READ: 2 Samuel 15:3-6 (Read this five times.)
Then Absalom would say, “Look, you’ve got a strong case; but the king isn’t going to listen to you.” Then he’d say, “Why doesn’t someone make me a judge for this country? Anybody with a case could bring it to me and I’d settle things fair and square.” Whenever someone would treat him with special honor, he’d shrug it off and treat him like an equal, making him feel important. Absalom did this to everyone who came to do business with the king and stole the hearts of everyone in Israel
THINK: “There are point in our lives (more often than we would like to admit) when we are attempt consciously or subconsciously to promote ourselves in unhealthy and selfish ways. We puff ourselves up, brag about our accomplishments, and embellish the truth.”
“Absalom, the son of King David, promotes himself for selfish gain in front of those who came to the city gate. The text says he “stole the hearts of everyone in Israel.”
“When are you most tempted to steal the hearts of everyone in_______________? Think about your most recent Absalom moment. Consider the roots of your temptation and how you might avoid it in the future.”
I have to admit that there have been plenty of times when I have wanted to steal people’s hearts by coming off as pleasing or by showing off my work. In fact, I used to get my husband’s hand and lead him through the house when he came from work just to show him what all I had done for the day so that he could tell me “Good Job.” I justified it by telling myself that if I didn’t do that, he probably wouldn’t notice. Now…just so you know, I’m not that far off. However, I heard a sermon several years ago that left me feeling rather convicted of those activities. This sermon included the scripture that says that we are supposed to do everything as unto the Lord, and that we should be storing up treasures for ourselves in Heaven AND that it is better for God to promote us than it is for us to try to promote ourselves because Our Father who sees those things done in secret will reward us.
That being said, more often than not, I am guilty of fishing for compliments. I have a tendency to downplay what I’ve done anyway, but when someone turns around and counters that with a compliment on how well I’ve done, it can feed the ego. There have been times, I won’t lie, when I have thrown out those statements as bait, just hoping someone would bite and I’d get my compliment “fix”. However, there have been plenty of times when I’ve thrown out that bait and never gotten a bite. It’s a bad habit that I still struggle with occasionally, but I am getting used to letting God honor me for being obedient to him rather than stealing His chance to do so by seeking out my own form of praise.
PRAY: “Spend time inviting God to remind you that he loves you just the way you are, that you cannot earn his approval. Welcome God to show you your true identity as his child, an identity that is defined not by what you do, but by who you are and to whom you belong.”
Dear Heavenly Father, I know you do not make mistakes. Therefore, there is not a single person on Earth who is not exactly how you intended them to be. Therefore, we all have been designed to fulfill a unique person. Lord, please help me and each person reading this to remember that we are fearfully and wonderfully made and that you knew us before you knitted us together in our mothers’ wombs, and to behave in a manner worthy of our divine calling, rather than sitting around complaining that we are not like “so-n-so.” You love us, and want each of us to know that and to experience the truth of that love deep down in our hearts and spirits. Help us to know what that looks like and to trust it, walking in it daily, without fear of rejection.
LIVE: “Ask a good friend to gently keep you accountable when you begin to promote yourself in front of others. Be ready to accept your friend’s input.”