This post was inspired by my friend, Curtis Zackery, teaching pastor at the Church of City (COTC) in Franklin, TN. I was greatly convicted by what CZ had to say this past Sunday and wanted to share just a few of my thoughts about it. I would still strongly encourage you to check out the whole message by clicking below.
There's nothing wrong with being proud of someone or something. Pride is actually a very good thing. But we have to be careful with pride because it can become very dangerous when it's misplaced.
Well, I was in danger and I didn't even know it. I was placing the pride I had in myself above anything else,
Now, let's back up to five years ago when I sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI). This humbled me like nothing ever had before. In fact, I "lost" much of what had made me "me," So you would figure my problem with self-pride would have been "lost" as well. Became a thing of the past. Taken care of once and for all. But it wasn't! It may have been curbed somewhat, but it never completely went away. It will leave for a bit but it always creeps back in, usually without even me noticing. That's exactly what's been happening here as of late.
You see, because I want as many people as possible to hear the miraculous story God has written and is still writing for my life, I have been spending a lot of my time and energy "promoting" myself. I have been telling others about who I am, my story, my upcoming book, my speaking, etc. This is leading me to become, or as least feel, quite self-absorbed and over-focused on myself.
That is why I believe the message I heard this past Sunday at COTC convicted me so much. Pastor CZ talked about Ecclesiastes 7:16.
"Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise-- why destroy yourself?"
In this verse, the teacher warns us about the dangers of being overrighteous. (Which Pastor CZ pointed out to us, isn't even a real word!) Overrighteous, to me, means the same thing as self-righteous, self-pride, self-absorbed, etc.
Upon hearing these words, I knew God was speaking directly to me. I was becoming overrighteous. And this isn't something I should take lightly, because it has the ability to destroy me. I was grateful to be made aware of this, but now what?
"How was I supposed to combat overrighteousness and, thus, avoid being destroyed?"
I was trying on my own to come up with an answer to this challenging question when Pastor CZ took us to Matthew 6:33.
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
Now that was a very familiar verse to me. I had head it many times. But, as Pastor CZ pointed out to us, there is a word tucked away in it that we tend to gloss over and easily overlook. But it's one that gives us the answer to the question I was just asking myself. It's one that when taken to heart will give us the ability to avoid being destroyed by our overrighteousness.
This often unnoticed but very powerful word is HIS.
You see, our righteousness isn't ours. It's HIS. It belongs to Jesus. Every little bit of it. We hadn't nor have anything to do with it. The only reason we can be called righteous is because of what Jesus has undeservedly done for us. So anytime I start thinking too highly of myself or that I am in any way responsible for my righteousness, I need to remember the one who truly is.
I doubt all this self-promotion will ever become totally comfortable for me. Despite my uneasiness, I am going to continue bringing myself up. I will keep talking about my blog, book, speaking, platform, etc.
But I have to remember that none of what I am claiming ownership over is actually mine. Just like my righteousness, it all belongs to Jesus.