Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 24

Humility

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after
righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the
children of God. (KJV, Matthew 5:5-9)

People often wonder humility means or what is the definition of


humility. In the Bible, humility or humbleness is a quality of
being courteously respectful of others. It is the opposite of
aggressiveness, arrogance, boastfulness, and vanity. Rather
than, "Me first," humility allows us to say, "No, you first, my
friend." Humility is the quality that lets us go more than
halfway to meet the needs and demands of others.

Friendships and marriages are dissolved over angry words.


Resentments divide families and co-workers. Prejudice
separates race from race and religion from religion.
Reputations are destroyed by malicious gossip. Greed puts
enmity between rich and poor. Wars are fought over arrogant
assertions.

Humility as a virtue is a major theme of both the Old and New


Testaments. Why do qualities such as courtesy, patience and
deference have such a prominent place in the Bible? It is
because a demeanour of humility is exactly what is needed to
live in peace and harmony with all persons. Humility dissipates
anger and heals old wounds. Humility allows us to see the
dignity and worth of all God's people. Humility distinguishes the
wise leader from the arrogant power-seeker.

Acting with humility does not in any way deny our own self
worth. Rather, it affirms the inherent worth of all persons.
Some would consider humility to be a psychological malady
that interferes with "success." However, wealth, power or
status gained at the expense of others brings only anxiety --
never peace and love.
Better is a dish of vegetables where love is, than a fattened ox
and hatred with it. (NAS, Proverbs 15:17)

Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.


(NIV, Proverbs 16:8)

It is better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to


divide the spoil with the proud. (NAS, Proverbs 16:19)

Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his


temper than one who takes a city. (NIV, Proverbs 16:32)

Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of
feasting, with strife. (NIV, Proverbs 17:1)

The Humble Demeanor


We should maintain an attitude of deference toward both God
and other persons. Wisdom cannot be found or practiced
through arrogance or anger. As servants of God, we must
respect all of God's creation, including our fellow human
beings.

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day
may bring forth. Let another praise you, and not your own
mouth; someone else, and not your own lips. (NIV, Proverbs
27:1-2)

When pride comes, then comes dishonor, but with the humble
is wisdom. The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the
falseness of the treacherous will destroy them. (NAS, Proverbs
11:2-3)

Humility means putting God and other persons ahead of our


own selfish interests. Humility comes with the knowledge that
God's creation as a whole transcends our own narrow interests.
As with other aspects of wisdom, humility will gain us much
more than we sacrifice.

Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and
life. (NIV, Proverbs 22:4)
"But the greatest among you shall be your servant. "And
whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever
humbles himself shall be exalted. (NAS, Matthew 23:11-12)

And [Jesus] called a child to Himself and set him before them,
and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and
become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of
heaven. "Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the
greatest in the kingdom of heaven. (NAS, Matthew 18:2-4)

The Golden Rule

Do to others as you would have them do to you. "If you love


those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners'
love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are
good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that.
And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment,
what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,'
expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good
to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything
back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of
the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and
wicked. (NIV, Luke 6:31-35)

The Golden Rule, spoken by Jesus, is possibly the best known


quote from the Bible, and contains a lot of wisdom in one short
sentence. If we wish to be loved, we must first give love. If we
wish to be respected, we must respect all persons, even those
we despise. If we wish to be fulfilled in our lives, we must
share generously with others.

Talk and Gossip


Arrogant words inflame prejudice and hatred, but humble
speech soothes. Words make or break human relationships.
Words can make war or make peace. The words we say or
write have tremendous power for good or evil. We should be as
careful with our words as we would be with any other
"weapon."

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up


anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the
mouth of the fool gushes folly. (NIV, Proverbs 15:1-2)
"The good man out of his good treasure brings forth what is
good; and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth
what is evil. "And I say to you, that every careless word that
men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of
judgment. "For by your words you shall be justified, and by
your words you shall be condemned." (NAS, Matthew 12:35-
37)

Gossip is an act of hostility intended to harm someone's


reputation. We must avoid the temptation to misrepresent
someone's character or actions as an act of revenge or
prejudice.

An evil man sows strife; gossip separates the best of friends.


(TLB, Proverbs 16:28)

Judging Others
Self-righteousness is one of the hardest sins to avoid because
it is so much easier to see other peoples faults than to see our
own faults. Rather than look for faults in others, we should look
for the good in others and try to correct the faults within
ourselves. Jesus' comical parable of a person with a board in
his eye trying to see to remove a speck from another's eye
reminds us that we probably have bigger faults within
ourselves (including self-righteousness) than the faults we
would criticize in others:

"Don't criticize, and then you won't be criticized. For others will
treat you as you treat them. And why worry about a speck in
the eye of a brother when you have a board in your own?
Should you say, 'Friend, let me help you get that speck out of
your eye,' when you can't even see because of the board in
your own? Hypocrite! First get rid of the board. Then you can
see to help your brother. (TLB, Matthew 7:1-5)

Don't criticize and speak evil about each other, dear brothers.
If you do, you will be fighting against God's law of loving one
another, declaring it is wrong. But your job is not to decide
whether this law is right or wrong, but to obey it. Only he who
made the law can rightly judge among us. He alone decides to
save us or destroy. So what right do you have to judge or
criticize others? (TLB, James 4:11-12)

We should not infer that criminal activity should go


unrestrained or unpunished: the laws of Moses had strong
sanctions for criminal acts, and the Bible strongly supports civil
governments. (See the section on Government.) However, we
are reminded that judgment is reserved for God and we should
concentrate on correcting our own faults rather than criticizing
others for their faults.

Anger and Revenge


No one makes us angry. Anger is our own emotional response
to some action or event. More often than not, our angry
feelings are based on a misinterpretation of what someone said
or did. Expressing anger tends to prolong and reinforce our
anger rather than purge it. Angry words and actions are much
more likely to escalate hostilities and block communication
than to solve a problem. Whether between parent and child,
spouses, friends, or nations, expressions of anger divide us and
drive us toward open hostility.

It is all too easy to react to life's annoyances and


disappointments with anger. It is far more challenging, but
much better, to react with understanding and empathy. In this
way, we can quickly settle disputes and avoid turning minor
incidents into major battles. The humble demeanor is a perfect
tool for avoiding disputes and hard feelings.

A fool always loses his temper, but a wise man holds it back.
(NAS, Proverbs 29:11)

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick


to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's
anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
(NIV, James 1:19-20)

Holding a grudge can consume us with hatred, blocking out all


enjoyment of life. A grudge clouds our judgment and may lead
us to an act of revenge that can never be undone.
"'Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your
people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.
(NIV, Leviticus 19:18)

An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one


commits many sins. (NIV, Proverbs 29:22)

Bearing a grudge and seeking revenge are never appropriate


responses to a perceived wrong. A grudge destroys the grudge-
holder with bitterness; revenge only escalates hostilities. Jesus
told us we must reconcile with our adversaries, forgive their
transgressions, and let go of the anger that may tempt us to
commit an act of revenge:

"Under the laws of Moses the rule was, 'If you murder, you
must die.' But I have added to that rule and tell you that if you
are only angry, even in your own home, you are in danger of
judgment! If you call your friend an idiot, you are in danger of
being brought before the court. And if you curse him, you are
in danger of the fires of hell. (TLB, Matthew 5:21-22)

Returning love for hatred can often cool the fires of anger. It is
very difficult not to respond to anger with even more anger.
However, when we respond to anger with empathy and love,
we can often break the cycle of hatred and convert even our
enemies into friends. Jesus gave us the unique command to
love even our enemies:

"There is a saying, 'Love your friends and hate your enemies.'


But I say: Love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute
you! In that way you will be acting as true sons of your Father
in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the
good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust too. If you
love only those who love you, what good is that? Even
scoundrels do that much. If you are friendly only to your
friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even the
heathen do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father
in heaven is perfect. (TLB, Matthew 5:43-48)

By humility we acknowledge that God created us for his


purposes and not for our self-glorification. By humility we
acknowledge the dignity of all God's people. By humility we
cool the angry passions of others. By humility we can turn
enemies into friends.

A humble demeanor is not a denial of our worth as individuals.


Rather, it is the tool that allows us, insofar as possible, to be
on good terms with all persons.

Related verses: Deuteronomy 22:1-2, Psalms 37:7-13, Psalms


147:5-6, Proverbs 11:12, Proverbs 12:13-14, Proverbs
12:16, Proverbs 14:17, Proverbs 14:29, Proverbs
15:4, Proverbs 15:28, Proverbs 17:13-14, Proverbs
17:27, Proverbs 19:1, Proverbs 19:11, Proverbs 20:3, Proverbs
20:15, Proverbs 20:19, Proverbs 20:22, Proverbs 21:23-
24, Proverbs 25:11-12, Proverbs 25:28, Proverbs
26:12, Matthew 5:38-42, Matthew 7:12, Matthew 20:25-
28, Luke 6:20-26, Luke 6:41-42, Luke 14:8-11, Luke 22:25-
27, John 13:13-15, John 13:34-35, John 15:12, Acts
20:35, Romans 2:1, Romans 12:3, Romans 12:14-21, Romans
15:1-2, 1 Corinthians 3:18-21, 1 Corinthians 13:1-
13, Galatians 5:19-23, Galatians 5:26, Ephesians
4:29, Ephesians 4:31-32, Philippians 2:3-8, Colossians 3:5-
9, Colossians 3:12-14, Hebrews 10:22-24, James 1:26-
27, James 3:13-18, 1 Peter 3:8-11, 1 Peter 5:5-6.

Humility vs Pride And Why The Difference Should Matter


To You
Humility is a virtue.
Pride is not.

Humility comes when people are secure.


Pride comes when they are insecure.

A humble leader is a confident leader, knowing who they are


and what they do.
A prideful leader is an overconfident leader trying to convince
other people that they are good enough to be doing what they
are doing.
Humility is strength.
Pride is weakness.

The most humble people I know don’t have to prove


themselves or hide something.
The most prideful people I know are always proving themselves
and hiding something.

Humility is attractive. It makes people want to follow you.


Pride is obnoxious. It causes people to flee from you.

A humble person understands themselves, what they can do


well and cannot do well. Humble people are not afraid to take
constructive criticism or counsel.

A prideful person hasn’t taken the time to truly know


themselves. The pride in them makes them want to be
someone else and blame others when weakness appears.

Humble people are responsive to God, themselves and others.


Proud people are resistant. Everyone else is the problem.

Humble people understand their dependence on God and yield


to Him.
Proud people are their gods and over emphasize themselves.

It is better to be humble than proud; secure instead of


insecure; confident instead of overconfident and responsive
instead of resistant
How Humility Will Make You the Greatest Person Ever

It's so hard to be humble. Here are three tips for taming


your ego.
BY VICKI ZAKRZEWSKI | JANUARY 12, 2016
 Print

 Bookmark
In light of the upcoming presidential race and the increase
in narcissism amongst our youth, I think it’s safe to say that,
as a society, we could use a little more humility.
Our culture places so much value on external accomplishments,
appearance, and self-aggrandizement—all things that are
ephemeral at best—that even a small display of this quiet
virtue can make one feel like a drowning man coming up for
air.

Yet why can it be so challenging for us to express humility? Is


it because we often misinterpret its active demonstration to be
a sign of weakness, when in actuality it is an indication of
tremendous inner strength?

The answers may be found in what scientists are discovering


about this quality—one so deeply revered by all spiritual
traditions that many consider it to be the mother of all virtues.

Why is humility good?


When I meet someone who radiates humility, my shoulders
relax, my heart beats a little more quietly, and something
inside me lets go.
Why? Because I know that I’m being fully seen, heard, and
accepted for who I am, warts and all—a precious and rare gift
that allows our protective walls to come down.

Truly humble people are able to offer this kind of gift to us


because they see and accept their own strengths and
limitations without defensiveness or judgment—a core
dimension, according to researchers, of humility, and one that
cultivates a powerful compassion for humanity.
This kind of self-acceptance emerges from grounding one’s
worth in our intrinsic value as human beings rather than things
such as six-figure salaries or the body of a movie star or
climbing the corporate ladder or the number of friends on
Facebook. Instead, humble people place high value on more
meaningful things that benefit others, such as noble qualities.
They also see life as a school, recognizing that while none of us
is perfect, we can, without negatively impacting our self-
esteem, work on our limitations by being open to new ideas,
advice, and criticism.

This ability alone cultivates an awe-inspiring inner strength, the


most powerful example of which is Gandhi,
whose Autobiography is a journey of humbling self-dissection.
He once famously said, “I claim to be a simple individual liable
to err like any other fellow mortal. I own, however, that I have
humility enough to confess my errors and to retrace my steps.”
If Gandhi is an example of what a humble leader can
accomplish, then society serves to benefit from this kind of
governance. Consider what researchers of the “quiet ego”—a
construct similar to humility—suggest happens when we gain
control of our ego: we become less likely to act aggressively,
manipulate others, express dishonesty, and destroy resources.
Instead, we take responsibility for and correct our mistakes,
listen to others’ ideas, and keep our abilities in humble
perspective.
Who wouldn’t want that kind of leadership for our country—and
the world?

But the benefits of humility do not extend to just our leaders.


Nascent research suggests that this lovely quality is good for
us individually and for our relationships. For example, humble
people handle stress more effectively and report higher levels
of physical and mental well-being. They also show
greater generosity, helpfulness, and gratitude—all things that
can only serve to draw us closer to others.
Three tips for cultivating humility
Given what scientists have discovered about humility, it’s
evident that cultivating this quality is not for the faint-hearted,
nor does it appear overnight. Yet it would seem that one of the
great rewards of humility is an inner freedom from having to
protect those parts that we try to hide from ourselves and
others. In other words, we develop a quiet, understanding, and
compassionate heart.

Here are some scientifically-based ways to start.

1. Embrace your humanness


For many, when we fail at something that is important to us—a
job or a relationship, for example—our self-esteem plummets
because we tied our self-worth to those things. All of a sudden,
we become bad or unworthy people, and it can be a long road
to recovery.

Not so for people with humility. As stated earlier, their ability to


withstand failure or criticism comes from their sense of intrinsic
value of being human rather than outer means. So when they
fail at a task or don’t live up to expectations, it doesn’t mean
that there is something wrong with them. It just means that
they are human like the rest of us.
Scientists suggest that this intrinsic value stems from secure
attachment, or the healthy emotional bond formed with close
others, usually our childhood caregivers. Having the experience
of unconditional acceptance and love, particularly when we’re
young, can serve as a buffer against the effects of criticism or
failure.
Unfortunately, many of us did not experience secure
attachment when we were children. One study found that a
whopping 40 percent of adults are not securely attached, but
thankfully this does not mean we are doomed. We can heal
through healthy adult relationships, such as friends, romantic
partners, or even with a higher power. This recent GGSC
article suggests some ways.
2. Practice mindfulness and self-compassion
In recent years, mindfulness and self-compassion have been
linked to greater psychological resilience and emotional well-
being. And I can’t imagine developing humility without them.
According to scientists, humble people have an accurate picture
of themselves—both their faults and their gifts—which helps
them to see what might need changing within.

Mindfulness grows our self-awareness by giving us permission


to stop and notice our thoughts and emotions without
judgment (if we judge what’s going on inside us, we paint a
distorted view of ourselves).

The more we become aware of our inner lives, the easier it is


to see where unhealthy beliefs and actions might be limiting
us. Noticing and then accepting those parts of ourselves that
are wreaking havoc and that require us to change calls for self-
compassion, or treating oneself with kindness and
understanding.

Once we accept what needs changing, then we can start the


process of transformation. I love the saying by a wise sage, “If
you are in a dark room, don’t beat the darkness with a stick.
Rather, turn on the light.” In other words, just gently and
patiently replace a negative thought or action with a positive
one and over time, we may not even recognize the person we
once were.
3. Express gratitude
Saying “thank you” means that we recognize the gifts that
come into our lives and, as a result, acknowledge the value of
other people. Very simply, gratitude can make us less self-
focused and more focused on those around us—a hallmark of
humble people.

Indeed, a recent study found that gratitude and humility are


mutually reinforcing. Expressing gratitude can induce humility
in us, and humble people have a greater capacity for conveying
gratitude.
Both gratitude letters and gratitude diaries were used in this
study—easy to perform practices that are described in greater
detail on the GGSC’s Greater Good in Action website.
Perhaps the key to humility is seeing life as a journey towards
cultivating those qualities that bring out the best in ourselves
and others and make this world a better place.

And this journey is not just for the average person, but one
that many of our greatest leaders have embarked upon. To
close with the words of one who knew humility, Nelson
Mandela:

As I have said, the first thing is to be honest with yourself. You


can never have an impact on society if you have not changed
yourself…Great peacemakers are all people of integrity, of
honesty, and humility.

“A great man is always willing to be little.”


― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Question: "What does the Bible say about ego?"

Answer: While the word ego does not appear in the Bible, concepts and
principles regarding the ego certainly do. The word ego generally refers to an
exaggerated sense of self-importance, which usually results is an excessive
preoccupation with “self.” But dying to self, the polar opposite of ego, is the
biblical model for Christians. The Bible is filled with admonitions against the
self because of man’s inherent desire to be worshiped. In fact, all the various
forms of modern idolatry have self at their very core. The dark forces of this age
have convinced many that contentment is achieved only by satisfying the urges
of the self. And we can trace this all the way back to the Garden of Eden where
Eve became stirred by Satan’s lie that she could “be like God” (Genesis 3:5).

The opposite of ego is humility, and both the Old and New Testaments are
laden with references to living humbly. In the book of Micah we read, “What
does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk
humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). King Solomon declared, “Humility and
the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life” (Proverbs 22:4). One
verse that epitomizes why we are to be humble is Peter’s exhortation in his first
epistle: “All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another,
because, God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5,
emphasis added).

Indeed, Scripture makes it clear that God hates pride and arrogance (Proverbs
8:13). In fact, it was pride that turned Lucifer into Satan. Isaiah 14:13-
14 describes Satan’s astounding focus on self: “I will ascend…I will
raise…I will sit… I will ascend…I will make myself like the Most High.” This
is a perfect example of pride going before destruction (Proverbs 16:18), for in
the next verse in Isaiah we see where Satan’s pride got him: “But you are
brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit” (v.15). Christ reiterated the
fate of the proud, warning that “whoever exalts himself will be humbled”
(Matthew 23:12). Clearly, an inflated ego and its focus on self are not in
keeping with the Christian call for humility. Rather, it is the antithesis of what
characterizes true Christians—dependence on God and service to others.

A humble heart has no room for ego or pride or arrogance because it recognizes
that all we have and all we are comes from God, as Paul reminded the
Corinthians: “For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you
have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as
though you did not?” (1 Corinthians 4:7). Every gift, every talent, every breath
we take—all are from God, as is our most precious gift, salvation (Ephesians
2:8-9). “Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded…by the law of faith” (Romans
3:27).

Jesus Christ is the perfect example of humility (Mark 10:45; Philippians 2:5-8).
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in
heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:29). Indeed, Jesus did
not come to earth to be served, but to serve, making “himself nothing, taking the
very nature of a servant” (Philippians 2:7). We see an expression of Christ’s
selfless attitude in the Garden of Gethsemane when He said to His Father in
heaven, “Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39), and then on the
following day when He humbly endured the tortures of the cross so that we
could be reconciled to our Father in heaven.

Paul is another beautiful example of humility in action. Next to Jesus, he was


probably the most significant figure of the Christian era. And even though he
was perhaps the greatest advocate of Christ there ever was, he still considered
himself as the “least of the apostles” and the “worst” of sinners (1 Corinthians
15:9; 1 Timothy 1:15). He always encouraged those who followed Christ to
emulate His humility, encouraging them, and us, to “do nothing out of selfish
ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than
yourselves,” adding that we should not simply look to our own interests, but
also to the interests of others (Philippians 2: 3-4; Romans 12:10). That is the
essence of humility and the opposite of ego.

Jesus taught us that the greatest commandments were to love God with all our
heart, soul, and mind and to love our neighbor as we love our self (Matthew
22:37, 39). When we strive to keep these commandments, we take the focus off
ourselves and place it where it should be—on God and on helping others. In the
Christian life devoid of ego, the “I will” becomes a “thy will.”
9 Ways Your Ego Prevents You From
Experiencing God
250SHARES
Share222

Tweet22

Share3

Pin3

Lately, I’ve been haunted by a question. How could so much violence, fear, racism, and divisiveness
occur in God’s name? I’ll ask it a different way. If God is love, why does the narrative of Christianity
include so little of it?

The impending election and media attention surrounding police brutality and national anthem protests
make the question more visible and haunting. Everyone seems to have an increased desire to draw
lines and share opinions, to determine who’s on whose team. The ultimate goal is to prove why “they”
are wrong, by any means necessary, but mostly by demeaning and dehumanizing.

I’m uncomfortable with all of it. The war of words looks more like a high school cheerleading spat than
anything Christian.

But let’s not pretend rivalries and dehumanization are anything new. Genuine Christians once justified
slavery. I live in a country built on power and progress, two principles I see little of in Jesus.

How does this happen? Why don’t more Christians, myself included, look more like Jesus?

Ego.

You might call it “the flesh.” I believe our definition for “ego” closely parallels Paul’s definition for
“flesh.”

The ego is who you think you are. It’s your false identity, your body image, education, theological
knowledge, clothes, friends, social status, job, successes and accomplishments. And, as Paul says,
your ego is against your Spirit.

Everyone has an ego, and I believe one of the major tasks of spiritual maturity is recognizing and
letting go of the ego’s lies in favor of something better.

This is hard work, however. It’s excruciating, to be honest, almost like dying. I would guess most
people don’t let go of their ego unless life throws them a few gut punches. You probably know a few
people who suffered unimaginable tragedy and have more peace and love as a result.
In the past year, I resigned from church ministry, mourned the suicide of a family member (and
follower of Jesus), found and quickly lost a “dream job,” mourned the death of, Matsy Grace, our
adopted Indian daughter, and battled a strange illness that makes going outdoors my worst
nightmare. I’ve wrestled with the darkness, questioning everything: my faith, my identity, and my
calling. At times, I even questioned life. I’ve thrown a few pity parties that would rival the one I threw in
high school when my parents were out of town. Sorry mom.

Can I be honest? The past year has largely sucked. And I’m beginning to understand why. My ego
was dying. And when the ego begins to die, it feels like death. My identity, my purpose, everything I
used to convince myself I was somebody, that I was special, was losing out in favor of a different
voice.

While I’m not an expert, I have realized a few things about the ego. I want to share those things with
you. I hope you will take these and do some work. To be led by the Spirit and bear the Spirit’s fruits
(love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control), we must move
beyond the ego and its lies.

1. The ego equates all self-knowledge with self-


absorption.
It’s tragic that the American church equates self-knowledge with self-absorption. Maybe we’re
concerned self-discovery will inevitably lead to hugging trees and smoking “left-handed cigarettes”?

Not until my ego-centric identity crumbled did I begin re-examining the question “Who am I?” The
answer led me inside, and I found some ugly stuff, an identity composed of success, affirmation, and
selfish ambition. In the process, I saw how I manipulated relationships and used people.

This inward journey has also led me to believe we can’t truly know God until we know ourselves. To
uncover the Spirit, the True Self, you must wade through the ego’s facades and smoke screens. Until
then, the ego controls things, including Christian things. This might explain why we can’t love our
neighbor as ourselves, as Jesus tells us to do, especially when our neighbor is gay, Muslim or
Democratic.

If you’re interested in discovering who you really are, here are a few resources:

The Enneagram: A Christian Perspective (Richard Rohr and Andreas Ebert)

The Road Back to You (Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile)

The Enneagram and Spirituality (Don Russo and Russ Hudson)


2. The ego is highly competitive and thinks in terms of
win/lose.
Your ego wants to separate, divide, and draw lines to prove itself. Why else do we compete, except
for superiority? And while healthy competition isn’t wrong, most people never beyond my team versus
your team, my group against your group, my theology against yours.

For me, the opponent was other denominations. I believed my theology was superior, which made me
a better Christian than you. Somehow, God chose to reveal the “real truth” to a small segment of
mostly white people born in the last few centuries.

This is my story. For others, the ego uses political affiliation, social status, morality, skin color,
nationalism to elevate itself.

Any thinking that makes you better than the person beside you for any reason is not from God. The
Creator is love and doesn’t need to compete.

3. The ego must be correct and does not accept


contradictions.
Most of my “Christian” journey, I thought it was my duty to have the right answers. I studied hard, and
when I wasn’t really sure, I made something up.

REC OM M ENDE D FOR Y OU

WWJD - A Dangerous Question To Ask?

But while helping others make sense of God, especially those troubling parts about suffering and
eternity, I became less certain. Something in me knew God’s nature and interaction with his creation
couldn’t be explained in a few sentences.

Now I believe that “something” was my True Self, the Spirit.

In our effort to commercialize Christianity and mass market the eternal message, many American
churches have eliminated uncertainty because, quite frankly, it doesn’t sell. It doesn’t sell because it’s
both risky and time-consuming.

As I look at Scripture, however, I see a God who is incredibly risky (too risky for our comfort) and
painfully patient. It seems God is more vulnerable than powerful and somehow God uses everything
(love, death, celebration, suffering) in the larger plan.
Why did slavery happen? How could God allow the Nazis to murder so many Jews? Why are children
overcome by cancer and others sold into sex slavery? For the first time, I can honestly answer, “I
don’t know.” I find peace the land of unknown. I have faith that somehow, someway God knows.

And death won’t have the final word.

4. The ego hates change above all else.


If you asked the ego to rank its greatest fears, change would take the top spot. When your ego is in
charge, you love comfort and the status quo. It should come as no surprise that Jesus’s first sermon
is “Repent!” (Mark 1:15 and Matt. 4:17), which means “change your mind.”

The ego hates that message. But it’s difficult to explain away Jesus’s desire for us to change. So,
most ego-centric people project the message onto a spouse, a child, a parent, a friend or life’s
circumstances. As long as the ego can find someone else to change, it’s off the hook.

The ego’s greatest fear is change.


TWEET THIS!

Your ego doesn’t want you to grow or change. It doesn’t want you to let go or stretch yourself beyond
your current theological understanding. So, rather than accept the radical message of Jesus that
essentially says, “You change. You’re the problem, not your spouse, child, or co-workers,” your ego
searches for a place that loves the status quo.

I’m convinced the most loving thing your spouse or church can do is patiently challenge you to
change or grow.

When you know whose you are, when you’ve uncovered your divine identity, change isn’t threatening.
Change is no longer an indictment on a particular generation, race, or leader. It’s an indictment on
your ego.

5. The ego minimizes sins of the heart and focuses on


sins of the flesh.
Because your ego is formed by external stuff (validation, opinions, job, education), it focuses on
eliminating external sins, the ones you can tangibly measure. So, all types of sexual sins (porn
addiction, sex before marriage, prostitution, etc.), church attendance, and right theology become the
measure of a true Christian.

Jesus seems to address this ridiculous attitude from the beginning (see Matt. 5-7), and somehow I
missed it. Jesus knows external sins are shadows of true transformation, and we’re merely reshuffling
the deck until we address what’s underneath.
Greed, envy, pride, hatred, prejudice and vanity affect the heart. And, sadly, America not only accepts
these sins, but often celebrates them.

6. The ego needs to feel special and it’s reluctant to


give others praise or credit.
“It’s just me, myself, and I,” says your ego. Your ego, your flesh, your false self needs to feel separate
and special. It needs the spotlight and isn’t afraid to manipulate people, even God, to attract attention.
The ego says, “Look what I’ve done. See what I accomplished.” And it’s always looking over its
shoulder because it believes attention is a finite resource. Usually not openly, but almost always
privately, the ego resents any person who threatens its platform or reputation.

It wasn’t until I lost a job writing full-time that I realized how impure my motives were. The ego can,
and often does, stand in place of God’s voice, and you don’t realize this until the “fit hits the shan.” I
remember losing this job and wrestling with the reality of pursuing jobs in other fields. I was freaking
angry with God. I might have even cursed a few times. Stop judging me.

Your True Self doesn’t attach to accomplishments or titles. You no longer need to be who other’s
want you to be. Climbing mountains and ladders no longer seems important either. Even a small taste
of this radical shift liberates your heart and mind. This has been my experience, at least.

7. The ego romanticizes the past and idealizes the


future, but rarely lives in the present.
Depending on your position in life, the ego has an unhealthy attachment to either the past or the
future. For some, the ego obsesses over the “good ol’ days,” you know, the way things used to be. It
agonizes over what this world has become and believes restoring the old way or system of doing
things would solve our problems. This same group is fearful about the future. It’s unknown, so why
take a risk?

REC OM M ENDE D FOR Y OU

The Most Destructive Force Facing Christianity...And How To Fix It

If you’re stuck in the past, wishing your marriage, church, or country would just go back to the way
things were, your ego is calling the shots.

But there’s another diversionary tactic the ego to avoid the present, idealizing the future. Most people
who idealize the future are cynical towards the past. There’s nothing redemptive or useful about what
happened “back then.” For this group, the ego has convinced them to hold out for some some future
version of life, when things will be better. It embarrasses me to admit this is my story. And it’s both
painful and liberating to admit that future life where everything is perfect never comes.
Let me say this: the past, present, and future matter. God comes to people in their present situation.
He comes to us this way as well, right now. I’m convinced our experience of God is tied to how fully
we live in each moment.

At the same time, the past reveals a larger narrative of God’s work and interaction with his creation.
Your experience will be limited without knowledge of the past. Your faith will also be limited if you fear
the future. God leads people forward, not backward. Those who allow the Spirit to lead know this.

8. The ego seeks immediate gratification and despises


anything hard or uncomfortable.
If it’s hard, requires effort, or makes you uncomfortable, it’s not worth pursuing. So says the ego, at
least. But if you’ve lived for any length of time, you know these situations are unavoidable. Rather
than wrestling with discomfort or anxiety, the ego seeks a quick fix.

The ego believes you can experience God without discomfort.


TWEET THIS!

Most Christians like everything about Jesus, except the hard parts. Like losing your friends, being
rejected by your own people, and, of course, dying on a cross. Again, I’m guilty. I couldn’t imagine
loss leading to life. It’s still hard to believe.

In a culture built on power and progress, the ego has plenty of fuel to fan its flame. Could it be our ego
insists there’s no meaning in suffering because it knows something exists on the other side,
something like God? Could it be that suffering isn’t bad but necessary? For years, American
Christians have tried to re-wire the Motherboard, believing we can find true love and peace and joy
another way. We remain deeply angry, racist, and materialistic.

9. The ego is sensitive and easily offended.


If you want a practical point for inspection, here it is. How easily are you offended? When the ego is in
charge, almost any disagreement or opposing viewpoint feels like a personal attack. In response, the
ego gathers likeminded people to affirm itself. Although I’m not against technology or social media, I
believe it’s stunted most Christians’ spiritual maturation. It has stunted mine. In a former world,
huddling around common viewpoints was much harder. But today most people go months or longer
without engaging a different perspective.

For proof, look no further than most churches. Are they not glorified pep rallies? I wish this weren’t
true, but when you ask Christians why they attend a certain church, you will inevitably hear, “I agree
with what they teach.”

Look at the political landscape. We’re more polarized than any time I can remember, and I’m just
referring to Christians. When it comes to Trump or Hillary, I’m not sure whether people are concerned
about the future of our country or just being right?
I write this from experience. When I received a nasty e-mail or encountered someone who saw the
world differently, I ran to social media or called a friend because my ego needed to be pampered.

This stems from the ego’s desire to be right, special, and separate. Notice Jesus was never offended.
The spirit of God is un-offendable.

_____________

I write these words with humility. I sincerely hope you receive them this way. I’m only 31. I haven’t
figured God out. I’m not holier or closer to God than you. I just want to share what I’ve received.

Maybe this sounds like nonsense. That’s ok. Maybe you think I’m high on something or a heretic.
That’s ok too. But I believe everyone has divine DNA. The Maker places his essence in you. I believe
some of you know this, but aren’t sure why you’re still battling bitterness, greed, racism, etc. You’re
tired of looking “out there.” You know it doesn’t deliver what it promises. For me, catching a glimpse of
my True Self, even if it’s a small one, feels like freedom. I no longer need to be anyone other than
who I am in God.

My ego (and yours) never fully dies. But its authority over our lives can diminish.

The first step to finding who you are, your identity, is recognizing what keeps you from it. Maybe I’ve
accomplished this for someone.

I love you all. To God be the glory forever. Amen!

5 Ways Your Ego is Keeping You from God’s


Plan

There are many ways that I let my ego keep me from God’s perfect plan for my life. “I do not
understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do”(Romans 7:15). I can’t
completely thwart His overall plan for me because I’m not that powerful. But I can slow down my
journey. Like the Israelites walking through the desert, I can turn an 11-day trip into 40 years! I can
keep getting my foot caught in various traps.
1. Perfectionism
Thinking that I must do everything perfectly right away will halt my progress every time. I don’t have to
do everything perfectly. There’s a lot to be said for sincere, but flawed, effort when I’m doing
something new. People will probably just be glad that I showed up and tried. Then I try it again and I
do a little better. I don’t give up. I try it again, and again, and again. And each time I do a little better.
I feel that is what God wants—sincere efforts from a pure heart to please Him and a never give up
attitude so I can continue onward with even more sincere efforts. Why do I think I should do things
well from the start anyway? Ego.
2. People Pleasing
SEE ALSO: When It's Hard to be Patient with God's Perfect Plan
Thinking I should please everyone in every way so they’ll like me or continue to like me is the wrong
motivation. There’s nothing wrong with helping people when my desire is simply that—to help. But
when I feel the need to impress them, there’s a problem.
There’s no need to make an impression on anyone but God. Helping people with pure motives means
to help whether they appreciate me or not. People pleasing is often doing things that the person
wants. Helping them often means doing the thing that they need. If I always do what someone wants,
I’m operating from ego.
3. Plotting Your Plan
Thinking I must have everything figured out before I move is operating from my plan, not necessarily
God’s plan. There are a lot of things that I can never figure out even if I had a million years to think
about it. God’s Spirit can whisper to me to do some things that don’t seem to make sense and yet
they’re right to do and everything works out.
SEE ALSO: Trusting in God's Plan
Tithing is an example. Money is tight so I look at every single detail trying to figure out how in the
world I can pay all the bills. It doesn’t seem possible. But when I start by giving God’s share first, the
other obligations just seem to come together and everything else gets paid as well.
Using wisdom and discernment is a good thing but often I can plot and scheme and endeavor to
figure out every little detail so much that I freeze up. I become paralyzed. I can’t move forward
because I need to know everything beforehand. Ego.
4. Parallelism
Thinking that I should be even with or equal to other people before I even try something is ludicrous.
People were not created to be lined up and measured equally. Even in the same field or group,
people will do things differently. They cannot be compared.
SEE ALSO: Being Confident of God's Plan
God doesn’t compare; He loves uniquely. Three people could give the exact same message and
reach different people with it. It’s the how and why that reaches people, not necessarily the what.
When I think that I can’t do something because somebody else out there does it better, I’m giving
myself an excuse not to try. By refusing to do something, I’m attempting to control the situation and
giving in to my ego. I’m also worried about how I’ll look in comparison to others. More ego.
5. Poor Pronoun Use
Possibly the number one way that I let my ego get in the way is using “I” or “me” too much at the
beginning of my sentences. Satan made this mistake when he fell. He only thought of himself.
“I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars. I will preside on the mountain of the
gods far away in the north. I will climb to the highest heavens and be like the Most High” (Isaiah
14:12-15).
I don’t necessarily use those high and mighty, exalted sayings but I can dwell on “I” and “me” too
much.
 I am not good enough to attempt that feat.
 I won’t be good enough if I try.
 So and so is better than me, why should I try?
 I have to do this in my own strength. It all depends on me.
I am much better off when I begin my thoughts by speaking to the Lord and using “you” in the
beginning of the thought.
 Lord, You are good enough to help me when I try something new.
 Lord, You can make up for what I lack when I try.
 Lord, if You want me to do something, that is good enough. It doesn’t matter if so and so is better
than me. We’re two different people with two different voices.
 Lord, I know you will help me to accomplish things. It depends on You working through me.
Then I am in a much better place—a place where I can remember that Jesus is the vine and I am the
branch. If I remain in Him, and He in me, I will produce much fruit. But apart from Him, I can do
nothing (John 15:5).