By Tope Banso
DON’T FEEL MORE IMPORTANT THAN OTHERS
“‘Do you Israelites think you are more important to me than the Ethiopians?’ asks the LORD. ‘I brought you out of Egypt, but have I not done as much for other nations, too? I brought the Philistines from Crete and led the Arameans out of Kir’” (Amos 9:7 New living Translation).
Pride is a feeling that you’re better than others or more important than them. People have this feeling for different reasons. It could be because of their race, tribe, social status, education, wealth, attainment, profession, etc.
They could consider others inferior because of any of these factors. Thus, they might not relate well with them or respect them. But there is no reason for anyone to feel more important than others, though one should have a robust self-esteem founded on the Word of God.
As a child of God, no matter your exploits, accomplishments, possessions, etc., never feel more important than anyone. Be grateful to God for whatever you’ve achieved and whatever position you occupy. What you’ve achieved or the position you occupy might not be only because you are more brilliant, diligent, prayerful, etc. than others.
Paul said, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10 New King James Version). Humble yourself. Pride goes before destruction (Proverbs 16:18a).
Hear what the LORD told the Israelites, “‘Do you Israelites think you are more important to me than the Ethiopians?’ asks the LORD. ‘I brought you out of Egypt, but have I not done as much for other nations, too? I brought the Philistines from Crete and led the Arameans out of Kir’” (Amos 9:7 New Living Translation).
Probably the Israelites felt that they were more important than the other nations, and therefore, could live in sin and get away with it, because of God’s covenant with them. But the LORD said He would punish sin in any nation. He would destroy the sinful nation of Israel from the face of the earth, though not completely.
In your walk with God or your relationship with others, don’t feel more important than any human being. Jesus said, “When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place” (Luke 14:8-9 New King James Version).
Jesus continued, “But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (verses 10-11 New King James Version).
Even if you have the best credentials, the highest score, the best exposure, the deepest revelation, the most powerful anointing, the largest congregation, etc., don’t feel more important than others. Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord if you really want Him to lift you up (James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6). When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom (Proverbs 11:2).
In 1 Peter 5:1, I notice Peter’s humility despite being the leader of the original apostles and one of the leaders of the early church. He said, “The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed” (New King James Version). Please take note of that phrase, “a fellow elder.” Did you see it?
It is instructive that Peter called himself “a fellow elder.” He didn’t invent a high sounding name or title for himself, to command special attention and honour. He was content to be a fellow elder. He put himself on the same pedestal with other church leaders he wrote to, who, obviously, didn’t possess his credentials.
Peter had imbibed the teaching of Jesus Christ not to lead as the rulers of the Gentiles did, lording it over others (Matthew 20:25-28; Mark 10:42-45). Therefore, it was not difficult for Peter to tell his fellow elders to shepherd the flock of God among them, serving as overseers, not by compulsions but willingly, and not for dishonest gain but eagerly. He could tell the fellow elders not to lord it over those entrusted to them, but to be examples to them (1 Peter 5:2-3).
Peter wasn’t full of himself. His position as one of the leaders of the early church didn’t make him elevate himself into irrelevance! He didn’t promote himself to the level that he could not minister to the other elders. He humbled himself – a fellow elder.
According to Matthew 18:4, whoever humbles himself as a little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. The greatest in the Kingdom of God is not the most overbearing person, the person with the biggest title or the person with the loudest and widest publicity.
Like Peter, Paul equally referred to some of his associates as fellow workers, fellow labourers, fellow prisoners, fellow soldier, and fellow servant (Romans 16:3; 7; 9; 21; 2 Corinthians 1:24; 8:23; Philippians 2:25; 4:3; Colossians 1:7; 4:7; 10; 11, 1 Thessalonians 3:2; Philemon 1; 2; 23; 24). He didn’t feel more important than them, because of the great work God did through him.
Don’t think of yourself more highly than you ought to think (Romans 12:3a). Don’t be conceited, high-minded or puffed up (Romans 11:20). Take delight in honouring others (Romans 12:10b). Verse 16 says, “Live in harmony with each other. Don’t try to act important, but enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!” (New Living Translation). Don’t feel more important than others.
If you’re not born again, repent of your sins today and accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. Whoever comes to Him, He will by no means cast out.
PRAYER POINT: Father, let me not be full of myself, but full of You. Don’t let me feel more important than others.
This is wisdom for living, and it’s worth sharing. Please share.
(For over 250 in-depth and insightful messages by T. O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
▪ Banso, an Abuja-based minister, heads
Cedar Ministry International, and can be reached at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
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