WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
OCTOBER 23, 2021
TOPIC: BEWARE OF EGO
BY T. O. BANSO
“Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?’ But Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he allowed Him” (Matthew 3:13-15 New King James Version).
Ego means self-esteem, but it also means an inflated opinion of self. Self-esteem is positive; an inflated opinion of self is negative. My focus in this piece is ego in the negative sense. A healthy ego or a reasonable sense of one’s self-worth is good. An unhealthy ego is destructive. Don’t be driven by it.
Be careful that your self-esteem does not turn to an exaggerated sense of self-importance and a feeling of superiority to others. This is called egoism or egotism. Galatians 6:3 says if anyone thinks himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
How do you know you have an ego problem? If you always feel superior to your peers and you look down on your subordinates. If you are always too self-conscious and self-centred and seek attention and recognition. If you always like to dominate discussions and do not listen to others. If you often pass the buck, fail to admit your weaknesses and mistakes, and judge others. If you hate to be given honest feedback. These are some of the signs or traits that you have an unhealthy ego.
It is said that ego is the Latin word for “I”. If you’re always focused on “I” (yourself) in your communication, interactions, and so on; you’re self-absorbed, self-conceited. You have a destructive ego.
Nobody is immune to the ego problem. Be careful. The bigger your ego, the closer your fall! Deal with your ego. I’ve seen pastors who’re full of ego. You’ll wonder when they started the ministry that they think they’ve become a veteran! They have no regard for their seniors just because everybody calls them pastor (or any other title they bear) and preside over a congregation. They think of themselves more highly than they ought to think (Romans 12:3).
When Jesus came to John the Baptist to baptize Him, though it was the right thing to do, John didn’t jump at the opportunity, thinking that because Jesus came to him, it meant that he was superior to Jesus. The occasion was both a test for Jesus and John. Will Jesus humble himself to allow John to baptize Him? And will John recognize that it was a divine assignment he must do and not have a superiority complex? Both of them passed the test. Neither of them had an ego.
Hear how Matthew 3:13-15 captures the scene, “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?’ But Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he allowed Him” (New King James Version).
Later when some of John’s disciples came to tell him that Jesus, who had come to him before, was baptizing, and all was going to Him, John, in his response, didn’t sound like someone whose ego had been bruised. No. According to John, a man can receive nothing unless it has been given to him from heaven (John 3:27).
John continued, “He must increase, but I must decrease. He who comes from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all” (verse 30-31 New King James Version).
Some pastors think because a minister they, probably, have not met or they know from afar says Sir to them, they must be superior to him. Some have a big ego because of their high-sounding titles! They won’t even mind if God says Sir to them! Forget about the title you answer, don’t disrespect your seniors, even if you pastor a larger congregation. Don’t be proud before God.
Yes, all genuine pastors are servants of God. However, that a consultant calls a young doctor on internship his colleague shouldn’t make the young doctor think they are on the same level! The young doctor still has a long way to go. Not even the immediate seniors of a house officer like the medical officers, junior registrars, and senior registrars would say they and the consultants are on the same level.
In every profession, everybody respects his seniors. No matter how brilliant a young lawyer is, he doesn’t disrespect his seniors. Every minister of God should beware of ego, which can make him become arrogant and act wrongly.
This also applies to Christians who are not pastors. Beware of ego. I’ve seen believers who have an ego problem. Mere speaking with them physically or on phone or reading their SMS or similar messages on phone, you’ll easily know they’re full of themselves. They lack normal telephone etiquette or courtesies. It is expected that one should be polite on phone, especially when one doesn’t know who is at the other end or know much about the person. Even if you know, what will it cost you to be humble?
When those who are older than you or your seniors say Sir or Ma to you or bow to you, shouldn’t you be wise to reciprocate, even in greater measure? Do you think they’re stupid or you’ve become a celebrity? My father will say, “Don’t be silly!” Give honour to whom honour is due. Don’t be full of yourself.
Beware of ego. It has shut the door against many people, who think because of their positions, title, or the respect others show them, they must be the best things that have ever happened! Perhaps playing on the three-letter word, ego, someone said ego stands for “Edging God Out.” It is very instructive. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6; 1Peter 5:5; Proverbs 3:34).
People who’re full of ego tend to be so full of self that there is no room for God in their lives. Such people worship themselves and their opinions! Because they have inflated opinions of themselves, they must be the only ones right. Other people’s opinions don’t matter to them. You can’t help them, when they’re wrong, because they won’t listen to you.
People who have an ego problem edge out of their lives those who should be a blessing to them. They’re defensive when you try to correct them or point out an error. They’re defensive when you give them honest feedback that would help them to be better or perform better. The truth is that they’re insecure. Those who don’t have insecurities don’t have a problem receiving corrections, criticisms, or feedback.
God marvelously helped King Uzziah of Judah but his success made him a failure because of his ego. He thought that his success as king permitted him to transgress against the LORD by entering the temple of the LORD to burn incense on the altar of incense.
When Azariah the priest went in after him with eighty priests of the LORD to warn him that it was not his job to burn incense to the LORD, but that of the priests, the sons of Aaron, consecrated for that purpose, he should have listened to them and rush out. But ego wouldn’t allow him to (2 Chronicles 26:16-18).
“Then Uzziah became furious; and he had a censer in his hand to burn incense. And while he was angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead, before the priests in the house of the LORD, beside the incense altar. And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and there, on his forehead, he was leprous; so they thrust him out of that place. Indeed he also hurried to get out, because the LORD had struck him” (verses 19-20 New King James Version).
If only he had listened. But people with an ego problem hardly do. In their eyes, they’re always right. King Uzziah was leprous till he died. He lived in an isolated house and was cut off from the house of the LORD. His son, Jotham, was put in charge of the royal palace and ruled the land. He later succeeded his father.
King Asa was another king who had an ego. When Hanani, the prophet delivered to him the rebuke of the LORD for relying on Ben-Hadad the king of Syria instead of the LORD, Asa was angry and imprisoned Hanani (2 Chronicles 16:7-10). He continued to be full of himself such that in the 39th year of his reign, when he had a disease in his feet, and his malady was severe, he did not seek the LORD, but the physicians (verse 12). He died thereafter.
Beware of ego. Can you be humble in your relationships? Can God talk to you? Can He send to you people, who can save you from yourself, and you’ll listen to them? In 2 Chronicles 25:14-16, the LORD sent a prophet to King Amaziah to ask him why he had worshipped gods he brought from Edom who could not save the Edomites that Amaziah had defeated.
But Amaziah interrupted the prophet, saying, “Have we made you the king’s counselor? Cease! Why should you be killed?” (2 Chronicles 25:16 New King James Version). Imagine that! Ego! After he had turned away from the LORD, there was a conspiracy against him in Jerusalem and he fled to Lachish. However, his enemies sent assassins after him and killed him there (verse 27).
Proverbs16:18 says pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. Similarly, Proverbs 11:2 says when pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom. Beware of ego. According to Proverbs 16:5, everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD. It says adds that though they join forces, none will go unpunished.
Beware of ego. The apostle Paul 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!” (Romans 12:16 New Living Translation).
Beware of ego. Beware of an exaggerated sense of self-importance. “What makes you better than anyone else? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if all you have is from God, why boast as though you have accomplished something on your own?” (1 Corinthians 4:7 New Living Translation).
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner, and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner, and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, deliver me from ego and help me to be humble. I will be humble and listen to those God sends to speak to me in Jesus’ name. Holy Spirit, help me not to hate correction or honest feedback. Help me not to be defensive, too self-conscious and self-centred, right in my own eyes, and judgmental. Holy Spirit, help me not to compare myself to others or look down on anyone.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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