We > Me
"We believe that as the Body of Christ, we are growing to be a part of something greater than ourselves…We believe that “we” is greater than “me”. We believe everyone has a role to play and a story to tell. And we don’t always have to get credit for everything we do because of the One who sees it all rewards us all…We believe humility and honor are the path to living out a culture of We > Me."
This is our 5th Culture Value as a church and to be honest it’s one of my favorites because it’s so vital in the life of a church. In fact, if you look at truly healthy churches, they may word it differently, but the gist of this value is promoted and cherished. It was so encouraging this month to see that one of our sister churches, Hope Community Church, also sees this value as a necessity in accomplishing Kingdom work. Yet, as easy as it is to promote, it is so hard to live out what this means both on a corporate level, and a personal level.
Because we live in a “Me- focused” generation. Even as I write this statement, one of my children (I won’t say which one), is screaming “MINE!” at one of his brothers from upstairs. But before I point the finger at my children, “how often do I find myself in the same mindset?” It is SO easy for me to think about “me”- in fact it’s a natural tendency. Our American culture doesn’t help because it has promoted and catered to my “me” mindset, and this culture is getting more and more efficient at dialing in MY preferences. I can go to Starbucks right now and get NOT just a plain coffee. No, that’s too general. I can get an extra hot, triple espresso shot, Non-fat, Venti Flat White with cinnamon sprinkled on top. And if for some reason they somehow miss one of these myriads of details, they will remake the beverage for me. Even if they got the order right and I don’t like it, they will make me something else. Now listen, I don’t have stock options in Starbucks and I’m not trying to advertise for them. I’m simply stating that we now live in this type of world. From the wide entertainment selection on Netflix to the many and multiple variations of Oreos you can now buy (Fudge covered is my current favorite), our world is bending backwards to suit our petty preferences and opinions.
Yet, everything we see in Scripture about the Kingdom of God couldn’t be further from this idea. Philippians 2:3 says,
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
Just typing this verse brings such conviction and shame. Oh, how often I find myself doing things out of selfish ambition. A few weeks ago, I preached a message on pride and it was literally like God just unlocked a whole storage room in my heart filled to the brim with pride and arrogance. Hoarders and Storage Wars ain’t got nothing on me! In some ways, I have been at a loss these last few weeks at where to begin- it’s overwhelming and embarrassing. Pride can be so subtle sometimes, and yet so detrimental. It’s damaging to my soul, my family, and my friends. But its also damaging to the Church that Jesus Christ has built.
So how do we turn from pride & our “me” mentality and walk in humility & honor? James 4:6-10 is a great place to start.
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”
There have been three things God is showing me about my pride in these verses.
- Retreat from the Front Line of your Pride- instead of fighting for first in line, I want to be content with being last. I want to be submissive to God and His agenda.
- Repair the Destructive Aftermath of your Ego- I want to be mindful at the destruction my pride has caused in relationships and in life, and ask for forgiveness from others when necessary.
- Remember that you were not made to Be somebody, you were made to know Somebody- When I put others first, I truly begin to understand the love of the Father. I begin to understand and know Jesus more fully, and there’s no room for my ego in His presence.
It is my desire that I not stand in the way of what Christ wants to do through His church- that I will join with others who are passionately dedicated in putting people first and content with being last for the sake of Christ’s church, His name, and His renown. I hope this is your desire as well.