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Whom are you like in your greatness?

By October 21st, 2012Uncategorized8 min read

I had started to read Ezekiel 31
but couldn’t get past verse 2 for quite a while. As the Lord commanded Ezekiel to ask: ‘Whom are you like in
your greatness?
’ the question hit me pretty strong in my spirit. I found myself
replaying an interesting conversation I had had with one of my sistas a couple
of weeks ago.

I truly can’t quite recall how
we got on the subject but I remember we’d ended up talking about intellectual
arrogance and how among the very best of us, this is something that slowly
creeps up on us if not checked intentionally and with a leaning on the Holy
Spirit. We talked about how for people who are blessed with certain levels of
intellectual capacity; who have the gift of highly analytical minds – able to see
unique perspectives to just about everything; or who have the gift of oration
and are able to command presence and attention, there is a major need to be
careful not to allow intellectual arrogance, or a silent pride – sometimes cloaked
in an outwardly apparent humility, to set in.

You know sis, if you think
deeply enough about the assertion in the last paragraph you may find that you
have been guilty of this; or you have been one of those who have unwittingly
contributed to the build-up of silent pride in someone or the other that you
know (a bit too much praise, a little too much adulation, undue dependency? sigh!!!). In truth, it is more than likely that each of us has worked both sides of
that equation in times past. I know I certainly have. Hmmm! The Lord will help us!

Using ourselves as examples, my
sista and I acknowledged that, to the glory of God, we are both women operating
successfully and commanding respect in our largely male-dominated
industries. We had talked over the fact that we tend to speak in strong,
focused and very measured ways at meetings and so tend to attract significant
attention at corporate gatherings. We also manage to sound pretty
intelligent (it appears), stringing the right words in an impressive-enough
order. We both have quite a few people who tend to depend on our counsel –
personal or professional, to make critical life decisions for themselves. We
are regularly engaged in speaking, training/teaching roles in both the secular/business
world and in the church, usually to a good ovation at the end. We are both
pretty well read, but continue to pursue our personal and professional
education and development. We acknowledged yes, that our lives are outwardly
and upwardly progressive. We acknowledged that this is all great, but that it
can all also make us fall into a place of pride if we take our eyes off Jesus. 

Does any or all of the above
sound like your life sis? I suspect so. For many of us who may be reading this
blog, at the various levels that we may be at in life, in our families, in our
businesses, in church, or in our professional associations, we may have
achieved a level/levels of recognition in our various endeavours that give us
some sense of identity, validated by the external adulations of others around
us. What’s wrong with this? Are we not designed to use our potentials to move
us to undeniable levels of achievement that add value to society and those
around us? Are our lives not meant to count for something distinct and tangible
here on earth? Certainly sis! Certainly!

The challenge which we
identified however is that as we grow, as our achievements begin to bring us
recognition, respect and honour; then we need to be very careful in this space
not to be overcome by intellectual arrogance and/or a sense of entitlement, and
believe me, this is so much easier said than done…. but for God!  It is so easy to think of pride from a very
generic definition standpoint, but a hard look at our lives may reveal that we
are walking in silent pride. How easy it is for those of us who train people to
find ourselves listening sometimes with only half an ear to other trainers,
mentally concluding that they really don’t have anything new to teach us. How
easy it is to be dismissive of a speaker, mentally declaring to yourself how
much better you could have delivered his/her presentation. How easily we expect
recognition when we walk into certain place, and bristle when we don’t get it
at all or in the manner to which we have become accustomed. How easy it is to ascribe glory to yourself at the end of a standing ovation, especially when in your view, you really worked to give a good presentation. How easy to forget that the glory is for the Father alone Who causes our gifts to make a way for us. I could go on sis,
but you surely get my drift.

It’s great to be great, of that
there is no question. Nothing is as satisfying as seeing your gifts and
abilities bear fruit and make impact. It is undoubtedly gratifying when your
greatness begins to shine through and be audibly and outwardly recognized by
those around you. But the Lord asks of you and I today: ‘Whom are you like in your greatness?’

We serve a God who hates pride.
He is a God of love yes, but His Word makes plain the things that He hates.
Pride is a big one on His list. The Lord loves the humble and He loves to exalt
them – to His glory alone. As we grow in our earthly greatness therefore, we
must keep our eyes fixed on our spiritual greatness. Earthly greatness wins us
recognitions, applause, accolades, etc in the eyes of man. But what sense does
it make to be a ‘great’ woman in the eyes of the world, and yet be small in the
eyes of the Lord? When we allow the silent prides of our earthly greatness to
creep into our lives, we tarnish the image of our greatness in the face of the
Lord. In the place of pride, no matter how small, we take away from our
conformity to His image and glory. If we are not careful, we forget that the
Lord is the source of all our wisdom, our knowledge and insights, our
understanding and perceptions. Effectively, for each great thing we achieve, it
is the Lord Who is deserving of the honour, the accolade, the applause. He it is Who is our greatness and
not we of ourselves. 

My sista and I were laughing at
the beginning of our conversation. But as we went deeper, we ended up in a
prayer of ‘Lord help us! Lord we need
Your grace’
. As I sat quietly and reflected over the question in Ezekiel 31
v 2, the prayer in my heart was ‘Father,
consume every silent pride in me. Lord, take away everything in me that is
taking away from giving glory to You. Lord, let my greatness be wholly in Your
image. Let me be like You in my greatness Lord! Lord, as You continue to lift
me up and enlarge my coast and areas of influence, Lord keep me humble. Help me
to continually show genuine love, respect and honour for my fellow men and
women, your children whom You have also created in Your image and likeness.
Lord, let my greatness be only in You Lord, as an instrument of Your glory; as
a testimony of Your faithfulness; as a magnet to draw men unto You; and to
further Your Kingdom here on earth. Lift me up, not so that I will exalt myself oh Lord; but that You and You alone may be exalted as I reflect Your image in every area of my life, IJMN’
.

I speak greatness into your life
sis. I speak divine enlargement. And I pray along with you that as the Lord
lifts you up, as He makes you greater still; that you will not submit yourself to to the
accolades of men, nor the pride that steals in alongside of that. I pray that you (and I)
will rather stay focused on the Father; that indeed the image of our greatness
shall be forever and only…. the image of God.

Be blessed sis…. For you surely
are

4 Comments

  • Ouch, ouch, ouch!!!!! Definitely got to 'fess up to the whole 'silent pride' thing as well as the 'accolades of man thing too. Having recently relocated from the UK, one of the things I'm finding most testingbis having to 'sell' myself in terms of my expertise. I'm well known and respected in my field in the UK and so having to start again from scratch here is a bit trying. Thanks for an excellent post. This is one prayer i will most definitely be reminding myself of.

    Be blessed.

  • Thank you, as always. What do I have that I do not owe to Him? As I read through, I realized that my pride comes from being the last woman standing when others "shirk" their responsibilities. Hmmmmnnn! I think now, that maybe I am the last woman standing, because I have not chosen to share responsibility with others. My silent pride is cloaked in an appearance of humility and long-suffering. LORD, please help me.

  • Thank you for this timely reminder . The skills, gifts and special abilities God has given us are for an intent and a purpose. They should cause us to depend on Him and to give Him all the glory due to His name. Having been on both sides of the equation, I can testify that silent pride can subtly be cloaked in an outward appearance of humility. God help us. We need to be reminded of this often. God bless you for sharing this message.

  • Ouch, ouch ouch!!!!!!! Got to admit to the whole 'silent pride thing'. Got to admit to the whole 'being used to the accolades of men' tip too. Having recently relocated back to Lagos from the UK, one of the things that I find most testing is having to 'sell' myself. I am well known and respected in my field in the UK and if i tooled up saying i was available for work, i would be very sought after. I hadn't realised how much that meant to me, until i turned up here and people are like ' who are you?'

    Thank goodness for posts like this, that cause one to stop, think and check oneself where necessary. This is one prayer i'll definitely be reminding myself of.

    Be blessed sis. Thanks for a great post.

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