Having a big ego in in church is like having the biggest balloon at the dart throwing booth at the fair, be prepared to get popped.

Consider all the ego popping moments Christ endured,

Rejection by his closest friends.

Criticism from enemies and strangers.

Insults from a dying man.

Mockery from the religious while he’s dying.

Accusations from the proud, the scared and the ill-informed.

Betrayal from loyal followers.

Mistrust from those Jesus called to follow him.

These are all human experiences but they take on a different light when they happen to a person of faith. Why? Because your response to these experiences is supposed to be different from that of a person who does not have faith.

There’s a reason that Jesus and the the Apostles talked so much about dying to self.

Jesus said,

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Matthew 16:24,25

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.

I Peter 4:1

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

Galatians 5:24

I had unfair expectations of most of the faith communities in which I served. I was an idealists, and my ego suffered greatly because of those ideals. I’d like to think my responses to many experiences I described early were Christ-like, but I know they were not.

You will experience everyone of these in your faith community, if you stay in it long enough. Your ego will suffer when those you thought you could trust just walk off or ignore you, including those who lead you and those whom you lead.

Does this shock you? It shouldn’t. Christ suffered at the hands of his faith community. Jesus was not betrayed by agnostics or atheists, but by those who believed in God and were attempting to do God’s will as they understood it.

Your ego might suffer less if you knew that you would have to experience these things at the hands of pagans, but from those who believe? Can your ego handle that? Spoiler alert, it cannot. Dying to self for the ill actions of a sinner is far more palatable to our hearts than having to die to self for the actions of one who believes. The sinner doesn’t know better, right?

Christ suffered. Christ died. Christ rose again. And so must you, if you are to stay in ministry for any length of time.

I wish you well on your journey, but my advice is to die to self early and often.

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