostle. However, I think that Christians should seek to have influence upon others. That is discipleship.
The danger for me is that it is so easy to move from seeking to have an influence upon others for the glory of God, to sending a subtle message to encourage them to look at me. As I was thinking and praying yesterday, I considered some of the things that I have said to others and some of the things that I have shared on Facebook, and it is clear that I have shared not so much to point to Christ but to make others say, "wow, he must be popular or well connected." As a sinner, that is one of the points at which Satan knows he can attack me. When Satan told Jesus that he would give him all the kingdoms of the world, I hesitate for a moment and say, "really Jesus? He said ALL of the kingdoms. Do you really understand how popular, how powerful, that would make you?" Lust for influence is an addictive drug.
God has allowed me some really amazing opportunities throughout my life. When considering how my life is going, I can resonate with Dave Ramsey who says "better than I deserve." However, I have too often taken those opportunities as chances to glorify myself.
I pray that the things that I share with others, the things I write in social media, the thoughts of my heart would seek to draw my heart and the hearts of others to Jesus. However, I also pray that God, in his mercy, would forgive me for my pride and arrogance. I would ask too that if you have been someone who has seen in me this tendency that you would also forgive me.
One of my favorite verses, one which I meditate upon often is Psalm 115:1--"Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to Your Name give glory."