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NUMBER ONE?

January 8, 2016

Text: “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” Romans 12:3

An article on the internet informs that a famous sports star has been accused of using Human Growth Hormone (HGH).  This is a drug that enhances body size and many athletes use it. After further search I found a video of the accusation. I started the video and in less than two minutes I found a disturbing statement from an actual star in another sport who was discovered using HGH. Here is his statement that disturbed me. “I don’t care what we have to do: I want to win. If you’re not first — you’re nothing!”


 

This egocentric statement is a revelation of a terrible cancer that is devastating our world. It is not new to the psyches of mankind. It may be said this raised its ugly head as far back as the Garden of Eden. When Satan tempted Eve, offering her the situation of becoming like God,  she did not think on it long! Satan discerned in her pride and desire to be at the top. (see Genesis 3:1-8)  That was a very easy victory. “Top dog”; that is what people want to be. Eve wanted that.

But this is nothing new. There have been many throughout history.  Remember the incident of the tower of Babel. (Genesis 11: 1-8)  Men decided that they should build a tower reaching to heaven. Ego and grandeur worked them to a massive frenzy to be a people who built a structure that put them on a level with God. Others have followed who possessed mercurial aspirations to rule the world:  e.g. Ghengis Khan, Nero, Hannibal, Napoleon, Hitler.

What is at the root of this?

First,  pride. It is commonly believed that every person needs some pride in himself; that may be, but humans tend to go to excesses. The Bible has very little good to say about pride. However, there are many severe warnings about the self-destructive power of one’s personal pride. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”  Proverbs 16:18 ” “Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.” Proverbs 21:4 So, beware and be humble. “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” James 4:10

Second, ambition. Ambition is a thing that can quickly get out of hand. When men speak about “pulling themselves up by the bootstraps”, that may speak of pride in rising above one’s early  circumstances. But it could also indicate ambition: and beyond that, of prideful ambition that burgeons beyond sensible and ethical bounds. Unbounded pride and ambition has corrupted many a soul. Could it be that Satan used ambition and pride in the temptation of Jesus? “‘Again, the Devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these will I give you,  if you will fall down and worship me.”‘ Matthew 4:8-9 

Third, the desire to be idolized. The word idolize means just what you think it does:  to worship as a god;  broadly :  to love or admire to excess. Our society practices a tremendous amount of idolization. To specify, people seek to find adoration in being a movie star, others in the sports world, or politics, or the business world, and in the music business. We call their followers “fans” but that word is an abbreviation of “fanatic”. There are those who make an obsession of making themselves a “success”. An obsession was what the guy above quoted meant when he said, “If you’re not first — you’re nothing!”  If you have read the first five books of the New Testament you are familiar with the word “Herod”. The word is a title of a line of kings in Judea at the time of Christ. The Herod in power then was a megalomaniac (“a mania for great or grandiose performance”). He was determined to hang onto his crown at any price. He suspected two of his sons of desiring to kill him t0 obtain his throne, so he had them executed. He also had his favorite wife put to death on the same charges. One of his successors was also obsessed. He made a speech one day in the region of Tyre and Sidon. In return the citizens in the area desired to gain his favor and flattered him in loud accolades. They shouted, “The voice 0f  a god, and not of a man.” And Luke reported, “Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory…” Acts 12:22-23

But you must ask yourself, “Is it really  worth it?”  What are you willing to do to attain such “goals” as these? Is this path honest? Is it haughty and egotistical? Does it change me for the worse? Does achieving this harm my fellow strugglers?  Do you pray to God to give you these?  It is unthinkable to use these wicked aspirations to get your “dreams”?  “You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain. You ask and do not receive , so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” James 4:2-3 

The parabolic figure we call “the rich fool” had a grand plan to expand his riches. He was going to build more barns to gather more wheat to prosper himself. Remember what God said to him? “‘But God said to him,  ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose shall they be.’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself.'” Luke 12:20-21  Whatever happened to values? A person cannot rise above his values. “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

Put your feet on the right path and your eyes on the goal!  All the while work hard to keep your ego in check and your values as God has revealed them!

REM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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