Recently I was rebuked by my mentors. It wasn’t the first time and it most likely (unfortunately) won’t be the last. Rebuking someone, giving them hard truth in love, is definitely biblical. Paul closed his second letter to Timothy by saying, “Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. (2 Timothy 4:2b). My mentors, Millie and Jeff, told me something that was difficult to hear: some of my actions lately showed I thought very highly of my own spirituality. Being called “Holy Spirit Jr.” is really no fun at all, and although painful, it is helping me to realize sin in my life that is not pleasing to God.
The raw truth was that I had again become puffed up in my spirituality. Sadly, I have done this before. A few summers ago I was set to lead my first small group and launch a blog and boy was I excited about what God was doing in my life. But this same mentor, Millie, rightly (although painfully) called me out for pushing ahead on the small group and the blog without asking the Holy Spirit for guidance. After being challenged, I could not deny that both were being done based on my timing and not God’s. Millie rebuked me for 25 minutes in front of my wife and my young son Luke. It was so painful to say very few words and just listen to someone firmly but lovingly call out my sins!
Despite my new life in Christ, I still have brokenness in me which motivates me to want my way, for people to know I am smart and have something to say. I have learned the hard way that as I continue on in my faith journey some sins take a while to make progress in and one of mine is pride. It is hard to admit openly, but my actions show that sometimes I think I am a lot further along spiritually than those around me (this is so wrong on so many levels). For the past couple of months I felt that I was supposed to chat with Millie and Jeff to discuss a financial ministry I believe God is leading
me (Nicole and I) to launch. As part of our work as financial coaches, we have offered pro bono financial help to certain individuals over the years and we were thinking of doing something more formal, as an off-shoot of our financial planning firm, specifically to fulfill this mission. Nicole and I were in agreement that it could be the right time to launch a formal ministry. I have waited, fasted, sought wise counsel, and it appeared to me I had “checked” all of the boxes a good Christian should. The last box to check was to speak with my mentors, Millie and Jeff, and then we would be good to go. I was particularly keen to share this idea with Millie. Millie has a way of asking Spirit-led questions that get to the heart of my motivation for wanting to take action. Needless to say the conversation did not go exactly how I thought (it never does with conversations like these) and after we hung up, I was left wondering (again) what had happened and how my pride was still a big part of the life that God continues, so graciously, to entrust to me. Wasn’t I moving beyond this sin that had entangled me in the past? Why was I still getting ahead of God and believing my spirituality has any value at all?
God continues to transform me, but this waiting season is tough. At times I am confused, frustrated, and upset that this timeline of how I think my life should be going is not in line with God’s. Like what is God thinking, doesn’t He know who I am? Reflecting upon my continued pride, I realize that I tend to walk through life like God owes me something. My pride is really preventing me from seeing God for who He is: my creator, all powerful, all knowing, love, full of wrath, patient and kind yet sovereign, among many other marvelous things. He knows exactly why He created me, and you too, and everyone else that was ever born or who is yet to born. He does not make mistakes and His timing is perfect.
Over the last few weeks I have been processing and praying about my mentors words and came upon a teaching in Behold Your God by John Snyder that helped to crystalize what I have been struggling with. The big aha moment, which I am still processing, came when I read week 11 in Behold Your God, where John Snyder unfolds, “the wonderful absurdity and impracticality of true religion” when God decided the right time for Jesus to launch the greatest ministry ever. Here is the question Snyder poses: “Was it wise for the Son of God to live in obscurity for thirty years when He could have been doing so much good as a young adult?”
Think about that for a minute (or maybe it deserves more).
Our perfect savior Jesus Christ, in submission to the Father, waited. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, fully God (“in him the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Colossians 1:19) “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped” (Philippians 2:6) waited for God the Father to tell Him when the timing was right to launch into His ministry. And in the end, Jesus spent only 10% of the years of his life in ministry.
Today, every time I think of this, I just cry.
Lord you are the best.
You are not like the rest.
There is no one like You.
I will do whatever you want me to do.
I do not want to get ahead of God and I want to stop thinking I know better. How have you dealt with issues of pride? How should we respond to seasons of waiting?