Personal Growth
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How Much Do You Think About Yourself?

Why do we do the things we do?

As a society, why do criminals commit crimes?  Is it because they think so little of themselves that they feel they have to weaken others to empower themselves (Western philosophy)?  Is it because they are so prideful that they feel themselves above the moral and legal obligations of society (Eastern philosophy)?

As an individual, what motivates a person every day?  Is it because I need to eat and therefore I go to work?  Is it because I feel an obligation to perform to a level in which I can compare my life to the people around me?

Why do we do the things we do?

The church of Corinth was going through a similar crisis when Paul wrote his letters.  The leaders of the church were motivated by the wrong things.  Some of the leaders were saying that they should be given special status because they had been taught by Peter.  Others clamored that they should be the ones given special status because they learned from Paul, and another group claimed superiority because they had learned from Apollos. (See 1 Corinthians 3-4)

Søren Kierkegaard said in his book Sickness Unto Death, “It is the normal state of the human heart to try to build its identity around something besides God.”  These people in the church showed us what ugly truth we all have underneath.  They all were filled with pride.  Paul wrote, “If you pay attention to what I have quoted from the Scriptures, you won’t be proud of one of your leaders at the expense of another”  (1 Corinthians 4:6)

The word Paul used here for pride, physioõ, is unique to Paul’s writings.  It has a slightly different meaning than the hubris we are more accustomed to.  The word here literally means to be overinflated, swollen, and distended beyond its proper size.  Paul is telling these people that they are so full of hot air they’ve become painfully swollen.

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Paul said in 4:3-4 “As for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority.  I don’t even trust my own judgement on this point.  My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right.  It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.”  Paul takes himself out of the equation.  When looking at what is right or what is wrong he says that only God can decide.  Timothy Keller once said, “The essence of gospel-humility is not thinking more of myself or thinking less of myself, it is thinking of myself less.”

Why do we do what we do? Pride. We think about ourselves too much and think about God too little.

Living a gospel centered life has very little to do with you; people shouldn’t see “Joe” in my actions.  They should see God in His actions through Joe.

I have a lot of work to do… how about you?

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My wife Melissa and I have four children Jack, Sam, Hailey, and Eli. I serve my church as a deacon, 912 leader, and in Allstars. I love great food, hanging out with my kids, going on dates with my wife and wrestling polar bears.

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