It’s okay to be last

Supposedly, former professional boxer Muhammad Ali, in his prime, got on an airplane and was asked kindly by the flight attendant to buckle his seat belt. “Superman don’t need no seat belt,” Ali boasted, to which she replied, “Superman don’t need no airplane either.” Ali thought he was pretty great. Are you and I any different?

“I am the greatest,” I claim when I consistently dismiss the doctor’s warnings or disobey mom or dad’s clear instructions.

“I am the greatest,” I claim when I win a competition followed by a letdown performance as a result of thinking I’m invincible.

“I am the greatest,” I claim with thoughts of superiority over other ethnic groups, social classes, or religious denominations.

"I am the greatest,” I claim when I deny God’s right to be God over me and instead of me every day. “Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil” (James 3:15). Sinful pride is deceptively, dangerously connected to the devil. Kill it before it kills you!

Jesus already killed sinful pride, and it will stay dead unless summoned to life by your selfish desires. To prevent this, Jesus taught, “Anyone who wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all” (Mark 9:35). Of course, Jesus didn’t just teach this. He lived it, died it, and then rose as the firstborn from the dead to fulfill it. He also fulfills it in you.

Pastor Daron Lindemann is pastor at a new mission start in Pflugerville, Texas. Previously he served in downtown Milwaukee and in Irmo, South Carolina. Daron has authored articles or series for Forward in Christmagazine, Preach the Word, and his own weekly Grace MEMO devotions. He lives in Texas with his wife, Cara, and has two adult sons.

 

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