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Crucifying the Ego: The Path to Humility and Harmony

We have located the enemy, the villain, the imposter, the liar, the one who must be defeated. Me. It’s me. Sorry to say, but it’s you, too. 





It’s also us. Sin in us. Yet, addressing sin must move from the corporate to the individual. My sin is really making a mess of things. My sin, namely, my pride, must be crucified with Christ. I desperately need to be daily raised and seated with Christ. I must daily die and be raised by repentance. 


Leaders must call out the idol of ego in themselves—a lot. We must model the battle with our ego for our team. For example, it may sound like this in a ministry team meeting…


“I really want to make this decision (about an area of ministry that is struggling) on my own. I have a tendency to believe my ways are best. Be patient with my fight with pride. So, team, what do you think is the best solution to this specific ministry problem?” 


Paul and the early church doubled down to fight the sin of pride. The metanoia path of repentance required members in the body of Christ to set their minds on “things above, where Christ is” (Colossians 3:1). Things “below” are from the flesh. In Christ Jesus, we have died to the flesh. 


Yet, our flesh doesn’t want to die. Our flesh wants to be worn, proudly adorning the self. Our flesh wants us to “put on” anger, be easily offended, be filled with gossip, put the worst construction on others and the best construction on self. 


The flesh is an ugly garment. It is painful for our flesh to daily die. But it is so necessary. 

Why? So I can put on my new identity as a baptized, chosen one of God. I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. Because Christ lives in me I can show compassion, kindness, meekness, patience…and humility (Colossians 3:12).


Humility allows me to “bear with other people” (Colossians 3:13). Yes, those people. The people who think and act differently. People who have different gifts, personalities, and perspectives. Yes, you must bear with them—and pray they can bear with you. Humility gives me the power to forgive as I’ve been forgiven. Humility is the way of our suffering and risen Savior!


Very practically, humility invites us into mutually beneficial relationships of reciprocity that produce a harvest of beauty and goodness in the world. This is how the early church spread like wildfire with the flames of the Holy Spirit. No one had time for petty, prideful power plays. The Holy Spirit was on the loose. God’s people, with various gifts in various vocations and locations, were collectively deployed to tell the greatest story of humility the world had ever known. Yahweh had become flesh as the God who humbly bleeds. 


Humbly bleeds for the consistent sin of pride. Pride kills. Humility builds. 


Imagine if pastors, professors, presidents, laymen, and laywomen in the LCMS consistently put on humility and put to death pride? There would be an explosion of love, in Christ’s name, that the world could not ignore. “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:14).


I’ve located the enemy. It’s me. Good thing I’ve died and been raised in Christ. I pray the same is true for you. 



 



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Amen! My own ego is my worst (and could be yours if I have undue influence on you) enemy; and in the same breath I must confess that Jesus is Lord and may His will always be done through me, but if not, in spite of me.

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