Self-Aggrandizing for Jesus?

We cannot long stomach those who by all appearances are peddling Jesus for their own purposes. I certainly can’t. It’s hard to swallow the word of God mixed with ego. Or to learn from one who talks Jesus but lives nothing like him in obscurity or when away from the limelight (and sees no problem with it).

Unbelievers can readily spot those of us that succumb to our ego-filled gospels which are not really gospel. Why can’t we?

Concerning our appetites for renown Andy Stanley says: “One thing about an appetite is that if you feed it, it grows and it is never fully satisfied.”

God has entrusted me with delivering his Word through the spoken and written word. But, I’ve held back. I’ve held back because I fear becoming the kind of person who uses God for my own means. I fear becoming an ego-maniac who peddles God for the sake of my own renown.

I fear becoming the kind of person who uses others to get ahead – for selfish means and ambition.

I fear a gradual growth in self-absorption instead of growth in grace.

I fear a growth in greed.

I’ve been using the word ‘fear’ a lot. I so fear becoming the wrong kind of person and harming others in self-aggrandizing ministry that I am not being the right sort of person. I’ve held back. Consequently, I have not been a good steward.

So after a retreat this weekend I’ve resolved to stop fearing. I will move forward in the belief that God and my community of Jesus friends will check me if I transgress through self-aggrandizement or other godless behavior. While self-aggrandizing ministry is vomit-inducing, God telling me that I’ve buried my talents by refusing to speak or act is equally vomit-inducing.

Burying our talents is not only perilous for our own souls but perilous for the kingdom.


6 thoughts on “Self-Aggrandizing for Jesus?

  1. I hear you, Merlena. I say in on a lecture by publishers on how to seek publication “without losing your soul.” They didn’t give any true wisdom on the spiritual issue at hand. I think this question of “peddling Jesus” is sickening and yet we are called to be a voice in the wilderness. I keep hearing the need for a deep love for every listener/reader who comes my way. That is the struggle I’m finding with writing/preaching. It is sometimes a virtual world removed (or a podium) from being able to look into their eyes.

  2. Marlena, can I just say thank you for being so intentional with those questions? Thank you for wrestling. I honestly look forward to more of your answers.

    This post would be the start of a really good spiritual direction session!

    1. Summer,

      Thank you. God has given us both a gift. We can depend on our community to keep us. But as I said to Sarah, we should not shrink back. It’s swinging the pendulum the other way. I suppose Jesus could’ve remained in obscurity or have gone back to obscurity for fear he would give into the Devil’s wilderness temptations. Hadn’t thought about it like that before until I just started writing here.

  3. These fears are mine too. I can’t even count the number of times I have refrained from posting ANYTHING on my poorly neglected blog because I am so, so fearful of being that kind of person. I worked in a church where this was common and it has made me paranoid to an unhealthy degree of “who am I to say anything” after seeing so many people claim to speak for God. This past year has been a process of trying to find a healthy balance, which is difficult. What I tell myself, and what I hope and believe is true, is that as long as you are asking these questions, and as long as you are afraid, you are probably not being that sort of person.

    1. Hi Sarah,

      Thank you. It is my hope. And I have a lot of people who would keep me accountable. I need to use the gifts the Lord has given me in obedience and just leave the rest to him. Let’s be here for one another. I encourage you to go onward and upward. We are not like those those who shrink back (Hebrews 10:39).

      Have you thought about applying to Redbud Writer’s Guild?

      1. I haven’t but I will check it out! I don’t know if I have room to commit to a formal thing right now (work + grad school + foster care licensing) but I will check it out. Thank you! Either way, I need to focus on writing more than emails/papers.

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