That’s right, I think I’m pretty great… actually, if I’m being honest, you should just take the “pretty” out of that statement… I think I’m great. I sing my own praises and spread my own gospel and offer up sacrifices to myself. That may sound rather humorous to you, but I’m not trying to be funny. I’m trying to accurately reflect the condition of my heart in those regular times during the day when I’m not thinking biblically. It sounds offensively arrogant when you say it out loud, but it’s true… and that’s a bad thing. I need help battling this tendency in my heart. I need help getting to the place where I can say along with the psalmist, “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory” (115:1).
I praise the Lord for guys like Stephen Altrogge who help me humbly see myself in light of who God is. Here’s what Altrogge says in his new book The Greener Grass Conspiracy: “Billions of people have lived before us. Billions of men and women were born, got married, worked a job, had children, thought they were very important, grew old and died. And very few of these people are remembered” (p. 23). Thanks, Stephen… I guess when you put it like that I’m not the center of the universe. It’s true, we’re not the center of the universe; God is, and unless our hearts get to the place where they submit to that reality, then we will never experience the standard-exceeding joy God has for us in Christ.
I have started to collect statements or questions like Stephen’s that shatter the supreme love I have for myself. Another one that I find helpful is to ask myself, “How many people are there that exist in the world right now who have never heard of you… or will never hear of you?” That’s a number I can’t count to. Similarly, I ask myself, “Of all the people you know, how many of them have not even thought of you today… or this week?” Even though I wake up in the morning thinking, “God bless Brent Osterberg”, doesn’t mean anyone else does. It’s absurd that I have to ask such questions, but I need help being brought low so that I recognize the holiness and beauty of our great God, and worship Him accordingly.
So, let’s help each other. What other statements or questions can we use to smash our pride? What do you remind yourself of when you need to be brought low? Leave a comment and let me know.