One Sunday, Brooke and I visited a church that was led in worship by a long-time friend of mine. Because the Sunday was just after Christmas, he led worship by himself. The Holy Spirit moved powerfully. Worship was super rich!
After church I told him how much I experienced our Father’s presence because of his worship leading. He replied in a way that so many of us do in these circumstances. And his reply is at the heart of why so many of us struggle to feel great about ourselves. And his reply makes me shake my head and clinch on the inside.
He said, “It was all God, man.”
Now, over the years I have found a workaround to this seemingly humble response to being complimented. Mind you our struggle to receive compliments is not limited to the Kingdom work we do. Many of us struggle to receive compliments period. In fact, I find most of us are stuck in a garbage dump of steaming trash because we will not accept any credit for the good we do but we will take 100% responsibility for the bad we do!
That is an inescapable garbage dump of steaming trash where one can never feel good about oneself. If there is any good it is all God. If there is any bad it is 100% you.
Can you smell the trash?
And that mentality is a definition of bondage – something from which you cannot be freed.
BUT there is another way. Watch the available relief that I offered to my worship leading friend. He replies to my compliment with the oft invoked, “It was all God, man.” I answer his lame words by saying, “To the degree that you said yes to how the Holy Spirit was leading you this morning according to the will of our Father in the name of Jesus our King, you did an excellent job!”
He paused. His wheels turned. He was processing. Was it safe for him to agree with what I said? Is it prideful? Does saying yes to this somehow rob the Creator of the Universe of due glory? Would he be struck by lightning if he accepted what I said?
Apparently, my words successfully navigated his fear of pride and his want for humility because he looked at me and said, “I can accept that! Thank you for the kind words!”
All that just to receive a compliment about doing a great job!
Ah, but there go so many of us in Christ. Are we allowed to feel good about the work we do? As people, spouses, parents, in our careers, in various decisions we make, is it okay for us to enjoy ourselves? Even more so, are we allowed to feel great about who we are? Beyond our what can we celebrate our who???
I get the fear. We fear our pride. And pride is horrible by itself, but it is also the source of so many other issues. Any time we make our lives about us we are in serious trouble.
In addition to fear of pride, I get the fear of robbing God our Father of His due glory. We are to glorify God our Father in all circumstances. We want our lives to shine a light on Him, not us. So, the belief goes, if I feel great about something I have done then I am robbing God and I don’t want to rob God.
So how do we navigate pride, humility and feeling great?
By continuously letting Father, Son, and Holy Spirit go first in all things. You can love, celebrate, and feel great about yourself in humility without fear as you embrace and enjoy…
- The Divine love you will experience (John 16:27, John 15:9)
- The new nature you will be given (John 3:1-8, 2 Corinthians 5:17)
- The ongoing transformation you will know (2 Corinthians 3:18, Philippians 3:21, 1 John 3:2)
- And the significant work in which you will engage (Romans 12:2, Hebrews 12:1-2)
For all of these will be FAR richer, purer, more powerful, and incredible than ANYTHING you could ever do for yourself. FAR BEYOND. And, yet, in the journey of living every one of these you will have to continue to say yes. You will have to continue to agree with what our Father wants to give you, do in you, and do through you.
The FAR BEYOND you LIFE that allows you to feel great about yourself in Spirit-generated humility is summarized by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.Ephesians 2:8-10
How can one who embraces, and lives, the Ephesians 2 LIFE not feel great about oneself?
One day God appeared to Noah and told him to build a boat. God, fed up with creation, was going to wipe everyone out with a flood. Noah, his family, and two of every kind of animal would be saved. So Noah built a boat. The floods came. Judgement happened. Destruction occurred. When the water subsided the boat rested on dry land. The animals departed. Noah and his family left. And God started again with the survivors.
- Did Noah do a good job building the boat? How do you know?
- Whose idea was it to build the boat?
- Should Noah feel great about his role in building the boat?
- Is it prideful if he does?
Brothers and sisters, more than building boats God our Father has called us to advance His Kingdom. His call on your life is SO FAR BEYOND anything you could ever accomplish on your own. SO FAR BEYOND. To do the work of God our Father is to live in continual wonder that someone like you has the calling and the ability to do whatever it is He has called you to do.
To the degree that I have been responsible for saying yes to who my Father wants me to be and what He has called me to do in the leading of the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus, I feel great about myself! I say that freely in all humility, with no fear of pride, because there is NO WAY I can be the man I am or do the things I do a part from Him.
Be freed to enjoy yourself. Be freed to truly feel great about who you are. REJECT every lie and every liar that even whispers you are less than anything God our Father says you are. REJECT every lie and every liar that denies the value add you bring to the work our Father calls you to do.
Smile at yourself.
Bless our Father for the LIFE He has given you.
And the next time someone compliments you, PLEASE just say, “Thank you.”
For the work God has called us specifically to do – He will not do it without us. For the work God has called us specifically to do — We cannot do it without God. God calls us and equips us for the purpose He has for us but we must say yes. This yes should not result in pride, because it should come through our desire to be faithful stewards as we seek to please our Father and walk in the work He has prepared for us.
This comment is made as a question and not as a statement of certainty.
Thank you for your good word today.
Hey Greg…If that is a question I am unclear on what it is. What you said is spot on! We can feel great about ourselves because of the lives and work given to us but we cannot take the credit for them. There should be life-giving freedom in our days as we are liberated from the pressure of manufacturing our own paths. Feel free to restate your question if my answer doesn’t land right.