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Have you checked your "ego" lately?

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Have you checked your "ego" lately?

Whether you are a pastor, evangelist, leader, worship leader, minister of any kind, or a believer, how do you view others?
Have you checked your "ego" lately? Considered who you are in Christ? Do you know that you need God's grace each and every day, or do you think that you are perfect? "Have it all together", are "assured" of yourself?
How do you look at other people? When you encounter others, or when you think of others, do you think, "this person is valuable in God's eyes", or do you look down at them? Think you are better than they?
When you see someone of weaker faith, or someone who does not believe in Christ do you despise them?
Do you forget that Jesus is the only one that stands between you and your just punishment?
Theres an often sad, and harmful misonception that "once" we are in Christ, we have it all together". We "are perfect", but in fact we are not, only God is! We are not, not even close! With the same fervor and drive that brings us to His throne, the day we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, is the same fervor we need everyday of our lives!! 
It is O-N-L-Y Christ that separates us from our "just reward" for our sin, not anything that we can, or will ever do! Sometimes we forget, we get off track and we begin to think that "we have earned merit" with God. Nothing, however could be further from the truth. God's grace is just that, grace!
Paul was very clear when he spoke about God's grace:
 "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,"
                                             (Ephesians 2:8 NKJV)
Its a gift! How easily we forget this!!
Its really astounding the way we look at and treat others. Whether its those who believe in Christ, or those who do not. We forget that it is only by God's grace that we have been saved? Why, as humans, do we just not get it? The human factor is dangerous. We are naturally selfish, self-centered people, and sometimes very "egotistical", but God chooses to redeem us anyway, despite ourselves! As we walk through our daily life we seem to forget that it is Jesus that has done the work on the cross, not us! We begin to "trust in ourselves" and forget we are not earning salvation (its been "freely given" to us). In turn as we become more and more "sure" within ourselves we loose focus on the truth. We think we are better than others.
You see God helps us with our walk and we forget that it is His Holy Spirit within us that "guides us", not us! Jesus was clear in this:
 "However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come."
                               (John 16:13 NKJV)
You see it is God's guidance every day by His Holy Spirit that helps us. He teaches us and leads us, not us leading ourselves!! So the question we have to ask ourselves is, where are we in our walk today? Do we realize each and every day that we are blessed so humbly, that we do not deserve God's love and forgiveness, or do we think we deserve it?
This is a parable Jesus told of those who trusted in themselves and despised others.
This is what Jesus said:

                                     "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, "God, I thank You that I am not like other men--extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.' And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, "God, be merciful to me a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
                                          (Luke 18:10-14 NKJV)
If you were to compare yourself to the two people in this parable, who would you be? The pharisee, or the tax collector?
Its so easy to get off track. It can happen so "subtly". We accept Jesus, the Holy Spirit works through us to "teach" (mature), lead us (Heb. 13:21, Eph. 2:21, Jn. 6:45, 1 Cor. 2:10-13, Rom. 8:26, Jn. 14:26). He also uses us for ministry, whether its full time, part time, or any other instance of ministry in our lives that He uses us. Whether its a spiritual gift, or whatever it may be, it is God who uses us, not us!!
Let's take spiritual gifts for example, do you remember that spiritual gifts are given out by The Holy Spirit? Not only that, but they are God's gifts, not ours and they are for the benefit of all:
  "There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills."
                               (1 Corinthians 12:4-11 NKJV)
It is God's leading by His Holy Spirit that we are used for anything good. In fact you can always tell when you see something that is done in (by the guidance of) the Spirit, or in the flesh. A perfect example would be a sermon that you hear. You can tell if it was God inspired, preached by the leading of the Holy Spirit, or whether it was done in the flesh. You see it is God's Spirit that works through us, its not us! Just because He uses us, does not mean that we are better than anyone else!!
It can happen to all of us! As we grow in Christ we begin to forget that we are "accepted" when it comes to salvation, not "rewarded". So as time goes on we begin to think "something of ourselves" as God uses us, changes us, we look down on others, and we think we "have it all together". This is not how we, as believers should see ourselves.
Paul said it well:
                                 "Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself." 
                                    (Philippians 2:3 NKJV)
If we were all honest we would have to say that it does happen to all of us at one time, or another. The question is, do we accept the Holy Spirit's correction when He reminds us that we are falling into this? Or do we ignore Him?
Its a blessing and an honor that the Lord uses us in ministry, whatever ministry it is. Jesus Himself was a humble servant (, Mt. 20:25-28, Jn. 13:12-17). Being as such, He gave us an example on how we should view our work:
"So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, "We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do."'
                                             (Luke 17:10 NKJV)
Remember its God's grace that saves us, not our works!!! Not only that, our works do not make us any better than anyone else. If we think that we have done anything, then we have forgotten that not only is it Christ who has paid for our sin, but it is God's Holy Spirit that now works in us, not us!!!
So take heed! Pride does go before a fall (prov. 16:18) so we must all be careful!!!

So check your ego, before it checks you!!
And here's a parting thought:

"Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall."
                                      (1 Corinthians 10:12 NKJV)

Rev. John Heintzman
Evangelist Non-Denominational
Any questions, comments, prayer requests?

POHOM Columbus, Ohio
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