THE OLD IDIOT
Psa. 26:2 Examine me, O LORD, and prove me;
Try my mind and my heart.
Everyone wants to be special. One of the problems we run into is that the desire to be a little bit better than the “average bear” is fed by the passions of hell. That desire to be unique carries over into the spiritual arena after we become a Christian. We always seem to know a little more and can do it a little better than everyone else. If we ever see any success in this spiritual arena, watch out, suddenly we are experts and we want to hold seminars to teach others how they can follow our pattern to success. What starts out as a simple Bible study can soon become a springboard to all sorts of vain imaginations. How do I know? Let’s just say I have had my fair share in dealing with my own case of swollen ego. Martin Luther was often quite funny and he had some hilarious things to say about this issue, enjoy his comments.
“‘Ambition is the mother of heresies and sects.’” Some people always want to be special. They’re never content being like everyone else. This is how they wander off the path without even realizing it. People must pray every day that God would keep this secret rebel inside of them in check. As Paul says, “Honor one another above yourselves” (Romans 12:10). Here Paul acknowledges that the ego— that old idiot—always wants to be the center of attention. As soon as people learn something and can speak about the Lord Jesus Christ, they want to become special. The ego wants people to tell themselves, “Yes, you can get the job done. You’re an educated person. You’re a cut above the rest.” Like a kitten adorning itself, people like to make themselves look good. But afterward, faith and God’s Word are no longer important. We can’t do enough to protect ourselves from this shameful wickedness. Other human vices are so crude that we easily perceive them, but this one sneaks up on us. It disguises itself as honoring God and doing what his Word tells us to do. However, selfish ambition lies hiding like a secret rebel behind it all.”
Is there a secret rebel hiding inside of you? Actually, he hides inside of all of us, each one of us think we are a little different, and yes, a little better than everyone else. I have to laugh at myself as I think back at one of the first Bible studies I attended as a Christian. I think I had been saved almost three weeks when I began to correct and instruct the leader of a group that I visited. This is that ego, “that old idiot”, as Luther says, hard at work from the first days of our conversion. How do we overcome this problem? We have to go lower still. We have to drench ourselves in His word and in His presence. Acknowledging His greatness and my neediness daily will help me from allowing “the old idiot” to control my life.