ESTEEM and HONOR are two words that are seldom heard and when used are not always in proper context. The Bible notes in Phillipians 2:3 “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves (KJV).” Check out the same passage in New American Standard Version “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.” Note conceit is empty however when we exalt Christ and honor others we are FULL of GOD and actually glow and grow in the process. We are never smaller when we belittle others. Buckle Up – read what English Standard Version notes: “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” I love how they used the word “rivalry” in this passage. Some competition is good but too much is dangerous and even deadly. The problem with trying to “one up” another is that you hit bottom trying to do it. That is worthy of a tweet! John The Baptist to his credit knew that his followers were watching when Christ came to town. He had a nano-second to determine what he was going to do. He could falsely exalt himself or correctly honor Heaven on Earth. He picked the correct option and said: “I MUST DECREASE – He must increase.” The beauty is that God in His grace, enabled John to baptize Jesus. When we honor the Lord – He honors us. When we promote God – He promotes us in the process. Back your wagon up and get a load of this from New International Version “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” Love how it highlights impress. The problem with trying to impress others is that you get depressed in the process. We would do better to inspire others by our actions than try to impress people with our lips. Over the years, I have learned that God has used me the most when I realized it the least. Personally, its better to inspire one than impress a million.
NOTE the above video. My dear friend and fellow evangelist Randy Hogue of Cullman, AL called me up the night David Letterman had both Magic Johnson & Larry Bird, respectively on his show. In case you missed the memo, what was amazing about this interview is that Magic was born to play in HOLLYWOOD! Magic was glitz and Bird was grit. Johnson was flash and Larry was fundamental but both had FIRE to win! Earvin was from Los Angeles but Larry was from French Lick, Indiana and rarely did extra-curricular television shows. Therefore, to get two of the greatest of all-time together on the couch is unique. Secondly, what I loved about these hardwood gladiators is both their competitive drive professionally but their balance of class and control personally. We can learn so much from these gentile giants and what I loved most was they both admired, respected, honored and ESTEEMED each other better.
This interview could be a lesson for every person on the globe. It would be appropriate for corporate America to Wall Street. From Hollywood to professional sports. In business to politics and applicable in ministry to recess school yards around the world. What a breath of fresh air to be so content, so satisfied, so relaxed to ESTEEM others better than self. We have all failed miserably at times and it is imperative to repent to God as soon as possible when we we dropped the proverbial ball.
WRITE THIS DOWN: It has been said: “99% of all criticism is rooted in jealousy.” First of all, you are not the one percent and second the word jeaLOUSY is plain “lousy.” We lose and sound lousy when we blow our own horn. However, compliments are like an escalator. When you step up to elevate another you actually climb higher simultaneously. We don’t have to compete any longer with the colleague on the other side of the cubicle or the minister down the street but we are commanded to consider, compliment and communicate with class not clout. It has also been said: “If you have to tell someone who you are than you are really not that big.” Indeed, its better to go under the radar than over the rainbow when it comes to resumes. Man is distracted with titles but God is attracted to testimonies.
The 2:11 mark on this video is classic and when you have played with the best and are loved by The Best (God) we can afford to let others shine and give God all the glory. In the movie “The Bodyguard” Kevin Costner who played retired Secret Service agent, Frank Farmer was told in a job interview for a position to protect the late Whitney Houston “I hear you are the best.” Without missing a beat – Farmer (Costner) said: “There’s no such thing.” Too often we are quick to worship the creature and created more than the Creator. God gave me a nugget years ago: “When we are COMPLETE in Christ and CONTENT with self we can COMPLIMENT others without feeling inferior. Folks whom have to be the best, demand to be on top or couldn’t compliment another to save their life are less than best. It has been said: “EGO is “Edging God Out.” When we put self on the throne we are crucifying Christ all over but when we die to our flesh and live by faith we realize God is in His proper place (on the throne). If He isn’t Lord of all than He is not Lord at all. We all win when honor God and bless others. Winners are wonderful its the wanabees you have to watch out for. Indeed, the greats are gracious (even in diverting praise and scorn). Those whom cannot esteem others highly usually have a low self esteem. When we are complete in Chirst we can compliment continually.
POP QUIZ: Confidence is when we depend on God. Arrogance is when we trust in self. HOW ARE YOU DOING? Approximately, 20 years ago, I heard a story of two clergy whom were both known nationally and ironically boarded the same plane flying to minister in two different churches. What are the odds – not only on same plane but both were scheduled to sit one behind the other. When the plane reached the cruising altitude of 33,000 feet the man (minister) up front by a seat, unbuckled his seatbelt and piously noted to the clergy behind: “My ministry is still out front of yours” and turned around, re-fastened his seat-belt and didn’t say another word. Unfortunately, in that moment the first minister didn’t honor Christ. A “big” minister and ministry was never smaller in that moment. It is easy to operate in the flesh but its mandatory to die daily to pride. Careers chase statistics but a calling chase souls. The Bible notes: “Many who are first will be last.” You want to get ahead? Compliment others, hold a door, bless those in your midst and graduate from competition to colleagues in Christ. God alone is “The Best” and let’s allow Him to keep the records, stats and final tally to the Lord. We resemble Christ when we are “outgoing” but not outdoing.
In this area, I have failed in the past and being human you have as well but today, tonight and a near tomorrow we will all have another test. You can fail by lifting up self or pass when acknowledging, admiring and applauding others. Winners win – whiners lose. Resolve to be a cheerleader and not a critic. It doesn’t take “magic” but discipline and I am grateful that Earvin and Larry gave us a “Bird’s Eye view” of what WINNING really is.