En Gedi: Finding rest in the wilderness!

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-What Honors Are You Looking For?

Posted by Scott on August 6, 2007

A question is asked that goes straight to the root of what men struggle with on a daily basis.  These two men, James and John, were doing the Lord’s work everyday.  They brought people to Jesus for healing and salvation.  I am sure they prayed with Christ and others often.  Their church attendance record was impeccable I am sure. In everyway when you looked as these two men they seemed to have their “religion” together…what anyone today would call a real “Christian”.  They played that role all day long, but for what reason?  What was deep inside their hearts?  Was it a devotion to serve Christ no matter what or did they have other motives?

Mark 10:35, 37…”Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask of You.”  “….Grant that we may sit in Your glory, one on Your right, and one on Your left.” 

In Mark 10:35-42 an astonishing character flaw comes to the surface that many of us battle on a daily basis…I know I do…it is the age old sin of pride!  For many it was subtle, especially as we read to reaction of the other disciples.  They became “indignant with James and John”.  However, for many of us pride creeps in and we do not even recognize it as a problem for us.  The arrogance and pride that popped out at this moment in James and John’s life caught many by surprise, but not Jesus.  He knew their hearts before they ever asked the question.  Jesus knew their hearts as they did their “churchy” work each day.  He knew that pride was deep inside their hearts and they were simply acting as a child would.  You see, a servant’s heart that really has a grasp on servant-hood will never ask to be at the head of any line, table or as these two boyish men asked to be near the throne of the King, one on each side of Him.  Why does a servant need to be at the head when their place is serving others?  As James and John soon found out, they had asked something to which they had know real clue what it would require of them.  They did not see the depth to which their blood would be spilled for their King and His kingdom.  Surely as Jesus suffered and died for us, they too must suffer for the cause of Christ.  Their suffering was required as all of us that call Jesus, Lord, must suffer.  James was the first apostle to die for the cause of Christ after Jesus ascended to heaven, however, before this event took place a tremendous transformation took place in James and John’s life after this moment of exposure to their hearts.  Jesus soon died the death of a violent criminal yet he had committed no crimes nor had He sinned.  That ransom that was paid by Jesus’ blood freed each person that would accept Jesus as the Son of God and commit their lives to Christ as Lord of their life.  This same freedom was bestowed to James and John who we later see as mighty warriors for Christ with very humble servant hearts….what happened to the pride we saw earlier?  As C.J. Mahaney puts it in his book, Humility…True Greatness:

 “James and John were ransomed by the Savior’s death and forgiven of their pride and all their sins.  And they would be transformed as well, from self-confident men into humble servants who would live to serve others with the gospel for the glory of God.”  

Pride no longer held chains on these men.  Now they had the freedom to serve Christ with all their heart, soul and mind.  They were free from this bondage that drew them to feel they needed to be honored and should be first in line, first with a particular new car on the block, first to build a house in that neighborhood, and so on.  Pride drives us to be jealousy of other Christians success.  Pride is the root of the downfalls of many of our leaders.  The first sin ever committed was pride….Lucifer (satan).  He wanted to be above God and take over, but found God’s wrath and was cast to the earth.  It was pride that took satan and one third of the angels out of paradise.  Out of all the sins we can commit, God hates the sin of pride the most. 

So, I ask you, what have we done that we can boast about anything?  We did not create ourselves.  We have not promoted ourselves…God does the promoting.  All success is from God, not man.  On and on it goes, so why do we fall into the prideful trap in our daily lives? 

At the end of the short saga, Jesus tells us all how to live.  If you want to be great you must first be a servant to all the people.  Whoever wants to be first comes through that door as a slave to all.  Even Jesus Himself did not come in honor and glory, but through a barn with animals, not in a palace.  He had just left a palace to show us how deep His love for His creation really was.  Jesus came to serve and to give the ultimate price of love for another, which was to give His life for us all.  So, whenever pride starts to well up inside and raise its ugly head again, just think back to a point and time that you can boast of being equal to Christ or having created something without God’s help.  It is a very humbling thought when we realize each breath we take is a gift from God.  Stamp out pride!

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them and their high officials exercise authority over them.  Not so with you.  Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

-Mark 10:42-45  (NIV) 

By Scott Bailey (c)

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