“We must be ruthless in our quest to eradicate self-love in all of its deceptive forms.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – May 27, 2023
Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” … But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them. Acts 14:11, 14-15, NKJV
When people notice you or sing your praises, in big ways or small, how do you respond? Or, to be more explicit, what does it awaken in your heart? It’s possible to act humbly and uncomfortable with the adoration of others, while inwardly, we soak up every last drop!
If one of, if not the greatest ailments of the human heart is self-love, then we are hardwired to long for the respect and admiration of others, and should therefore be extra vigilant in our battle to weed it out of our lives.
In Acts 14, Paul and Barnabas found themselves the recipients of respect and wonder in the highest regard. In my own life, though people have said very kind things to me over the years and affirmed my life of ministry and service to Christ, I’ve not once had someone look at me and say “The gods have come down to us,” and I fear my chances of such praise are remarkably slim! Yet this is precisely where these holy men found themselves. And with a group of people marveling at them and hanging on their every word, it was a moment of great temptation. However, rather than giving in to the allure of power and fame, instead “They tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out and saying, ‘Men, why are you doing these things?’” (Acts 14:14-15a).
Like Paul and Barnabas, we must be ruthless in our quest to eradicate self-love in all of its deceptive forms.
This is especially true whenever we serve in the name of Christ, for a faithful servant seeks nothing more than to be found faithful by their master. Likewise, we must never receive and accept adoration that is due to Christ alone. And yet, there is a tension here, for as we look to this story, we not only honor these men for how they ran toward the life of humility, but we also strive to be like them in our Christlikeness. Even as we strive to be humble in word and deed, may we also so profoundly radiate his life to those around us that they would be left speechless as they encounter the life of the living God that lives and is at work within us.
Father, give us a love for humility and a profound discomfort with the elevation of ourselves, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
How can you grow today in your love for and embrace of the little way of humility that leads to life?
Grace Church: Give Us Clean Hands
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