Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
The entire ministry of Jesus, God the Son, on earth was to direct and connect people to God the Father. Not to draw attention to Himself. But as He traveled around multiplying fish and bread, giving blind men sight and raising people from the dead…attention came to Him.
People then and now love the spectacular! So the crowds clamored but Jesus told them…
“If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me.” (John 8:54)
That word “glorify” means to “honor, recognize as excellent or highly impressive, reward for greatness.”
The Son wasn’t after recognition and accolades from fans. Only from the Father. “My Father…glories me.”
Reputation seeking, Recognition wrangling. Selfish ambition. What hard things to avoid…
…in this age of “likes” and “shares”.
…when we walk on stage.
…when marketing our services or products.
…in the job interview.
…when we feel overlooked and invisible.
…when we’re smart, beautiful, talented or good.
It’s taken me 15 years of living in a spotlight (albeit a very small one) to stop feeling guilty when the crowds gather. Attention and recognition come (and go) and are neutral. Only our chosen response to them is good or evil.
So we fight our “vain conceit”, the compulsion to absorb glory for ourselves, to believe we’ve earned it and deserve it, the addiction that drives us to work for more and more of it.
If even the Son didn’t seek His own glory?
We must redirect our affections and our crowds to the only One who is honorable, excellent, highly impressive and great.
Lord, as I walk in Your ways I eagerly wait for You. For Your name and Your renown are the desire of my soul. (Isaiah 26:8)