My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Galatians 2:20
Leaders are sometimes left in a puddle, asking: “I thought God put me at the top? Why did everyone else put me at the bottom?” Spiritually speaking, if we are led only by others, then we are not led by God.
Practically speaking, we have to let go of our ego.
When others determine the value of our leadership calling, it is our ego that lets that happen.
We were created to be self-confident and Godfident, not others-confident. We were created to be self-esteemed and God-esteemed and not “others-esteemed.”
We were made in the image of God – Not the image others want us to be, or think I should be.
So the EGO is a tricky reality. It basically wants to receive the credit for things. In the meantime, we are told, “What is it you have that you were not given.” People tell me all the time how blown away they are with the things that I say, you know, like sayings or acronyms like F I N E. I always tell them, nothing is original. There is nothing new under the sun. It’s already been thought of, used, written, etc. But the ego would like to take credit for things. I have actually seen people write books based on material and concepts clearly having originated in someone else’s books.
Why? Because that is the egocentric heart of man. As Paul reflected above in the reference from Galatians… am I driven to impress the God who shaped and formed me? And then claim the wisdom, strength, intelligence to accomplish this or that? Hardly. Anything I have to offer has been given me, mostly through MY failure I might add. He turned my failure into victory, and then allows me to use it to help others, and give Him the credit.
I remember when I was very young in my alcohol recovery, but had realized that I could never have done anything to achieve sobriety on my own. I remember my family members saying, “…but YOU decided to stop, YOU chose to do something about it, YOU put the work in, etc. My answer, every time I tried to stop drinking on my own, I failed. The only time it ever worked was when I SURRENDERED my life, my will to God. I take no credit for surrendering. He gave me the grace to see the need to, and the grace to do it. My ego goes down in process over time as I die to it.
I don’t need Self – Esteem, I need God- Esteem.
I also learned that it was ok to give honor to people, but not “glory”. That goes to God. I used to put people who were leaders, for example, on pedestals. It was all ego. God had to keep knocking ME off the pedestal so that I could see clearly from the lower place. I ultimately learned that my purpose and calling was to raise everyone else up to become everything THEY are created to be. If you want to be a Forerunner in life, that will never happen if YOU want to be more relevant than God.
Make your own unassuming descent into greatness. You don’t reach down and lift people up, you come up underneath them to raise them up. A pastor preached a message years ago that I never forgot. “Are you willing to be anonymous for God?
Finally, when I first sold my house to join New York City Relief 30 years ago to be an urban missionary with no money or income, one of my co-missionaries said to me in a conversation one day, “If God asked you to peel onions the rest of your life… would you do it?” As it turns out that is exactly what I am doing… helping people peel away the layers of pride, ego and brokenness in their lives so that they can become who they are created to be. I love you all… thank you for the privilege of serving you.