They say you can’t kill a succulent.
Well, I did.
And that fact, sparked what I’m about to say.
I have to continually be aware of my ability to fail.
The fact that they say you can’t kill a succulent, and I did, helps me know this about myself.
I overwatered it. It’s dead.
Likewise, if I allow myself to obliviously soak up the praise of others, it will eventually kill my testimony and my ministry.
I see it happening to others in ministry. They start out true to the Word and their calling, but as people flock to them, follow them, and praise them, they begin to rely less on the Lord to guide them and they trust themselves and their own opinions to their detriment and the detriment of their ministries.
As they do this, their messages and tweets begin to look more like the world and less like the Word.
As they soak up the praise of others, they become a captive to their audiences and they change the message to please their followers and give them what their itching ears want to hear. (2Tim 4:3)
This is a hard thing to write about, because in writing it, I’m tremendously aware of my own hearts’ potential to be deceived in this very same way.
So will you test everything I say against the Word and hold me accountable?
When you think about me, will you remember what D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, said on his death bed?
“I want you to remember one thing. I am only a forgiven sinner. There’s nothing more to me than that. Don’t forget it.”
We are all susceptible to being too confident in our own opinions and abilities.
May we be on guard against the praise of others and pride.
As Spurgeon wrote,
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” — 1 Peter v. 6.
PRIDE is so natural to fallen man that it springs up in his heart like weeds in a watered garden, or rushes by a flowing brook. It is an all-pervading sin, and smothers all things like dust in the roads, or flour in the mill. Its every touch is evil as the breath of the cholera-fiend, or the blast of the simoom. Pride is as hard to get rid of as charlock from the furrows, or the American blight from the apple-trees. If killed it revives, if buried it bursts the tomb. You may hunt down this fox, and think you have destroyed it, and lo! your very exultation is pride. None have more pride than those who dream that they have none. You may labour against vainglory till you conceive that you are humble, and the fond conceit of your humility will prove to be pride in full bloom. It apes humility full well, and is then most truly pride. Pride is a sin with a thousand lives; it seems impossible to kill it, it flourishes on that which should be its poison, glorying in its shame. It is a sin with a thousand shapes; by perpetual change it escapes capture. It seems impossible to hold it; the vapoury imp slips from you, only to appear in another form and mock your fruitless pursuit. To die to pride and self one would need to die himself.”
and THAT, our Lord said, is to be a DAILY thing (Luke 9:23)
And as I think about that dead succulent, may I remember my ability to fall and daily die to myself.