Celebrities live their lives in the spotlight. This means that we often get to hear what they do, say and think whether we want to or not. One celebrity who is very well regarded in the UK let slip what he thought about not receiving an honour from Her Majesty’s Government in the New Year’s Honours List recently. Two things were supposed to have happened:
- He allegedly complained about being overlooked for an honour after all the charity work he had done.
- He allegedly compared himself to another celebrity who did receive an honour, but who hadn’t achieved as much in the public eye as he had.
The editorial comment was along the lines of: he sounds like a little boy jumping up and down and waving his arms to get attention and shouting “what about me?” When I read this sorry tale my first thought was: pathetic.
But after reflecting on the subject, my second thoughts were sobering: I’ve felt the same.
No, I’m not expecting to receive any honour from the Queen, but let’s just see what’s going on here…
- Doing things to be seen. To be rewarded, thanked or be talked about in a special way.
- Comparing what I do to the amount other people do, and coming to some sort of mental assessment about the value.
- Being hurt offended when other people get honoured, mentioned, praised, thanked, acknowledged when they have done something – but I don’t.
This looks like ugly stuff when I write it down, and the flesh is ugly. But when thoughts like these flit through my mind they can sometimes seem to me very reasonable. Why?
Because I was aiming to please the wrong person, is why.
Alarm bells should be ringing if I am a disciple, because what this is showing me is that the desire for honour is rearing its head. To get these thoughts is not surprising, is not my fault and is not sin; but to mull them over, keep them at the back of my mind and quietly agree with them is. So, what should I do?
I should be ready.
How? By knowing my enemy, dragging these thoughts into the light and strengthening my inner man.
“… that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man…” Ephesians 3:16.
I can’t just keep trying not to think these thoughts or feel this way, but I have to ask and receive help from God’s Spirit. I need to know it’s a battle and not just settle for a bit of regret about these thoughts. I must draw a line in the sand: I want to please God alone, and to want honour for myself is robbery.
So, the thought pops up. I recognise it. I have a Word of God ready because I am conscious of this fight and I am prepared. I have to find out how Jesus fought. And here it is:
“… but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:7-8.
I am a disciple, so I follow where Jesus went. I make myself of no reputation.
And as I get experience fighting, I am used to having the enemy in my sights; the battle becomes easier. I won’t always have to lock myself in my room and cry out to God about it. I just see the thought, get it in my sights and poof – reject it automatically.
And this is all because I want to please God alone. I don’t need the attention and praise of people because I can get on with doing what God wants me to do, and this is enough for me.
“His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’” Matthew 25:21.