One of the traits that beguiles me, and most men at times, is this desire to prove myself. This is something that I think we (men) are born with and hold onto forever. It is contrary to the teachings of the bible yet all segments of our society applaud this trait and see it as something that is to be admired. So, for a man who is trying to follow Jesus this creates quite the dilemma. Do I do what feels natural and continue to jockey for position, labor for attention, fight to be right, strive harder for recognition and elevate my self-worth OR do I the opposite of all those things, like Jesus did?
Jesus taught us and demonstrated for us that we are to do the opposite. That’s the gist of the whole Sermon on the Mount and the whole of Jesus’ human experience. During his time on this earth he lived everyday not to prove himself but to prove God. Think about it, how often did Jesus refrain from exerting his authority – prove himself on the spot – to instead trust God with the moment and allow God to prove himself faithful in the end? Jesus did this without fail because his trust in his Father was greater than his need to prove himself capable of handling the situation on his own.
I know that God equips us to do great things and sometimes when that happens it will bring attention our way. My point here is not that we will never exert great effort and be seen by those around us as having done something well and thereby gain some form of recognition. Every miracle Jesus performed was at the leading of God and every act of Jesus drew huge amounts of attention. But, we never see Jesus acting to gain attention… as a matter of fact we often see him running from the attention that came his way due to his actions… why? Even though he was God he didn’t see value in proving himself as a man but in elevating the power of his Father so that at the right time he would receive his due reward… from his Father… not instantly from men. (Phil 2:5-11)
I hate how often I strive to prove myself capable of handling a situation instead of seeing it as an opportunity to prove my trust in God. There really is only one reason I would do that… its because at that moment I value the instant reward of men over the ultimate reward of God.
My hope is that as I walk forward through this life that I will seek to prove God and not myself. Recognizing the momentary rush that pride brings in a success will, in time, feel like agony compared to the everlasting pulse of joy provided by a Father who has proven himself to me.