Today, it seems that it is easier to become more self-centered than ever. We live in a time when we can post selfies, status updates, and opinions in an instant with the hope of competing against others for likes, retweets, and follows. Our lives are filled with temptations to compare everything we do and own with others, trying to make the world jealous.
While we don’t like to think about it, this can be true in ministry as well. Children’s ministry leaders often post opinions, ideas, and photos of their campuses online. These posts are almost always helpful and add great input to the children’s ministry community. However, if we aren’t careful we can begin doing so with the underlying desire of trumping someone else, while wearing a mask of servanthood. I mean, who wouldn’t want accolades for things that may be going well or for some type of acquired knowledge? We would never want to admit it, but since we are all “work-in-progress Christ-followers” we can still be tempted to satisfy our desires of the flesh and succumb to pride at any given moment.
After examining my motives, I have been guilty of this, in the past. The problem is that we often set our aspirations on gaining attention and praises from others, pretending like we are concerned with heavenly things, but instead it’s just a facade. We often can even fool ourselves because we can provide a positive, “Christian” reason for the attention-seeking.
This temptation isn’t new. The Pharisees were guilty of falling into it too. Jesus called them out for it on multiple occasions, one being in Luke 16. The Pharisees were often wealthy and had just heard Jesus say that you can’t love both God and money. It was commonly believed in the time of Jesus that if you were wealthy it was because you were highly favored by God. The Pharisees had a strong alibi for their desire to love money. Jesus addresses them, in verse 15, by saying,
“You are the ones who justify yourselves in the sight of others, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly admired by people is revolting in God’s sight.” (HCSB)
I know that one of my greatest temptations is pride. Thinking about this, my prayer is that God will help me to always put Him first and that anything that happens in my ministry will be just to give Him praise and glory.
Pride is the root of all sin. I want to be careful not to let it slip in under the guise of ministry or helping others, and truly keep a humble attitude and spirit.
“…everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” – Luke 18:14b (HCSB)
What about you? What do you think is your greatest temptation that can be easy to justify as not being sinful?