We need to empty our lives of the accumulation of ego. Things that appeal to ego, or pride are what caused Lucifer to fall, Adam and Eve to eat of the fruit, person after person in the biblical record to fail, and is what Lucifer tempted Jesus with in the wilderness.
Ego and pride ruin marriages. Tear down businesses. Steal opportunities and kill friendships. We can’t make the mistake that inflated ego and pride are synonymous with confidence. Actually they are the exact opposites. People who are carried away with ego and pride are insecure people. Secure people are confident. Confidence is calm assurance that I am who God created me to be.
Ego and pride are what keep people from repenting. Many times our status with others is more important than our status with God. We need to make a decision that our lives will be centered on Christ, not around our wants, fears, passions, or desires, but around His purpose, plans, and destiny for our lives.
Can you imagine what it would be like to have all the essential attributes of God; His power, glory, omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence, and then give it all up, even for a season, and take on all the essential characteristics of man. Having to grow and develop, face temptations, limitations, and accusations. (Read Philippians 2:5-15 in the amplified).
It would be somewhat like a general in the military getting stripped of his authority and demoted to the level of a private with no authority. Jesus didn’t have his rank taken from him. He gave it. We are so busy trying to obtain rank in life that it would never cross our minds to strip ourselves of it. It would violate our ego and our pride. So how do we do it? First, we think like Christ thinks. We renew our minds according to His word. (Romans 12:1-2) Second, it takes action. (James 1:25) We need to obey especially when it hurts our pride and challenges our ego.
Several years ago, before I came to harvest I had a leadership conflict with a man on my elder team. I had to remove him from the team for behavioral issues. I was right in the situation, according to the bible and our leadership values. He was definitely in the wrong. It was a long, hard situation. Finally by the grace of God the whole thing subsided. The church moved on, we got healthy and had some great successes there. A couple years later we moved to another ministry, but I couldn’t seem to get past this hurt. I would pray, and study and my mind would go back to him, and how he hurt me and the church.
One night I was praying, and the Lord begin to deal with me about allowing my thoughts to be dominated by the past. I thought He was going to say, “You need to forgive him.”, but instead he said, “You need to call him and ask him to forgive you, ‘there are some things about that situation you could have handled differently’.”
My immediate response was, “no!” “Lord”, I said, “you know what he did.” Until He said, “David your life can not move forward until you get this out of the way, so be humble and apologize.” I begin to rehearse what I would say, maybe something like, “I don’t condone the way you acted but I could have handled it differently, I’m sorry.” To my ego that sounded great, I am reinforcing my judgment, yet doing what God said at the same time. I could here the Holy Spirit saying, “No, you are going to say, ‘I’m sorry that in our conflict I did not handle some things appropriately’.” And that’s it. I thought, “I can’t do this, it’s not right. The issue at this point wasn’t who was right or wrong, or even if I handled it right. The issue was if I didn’t get over it, I couldn’t move forward. I couldn’t be successful in ministry on a large scale. Thank God, he had me do this. So, I called him. I was expecting a cussing, literally. I thought He is going to tare into me. I was hoping to get an answering machine, but he finally picked it up. I told him who it was, and said, I’ve been praying and the Lord told me to call you. I just want to apologize because in our conflict I didn’t handle everything appropriately, and for that I’m truly sorry. I was amazed at his response. He said, “You know David, we did a lot of things wrong back then and I am sure it was hard for you to deal with. ‘Thanks for calling me’, he said, ‘and I apologize for my behavior’.” Wow! I was amazed, at his humility and how easy it was to change once you get pride out of the way.
One of my favorite scriptures in the bible is Galatians 2:20, especially as read from the message bible. “20Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central…” So let’s empty our lives and take whatever action we need to help us move forward in the journey to turn things around. Forgive, release, but most importantly, Kill the ego and pride, and let humility lead you.