My pride got a kick in the shins this past week. In a conversation, someone asked if I was my friend’s personal assistant.
Uh, no. She’s my friend. And why do you think I’m her assistant? I wanted to pout. Why can’t you assume she’s my assistant?
I’m laughing at it now. Funny how these things happen. God gives me circumstances where sometimes I’m sure He’s watching just so He can enjoy my shocked reaction.
In my heart, I immediately knew why the mistake had ruffled my feathers, and the answer wasn’t so funny.
Pride. It’s what gets me every time.
Pride is the sin that is said to be “pregnant with all other sins.” In small doses, it can still be deadly; leading us to envy, to covet, and even to hate.
The apostle Paul had plenty of reasons to be proud—he was smart, a Pharisee (one of the “holiest” of the Jews), and had his life figured out. That is, until Jesus struck him with blindness. (For the full story, read Acts 9.) The blindness and the love he subsequently received from Jesus’ followers, broke down the pride in Paul’s heart.
Later on, when Paul wrote his letters to the Romans, he wrote down his new title. He wasn’t a Pharisee any longer. He didn’t identify himself with his intellectualism or education anymore. Instead, his title was short:
“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus…”
For the new, humble version of Paul, the word “servant” was enough. His change must’ve seemed huge to the people who knew him best. One day,
Paul was the cocky do-gooder; the next, he was humbled by grace.
His change isn’t such a shock, though, if you consider the God he followed. In Psalms, humility is actually mentioned as a quality of God: “Who is like the LORD our God, who is enthroned on high, who humbles Himself to behold the things that are in heaven and in the earth?” (Psalm 113:5-6).
It’s no wonder then, that He calls us to be humble too. Just the same, the kind of humility He calls us to isn’t mousey; it’s not the kind of humility that sits quietly in the corner and does nothing. Instead, we’re told to trade in our pride for greater things. We’re allowed to be honest about our weaknesses. We’re freed from defensiveness and freed from being threatened by others abilities. And more than all that–we’re allowed to assist God. Pretty amazing, right? Especially since He doesn’t need our help.
In the words of Louie Giglio, “God knows you better than you know yourself. He knows just how small and frail you are. He knows you’re just one person, and a tiny one at that. He knows all the things that you are not–and He made you that way for a purpose. That’s why He has never asked you to be more than you are–little you with a great big God.
But God also is in touch with just how potent He is, desiring to do huge, God-sized things through you if you’re ready to abandon the path of making more of self and embrace the miracle of being small, yet knowing His name.It all starts when you look up.”(Louie Giglio, I Am Not But I Know I AM.)
I love that. “Embrace the miracle of being small, yet knowing His name.” If we look at ourselves truthfully, that’s the highest hope we can attain. Superstardom, wealth, praise, beauty—all those achievements are temporary. Serving God, now that’s something that can make a mark, forever.
I’m starting to like the ring of “personal assistant” now. What about you?