I came across the followng on John Piper’s Desiring God blog and it struck such a chord with me that I decided to put it on here. Whilst I was at University in England I often studied the Bible with my pastor 1-2-1. These times were major blessings to me in my life as he unravelled the truths of Scripture to me, prayed with me and exhorted me. One thing he exhorted me with was to be wary of pride. This was something I had never really given serious thought to. Now, my former pastor’s voice echoes in my mind every time I am tempted to be prideful or seek the applause of men. I HATE my pride and Oh how I wish the Lord would remove it altogether. I give a talk and want people to say it was great. We talk about God and His Word and I want to come across like I know so much. I want to be liked, accepted, loved, respected and thought much of. How awful is that? The more I engage in this battle the more I discover the subtlety of the enemy and the more I see how keeping up my guard is of paramount importance. We in the West tend to fall into a slumber with regards to the battle against sin, due to the distractions of wealth, career and our hobbies etc. May we be diligent in guarding against such complacency and repent of our pride and love of men’s praise. It truly is a horrible thing to seek the praise of men, when the only praise we should be seeking is that of Jesus Christ, the Lord of Hosts.
By: Aaron O’Harra
This is the prayer I prayed over and over again this past weekend, walking from the back of the conference hall to the front:
Lord, please kill my pride and the desire I have to make a name for myself.
I was one of the speaker hosts for the Desiring God National Conference this past weekend. It was a tremendous privilege to be involved in the conference in this way. But like every good gift, it had its vice.
The Holy Spirit was constantly reminding me throughout the weekend how in-love with myself I am. This was particularly evident in how self-aware I was while escorting our guests from the back of the auditorium to the front.
It’s amazing how such a small mound of a task can well up into a mountain of pride.
I blindly interpreted audience glances directed at the speaker as being stares at me. The enemy subtly gave his pitch:
Look at all of these people looking at you! Look at how they are wondering who you are! They’re probably thinking about how important you are, because you’re escorting him to his seat. And they’re right, you are pretty important. Look at how you are making a name for yourself.
This small voice has the power to kill the soul. What starts with a seed-size desire grows into a harvest of lust. And the quiet temptation to be noticed with these men flourishes into a lust to be them.
I believe that many who attend conferences like this hear the same voice, perhaps especially young men and pastors. It’s the voice that entices us by saying that to have “made it” as a pastor is to one day be that conference speaker.
This ambition—this lust for praise—is from the devil and not from God. To those who feel this like I do, let’s not treat our accomplishments as trophies, thinking that we’ve “made it” when we grow a church, do a conference, or write a book.
Let’s be faithful to God and the ministry he’s called us to, whether it’s to 10 people or 10,000. The accolades of 10,000 are as nothing in comparison to the approval of one.
I thank God for his powerful words and the wonder of his son in giving me this warning:
Beware of the scribes [me], who like to walk around in long robes, and love greetings in the marketplaces and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts…They will receive the greater condemnation. (Mark 12:38-40)
In the end, God will not be impressed that I talked with Bob Kauflin, or shook the hand of Mark Driscoll, or saved a seat for Paul Tripp, or that I know John Piper. The only thing God will care about is “Did you talk with the poor? Did you shake the hand of the leper? Did you save a seat for the lame? And most of all, did you know my son?”