Sounds sick just to type it. See! I get what I ask for! A friend said to me jokingly, "Don't pray for patience, because if you do you will get nothing but trials to build your patience!" The same goes for asking for sight -sight to see the blackness of your own sin, sight to put your finger on specific things. This is one thing the Lord was pleased to show me -that I am one who likes to make a name for himself. I like to have the answer, to say something uplifting, and many times there is a heavy taint of this. I have the desire to magnify the LORD, but right by my side, clinging to me and bound in my flesh like a tumor is the desire to magnify my own name as well. It is seeking to please men rather than seeking to please God alone.
In what ways do I do this? Well, one way I do this is in wanting to answer everyone -either in defense of truth or to answer their question. Again, there is a desire to help, to magnify the name of the LORD, but also a sinfully sick desire to make my name known. This is the way in which I see it most. This is why I often sinfully neglect my true callings (family, etc.), because they do not attract the attention of men or build me up in sinful pride. How wicked and profane! If my concern was primarily the glory of God and to please Him, then oh how different things would be!!!
I would be content and joyful just to pray for my family, something which is unseen to anyone except God. I would devote my time to nurturing my children and dying to myself daily for them. I would love my wife in that way that Christ loved the Church. And to even hear their anger and scorn toward me at times, justified or unjustified, would be of no consequence because my duties, my whole life, would be about serving the Living God. He would be my single audience!!! I cannot express how I long to be like this, but I am glad that, as I sit here and type, it is gushing through the crack. I pray the LORD would bust the crack wide open so that the entire wall would be destroyed. Still, it is so good to see the wickedness that so entangles me.
Maybe someone will read this and recognize the same thing in themselves. I know I am quick to hear something like this and say, "oh man, that guy I just talked to could use to hear this..." or "that pastor from that church definitely needs to hear this." Yeah, I think it. I do. Then I remember one of the first things I can recall from the Bible -from way before I was converted; way back to when I was a kid in CCD class. It was Jesus' words about removing the plank from my own eye before I point out the speck in my brother's. Yeah. Pretty simple, huh?
I'M the one who is haughty, man-pleasing, sinful, and eager to exalt my own name. It is the utmost of idolatry -placing myself even near the place where the God alone rightfully sits and reigns. To think that God says so many times that He does things for His "name's sake." It is an incredible, humbling thing to see that God does everything for His own glory. It's something that brings us, His creatures, us sinful idolaters as we all are, to gnash our teeth and curse the heavens!
This is the contrast I need, though. I need not only to see that I exalt my own name. I need also to see how beautiful and right it is for the name of God to be exalted. It is the only name fit to be exalted, and it is the Name that, when exalted, is 100% in line with the heart of the Great I AM. This is why it is wrong for us to exalt self... because we aren't God! God's name alone is worthy of praise, of adoration. And the greatest thing about it is that exalting the name of the Most High brings joy to His saints. We explode with praise, and it issues forth from our mouths and radiates from our souls.
21 "But I had concern for My holy name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations where they went.
22 "Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says the Lord GOD, "It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. (Ezek 36:21-22)
To seek my own name's glory is dirty and cheap and petty. It is so because the thing which is pure and precious and invaluable and glorious is the exaltation of the Name of the LORD. It is the only name that can be called "holy".
May God continue to humble me and show me the greatness of His name so that my heart's desire will be to exalt Him rather than self and to please Him rather than garner the praise of men.