I’m about to finish Paul David Tripp’s book Dangerous Calling and his chapter on self-glory alone is worth buying the book. Regarding self-glory he says, “Perhaps in ministry there is no more potent intoxicant than the praise of men, and there is no more dangerous form of drunkenness than to be drunk with your own glory” (167). Following the example of Jesus in John 13:1-17 where we read he washed the disciples feet should cause us to not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, which Tripp continually refers to as self-glory. Later in the chapter he gives the following list to read and reflect upon regarding self-glory:
- Self-glory will cause you parade in public what should be kept in private. Look no further than the example of the Pharisees who loved to showcase their knowledge and authority.
- Self-glory will cause you to be way too self-referencing. People who glory in themselves tend to talk a lot about themselves.
- Self-glory will cause you to talk when you should be quiet. Honestly, does anyone need an additional sentence of explanation on this one?
- Self-glory will cause you to be quiet when you should speak. Tripp’s point here is that glorying in yourself will cause you to become too independent and not consult or listen to others when you really should consult and engage.
- Self-glory will cause you to care too much about what people think of you. Simply put – this person has elevated the people around them to a point that he is constantly wondering and worrying about what people think of him. The Bible calls this the fear of man.
- Self-glory will cause you to care too little about what people think about you. This person has “arrived” and does not need anyone’s feedback, criticism, help, direction, wisdom, etc.
- Self-glory will cause you to resist facing and admitting your sins, weaknesses, and failures. No self-glorying person wants to expose any weaknesses, struggles or sins in their life.
- Self-glory will cause you to struggle with the blessing of others. Because a self-glorying person thinks they deserve “fill in the blank” they will struggle when other people get what they deserve.
- Self-glory will cause you to be more position oriented than submission oriented. “Self-glory will always make you more oriented to place, power, and position than to how submission to a greater King is worked out in the context of your ministry” (179).
- Self-glory will cause you to control ministry rather than delegate ministry. Self-glorying people think and believe they are the most capable person in the room and therefore do not need to delegate out ministry nor do they desire to do so.
As I read each statement I nodded my head in affirmation for two reasons: (1) Because I see the painful truth in each statement and (2) I have been guilty time-and-time again of self-glory.
Tripp’s book is painfully insightful at times – as evidenced in the truthfulness of his statements about pastoral ministry. I would strongly urge you to purchase and read it soon. I’m certain it will encourage and challenge you on many fronts.