Have you ever known anyone who was all about themselves? I’ve known a couple of people in my life who fit this category. In the business world they are arrogant and take advantage of everyone else to make their way to the top. In the blue collar world they work people against people so they look good. These people are known as Narcissists. They earnestly believe the whole world revolves around them.
In the church world Narcissism gets real ugly. These people sometimes cause problems so they can look like the heroes fixing the problem they created. And sometimes they go from one innocent by-stander to the next with bad things to say about those in authority because they want that authority. They exploit believers to sow division in the Body of Christ.
They want titles and position but don’t want responsibility. They boast about their achievements and experiences to make themselves look bigger and better than they actually are. Beware of Narcissists for they are always about themselves and never about Christ. Spiritual maturity requires that we die to ourselves and put off the old man.
What experience do you have with Narcissists?
Tags: division, ego, pride, self-esteem
The story is told that one-time heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali was seated in a commercial aircraft that was preparing for takeoff. Ali became famous for his braggadocios attitude toward his opponents, referring to himself as ‘Superman’. A flight attendant noticed that he had not have his seat-belt fastened and asked him kindly, “Excuse me, sir, but would you mind fastening your seat-belt?”
Ali, always having a good sense of humor, looked up with that saucy grin of his and said in a slow, gravelly voice, “Superman don’t need no seat-belt!”
Without missing a beat, the flight attendant fired back, “Superman don’t need no airplane, so how about fastening up!”
Now, we know that Ali was only joking, but Obadiah 1:3 says it well: “The pride of your heart has deceived you.” Has the pride of your gotten the best of you today. Reevaluate.
Tags: Muhammed Ali, pride, weak
On my desk I have this small ceramic statue of a little man with a tiny black moustache carrying a cane, wearing baggy pants, clumsy oversized shoes and a derby hat. You know his name. In fact, Charlie Chaplin was the most famous person on the planet in the 1920s. Born into poverty, he worked on stage to support himself and by age 17 he was a veteran performer. Then in 1928 he did something unheard of: at age 29 he signed the entertainment industry’s first million dollar contract!
But Chaplin was successful not just because he had talent and drive – he was also teachable. He kept learning and perfecting his gift. Even when he was at the height of his popularity, the highest paid performer in the world didn’t rest on his laurels. No, he said, “When I watch one of my pictures I pay attention to what the audience doesn’t laugh at. If several audiences don’t laugh at a stunt I tear it apart and try to discover what’s wrong. On the other hand, if I hear laughter I hadn’t expected, I ask myself why that particular thing rang the bell with the audience.”
If when Charlie Chaplin became famous he’d exchanged teachability for arrogance, he’d likely be forgotten. But he didn’t. Instead he rememeberd the basics and always kept learning. Eventually he co-founded United Artists, a company that’s still in business today.
The Hebrew writer told us, “You need someone to teach you…basic things” (Hebrews 5:12 NLT). What has the Lord taught you recently?
Tags: Chaplin, learning, pride, teach
When I was about 4 or 5 we had an old barn behind our house in Butler. It was not a big barn, but one just big enough for a buggy, a stall for horse and cow, and a loft for hay and straw. Before the days of automobiles every house had one. It was apparently in pretty bad shape, because Dad tore it down soon afterward. I remember it was the neighborhood playhouse for older kids in the neighborhood.
On one occasion, I remember being up in the loft watching some older boys jump out of the upstairs window to the ground below. It looked like such fun. I couldn’t let that kind of macho example slip by me. So I took a breath and took a very confident leap out that window. Wow! When my little feet hit the ground it jarred me silly. I remember my feet stinging and thinking to myself, ‘I’ll never do that again!’ Yet there was a sense of pride from the accomplishment.
I wish I could say I learned a valuable lesson that day, but in reality I followed many other stupid role models as the years went on. When we seek to be like someone else, its always good to remember that we’re not them. They have different gifts than we do, or, in the above case, they may just be older, bigger, or stronger. Keeping up with the Joneses rarely works.
Tell me I was not the only dumb kid by sharing a story of your own misfortune following another’s example.
Tags: example, leap, pride
President Harry Truman once said, “When you get to be President, there are the honors, the 21-gun salutes, all those things. You have to remember it isn’t for you. It’s for the Presidency.”
There’s an old folk tale of the man who took his ox for a day in the fields. All day long a flea sat on the ox’s nose. At day’s end, as the farmer led the ox through town on the way home, the flea grandly proclaimed to the townspeople: “We’ve been plowing!”
The servant of Christ recognizes that it is God who produces the result. We are given the privilege of taking a ride with the Master.
Tags: pride, service, Truman