I recently found myself in the middle of a situation where someone had a higher position than I did, and I thought I deserved it. They were given an opportunity that would cause them to be seen by many people, and I was stuck sitting in the back row to be seen by no one. I hate to admit it, but this made me mad. I felt offense rise up in my heart as pride took hold. In order to fight it, I decided to help out with the little, behind-the-senes tasks that needed to be completed. I wasn’t asked to do it, I just did it. Rather than complaining about not having the position I thought I deserved, I just started to serve. That was the humble thing to do, right?
Wrong. You see, it doesn’t matter what we’re doing on the outside, even if to the onlooker it seems to be a good thing. Jesus doesn’t judge us based on the things we do. He judges us based on the condition and position of our hearts. What He showed me is that my motivation in doing all those little things wasn’t love. In fact, it was the exact opposite. I was doing them knowing that someone would notice me. My skills and talents weren’t going to be showcased for all to see, but deep inside I wanted someone, anyone to notice me. So, I busied myself with the little things that go unnoticed by most, but are generally seen by some. My motivation in serving was to receive the praise of man rather than to give of myself in love.
In His kindness, the Lord revealed this to my heart in a tender yet strongly convicting way. He showed me that sometimes when I think I’m walking in meekness and servanthood, I’m actually just doing stuff to feed my pride. That’s not an easy thing to hear!
But there’s good news! James 4:6 tells us that He “gives grace to the humble.” As we surrender to Him and serve, letting love be our only motivation, He gives us grace to go low. And not only does He give us grace, but He gives us joy. There is no greater joy than that which comes when we walk in love and obedience to Him. (John 15:10-12).
We must violently fight against the poison of pride. It steals our joy and causes our hearts to grow cold in offense and bitterness. Love must be our only motivation. We need to constantly be checking our hearts to make sure pride isn’t sneaking in. We must let love win.