Friday night at Winter Weekend, Ken Freeman spoke and shared his testimony. He did an amazing job. God has redeemed him from so much. Knowing I was speaking the next day, I started to think about my message in light of what God has begun in the weekend. I began to reflect on my testimony, and face the classic struggle of church kids.
“God, how can you use my message? I’ve never been in a foster home and I’ve never touched drugs.”
Silly, I know. But in that moment, God began to prompt me to share the story he’s given me, especially in regards to my calling to the ministry. As I was in the service, I specifically felt lead to talk about my time on I’ll Fly Away. This something I kind of shy away from, because it’s really tricky. It feels like another me.
After praying, I became convinced that is what God wanted…even to the point of sharing a clip from the series.
It was obvious that God’s hand was on me as I preached on Saturday. I talked about stuff that I never planned on saying. God showed up in such a big way…then came the pride.
I generally feel pretty humble after a message. I feel keenly aware that God has spoken through me, in spite of myself. If I don’t discipline my thoughts in this matter, it will literally drive me crazy. Either I will always think the message was crappy, or I’ll start preaching for acclaim. A preacher has no business thinking either of these things if he is out for the glory of God.
It was a weird external temptation toward pride on Saturday morning, and it came on strong. I have no doubt that it is so deeply connected to the story about acting that I shared. Immediately, I began praying. It seemed like my small quick prayers only added fuel to my pride flame.
“Oh wow. You are so holy. Not only are you struggling with pride, but you are dealing with it. You are the best preacher ever. You deserve recognition.”
It was weird.
I realized that the root of my pride (at least one of them), was an unchecked feeling of competition. Whenever I allow myself to begin comparing myself to other preachers, it is always fertile soil for a pride seed to sprout roots [extended metaphor alert]. I began repenting, and asking God for opportunities to humble myself. My wife walked up to me and offered to go and get me Chick-fil-a for lunch, instead of the hamburgers being served. Normally, I would totally receive this act of kindness. However, the pride demon whispered, “Of course she should go and get you lunch. You deserve better food than everyone else.”
I told her in that moment that I was struggling with pride. She kind of looked at me like she was confused. Her moment of clarity (realizing how ridiculous the situation was) actually started to help stem the weird thing happening in my head. I found the kitchen where people were working to prepare the meal, and I began making gallons of lemonade. Thank you Jesus. Whoever thought that lemonade would come to my rescue?