“This small voice has the power to kill the soul.”
Does this statement capture your attention? “Power to kill the soul”… It caught my attention as I scanned a blog this morning. The blog title caught me first, but then more importantly came this statement ‘this small voice has the power to kill the soul’ and in its context, I knew that I should slow down and listen.
This blogger brings our attention back to the beginning…back to the sin of Lucifer…back to the sin of Adam…back to our sin — a sin that our flesh desires intensely — worship (pride). I don’t know Aaron O’Harra, but I do know that I share and battle my flesh in a very similar way as he shares with us here. He captures the vice, the battle and the path to victory very well, so I’ll let him speak…
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?”
You’re at this blog site reading, so you’re a reader…good!…that you’re a reader 😉 I heard someone say recently that they don’t want to read from others, that they’d rather just read the Bible and let God teach them. A dear friend of mine used to say something very similar…by God’s grace, he saw his pride and error and did not continue down that road. Keep reading from those whose lives demonstrate a faith and perseverance that brings/brought glory to the name of Jesus Christ….and guard against the false teaching that pervades our culture today AND keep reading/meditating on the Word of God. Grace and peace to you.