And if you still refuse to listen, I will weep alone because of your pride. My eyes will overflow with tears, because the LORD’s flock will be led away into exile. (Jeremiah 13:17 NLT)
For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts. (Thessalonians 2:4 NLT)
Relate: Here it is. I am a prideful person. I seek the approval of other people. I want people to recognize me and my talents. I want people to read my writing and hear me speak. This stems from my own insecurities. It is my lack of trusting in who I am as a child of God that drives me to seek to please people and to feed my own ego.
Recently, God has been dealing with me on this issue. He has been asking me put him first and to understand who I am in him. Some people are fast learners. Apparently, I am not one of them. I wrote a post about a need for grace in this area of my life over a week ago, and yet God is still speaking to me on it. I hear him prompting me in his word, through the messages of others, and through worship.
Matthew Henry’s commentary says this about Jeremiah 13 (emphasis is my own): “Still the prophet is attempting to awaken this secure and stubborn people to repentance, by the consideration of the judgments of God that were coming upon them. He is to tell them, I. By the sign of a girdle spoiled that their pride should be stained, Jer. 13:1-11. II. By the sign of bottles filled with wine that their counsels should be blasted, Jer. 13:12-14. III. In consideration hereof he is to call them to repent and humble themselves, Jer. 13:15-21. IV. He is to convince them that it is for their obstinacy and incorrigibleness that the judgments of God are so prolonged and brought to extremity, Jer. 13:22-27.”
God, like so many other times throughout scripture, is calling his people to serve him alone. However, the message is to a stubborn and proud people, who far too often fail to give God his rightful place. My own pride has prevented me from putting God and his desires as the priority in my life. I am making a change, though, because I want what God has for me. What God has for me is far more fulfilling than anything I could obtain or achieve on my own.
React: As I have been reading through the Bible this past year, I have been more and more convinced Jesus really knew what he was talking about when he said, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘love your neighbor as yourself.'” (Matthew 22:37-39 NLT)The Old and the New Testaments demonstrate time and again God is interested in us loving him alone and forsaking idols and false gods. One of these idols is the idol of self.
Our culture places self on the highest pedestal. The American way is to worship the desires of our hearts and the glorification of self gratification and self promotion. We don’t worship God alone. We worship God if it fits into our schedules of pleasing ourselves. God has been calling me to repent of the idolatry in my life. He is seeking a heart that will strive to please him over pleasing myself, a heart that will strive to bring him glory before seeking recognition for my own skills, and a heart that will say, “God forgive me.”
God forgive us.
Let us be like Paul, Silas, and Timothy. Let us speak as messengers approved by God. Let our purpose be to please God, not people… not ourselves. Let God examine the motives of our hearts and find that He is the center.
God, I hear you. Thank you for speaking to me. Thank you for never giving up on this selfish woman. Thank you for loving me when I have been so fickle and so foolish. I repent of my pride filled life. I repent for striving for recognition and affirmation. I need you. I need your voice in my life. I want nothing more than to be your messenger. Use me as I put you first. Replace my desires God. Let people read your words and hear your voice. Amen.