Good or bad. It makes no difference. If our focus is on ourselves, we can be easily turned. Turned to follow our own desires and cravings, rather than God’s will.
Paul gave a word of advice to each of us:
“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” (Romans 12:3 ESV)
Don’t think more highly (or lowly) of ourselves. Instead, think soberly. Another way of saying it is, “Think accurately and truthfully”.
Years ago, in 1981, God was beginning to use me as a worship leader around the central Iowa area. I began to minister somewhat regularly at the Full Gospel Businessman’s Fellowship monthly dinners. I was “making a name for myself”, yes indeed. People would tell me what a wonderful job I did, and, of course, I humbly agreed.
Did you know that praise can lead to more trouble than a naked woman on the internet?
“Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but a person is tested by being praised.” (Proverbs 27:21 NLT)
About a year later, 1982, I was sure I had hit the big time. Indeed. A radio minister from the Kansas City area had contacted me after hearing of me through the FGBMF area leaders. The Kansas City minister was coming to Des Moines and needed a worship leader. So, God’s man of faith and power for the hour was ready and willing to minister.
Wow! I knew I had hit stardom when my wife, son, and I were given a motel room to stay in during the 3 day conference. I’d never been treated that way before. And to go along with my new, big time image, I brought 7 different suits and sport jackets to change into. I didn’t want to wear anything more than once.
The big time!
Shortly after that tremendous ministry to nightly crowds of 20-25, I was given an opportunity to meet Kenneth Copeland’s band leader. Handing him a cassette of some songs I had written, we listened to the demo together. He really liked one particular song, and played it for Kenneth.
Soon I was sent a contract to sign allowing them to arrange and record the song on their next album. It was 99% guaranteed to be on the album which followed the “He Is Jehovah” record.
The big time!
I was counting my royalty checks and dreaming of moving to Dallas/Fort Worth to be a full time song writer (my plan, not theirs). I became so obnoxious… but, whatever. I was hitting the big time! People were just jealous.
But shortly before Kenneth and band went to the recording studio, the song was cut from the list of songs to record. I was crushed.
No more big time!
However, the seed of self greatness became lodged in my soul and then, with ten years of feeding and nurturing such a prideful spirit, I finally became so blind to truth I was ready to throw away everything of real value in my life for a another chance at the big time – Nashville.
Well, I never did make it to Nashville, but I almost lost my marriage, family, and friends. I DID lose the church my wife and I had planted.
I let the same thing turn my head that once turned the devil’s – the desire for the big time.
Thank God for forgiveness and restoration. Thank God for another chance.
I’m aware how sneaky that egotistical spirit is, and how quickly it can appear, ready to deceive. I really want to do big things for God and his kingdom, and with the Lord’s help, I will do only, exactly, what he instructs me to do – nothing more, nothing less. With the right attitude, the attitude John had:
“He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” (John 3:30 NLT)
Jesus IS big time! Now, I feel honored and privileged to just associate with him.