My job carries with it the opportunity to field people’s most pervasive questions and struggles. It also contains the very same allure and temptation that many are seeking counsel for themselves: pride. As we serve Christ and his church, there always remains crouching right beside us whispering in our ear, that unwelcome (and yet much too welcome) companion in our service: love of self. Therefore, in this brief post, I want to explore seven (yes, seven...because it's biblical) thoughts on how to serve Jesus while seeking to put to death a delight in our own glory.
Here are a handful of ways we can serve Christ and his church while facing the temptation to pride:
- Remember that you are far more of a sinner than you realize! Everything you do is always tinctured by sin. Never do you find yourself serving in the absence of sin, pride, self, etc. Never.
- The Gospel is far sweeter than you realize! If it were not for the righteousness of Christ constantly and continually covering your infirmities, nothing would be acceptable in his sight. So your service to him is acceptable, because of the finished work of Christ and the “greater works” (John 14:12) he is doing in and through you now.
- Beware of the two-pronged threat of works-righteousness in this case: By thinking you are not acceptable enough to serve Christ you are buying into a lie that your service is based on your holiness. Notice how this is pridefully believing that you need to increase to a point of sufficient righteousness so that you are acceptable to serve. OR on the other hand: thinking you are able to serve because you have reached a level of acceptability. In the second, notice the pride of believing your personal holiness measures up enough to serve Jesus. In both of these cases, your service is based upon you and your personal righteousness. That’s a losing prospect in either direction! (Matt. 5:19-20).
- Praise the Lord he is pleased to use instruments like you and me to serve his church. This is incredibly gracious and kind of him, and the thankful realization of such is the beginning of humility.
- Remember to pray as you serve: may I decrease and he increase.
- Serve. Serve joyfully. Serve thankfully. Serve in light of the gospel and Christ’s sufficiency and your insufficiency. This makes serving all the more possible and a thankful experience if you are entirely reliant upon him and not reliant upon yourself. Serving in such freedom in Christ removes fears and removes pride—all the while he gets the glory.
- Finally, freely receive the encouragements you are offered from others as you serve Christ. Then genuinely praise the Lord for those encouragements. And when those encouragements go to your head and you begin to think: “I did this!”, immediately repent of your pride...and then keep serving!