One of the main elements of following Christ is subduing selfishness. We need to think less of ourselves and more of Christ, as well as others. Christ showed us the ultimate example of humility through His crucifixion.
Today I read about John the Baptist’s (or John the Baptizer if you are a Mark Driscoll disciple) rejection of his disciples’ jealousy of Jesus. John had been baptizing loads of people. Then Jesus shows up nearby and starts baptizing even more people. John’s followers said (John 3: 25-30):
26 Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness–look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.
They were jealous of Jesus. Even though John devoted his entire life to the service and glorification of Christ, his followers got worried when Jesus shows up and steals the show (what is to come of US if HE is doing all the work). Thats because they had made their good works and service all about themselves. They were doing self-glorifying work. It’s really easy to get off track when you are following Christ.
It’s easy to make things about yourself. It’s easy to work hard with the best intentions only to find yourself thinking about all the time YOU put in and everything YOU deserve. John calls his disciples out.
27 John answered, A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before him. 29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
If you are jealous of other peoples’ fruitful ministry, your heart is in the wrong place. If you are constantly thinking about how much work you have done and how little notice/payoff you are reciving, your heart is in the wrong place. If you are more concerned with accomplishing your goals than letting God’s will be done, your heart is in the wrong place.
I continually fall into all three of these categories.