Thursday, April 12, 2012

“Not Unto Us”

    The human heart does not cope well with the challenges and temptations of fame.  We rather exist to direct attention and honor to Another.

     “Let him that glorieth, glory in the Lord” (II Corinthians 10:17).

     Rare is the soul that escapes unscathed when drawn into the clutches of notoriety.  We see this sad moral pathology in every venue of life, be it politics, entertainment, sports, business, and perhaps most of all, religion. 

     The latter category, of course, most relates to born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.  In our market driven generation, the church has its “stars” no less than the other fields mentioned.  One can only imagine the difficulties faced by such luminaries as they seek to live sincere, godly lives.  Fame brings sensibilities to the heart and mind that largely flow in a different direction than the current of Christ’s glory.  Once a person has a “name,” he must work to keep it before the eyes of its particular audience.  Indeed, fame is fleeting, and is a difficult thing to relinquish once possessed.  While we might hope that well-known Christians would avoid such self-serving deception (and doubtless, some do), we must remember that the famous always have people around them telling them how wonderful they are, and how much the masses need them.  Thus, the temptation to maintain notoriety beckons constantly, as too many headlines of the last few generations of famous believers attest.

     Another temptation faced by notable believers involves the immediately credibility given by many followers.  Certainly, in our reasoned moments, Christians recognize that the ability to speak well, write well and sing well does not automatically indicate that the communicator lives well.  Fawning followers, however, may convince even the most carnal preacher, author or singer that he or she possesses a knowledge, insight or experience of God above the believer who quietly lives a life of faith and devotion. 

     A.W. Tozer, a strong advocate of prayer, once wrote that “about the worst thing that can happen to a Christian is to gain a reputation as a prayer warrior.”  Tozer sought to spotlight the temptation to pride and self-importance that comes with any form of notoriety.  His cogent assertion applies directly to our current consideration.  We always do best by living in the unobtrusive “under the radar” manner that avoids the temptations of reputation that few of us can overcome.

    Most importantly, no human being should be exalted whose sins were responsible for the Lord Jesus being tortured to death, and forsaken by God and man.  This includes us all, and we should ever blush with embarrassment when we succumb to the temptation to promote ourselves, or our name.  Should unsought notoriety come to us, we must remember that we will be tempted to vulgar sensibilities unworthy of anyone who looks at his unscarred hands in remembrance of other Hands not so fortunate.  We must also pray for those believers whose names are well-known.  May our Lord graciously keep them in the midst of a challenge that only His power and presence can overcome.

Let Me Be Forgotten

As the dew that brought sweet manna, and quietly stole away,
We long to be forgotten, Lord, to seek no accolade.
For each day the light grows brighter
as it shines from Your dear face,
only One is due all honor, only One inhabits praise.

So let us be forgotten, Lord, oh let us be forgotten.

Yes, I see it, Lord, no, I see them, those prints upon Your  hands.
And I know that ‘til forever, the cry of Heavenly lands
Will sing bless the name of Jesus, praise to the Father be,
As by the Spirit’s humble heart
We bow our heads and fall unto our knees.

So let us be forgotten, Lord, oh let us be forgotten.
Oh, take our lives and let them be
A hidden cross, revealing Thee.

“Not unto us, o Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, for Thy mercy and Thy truth’s sake.”
(Psalm 115:1)

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