Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of
mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
There is a lot of talk these days about having ‘esteem’, usually a
lot of it is about ‘self’ esteem. We seem to be a cult society,
compared to all the societal structures of the past, in this particular
regard. We will do anything to make sure that people ‘respect’ us;
make sure they lift us up. We don’t try to ‘earn’ that right any
more; we just EXPECT it to be granted to us by virtue of the fact that we
are ‘a human being’. We look into the mirror and then we turn it upon
others and say, ‘see how good I am’. When they don’t agree we get
Looking into the Scriptures I see a different sort of pattern. I see
that there is ONE who is worthy of the highest esteem – we call that
worship. I see that there is one mandate or law that permeates the text;
love your neighbor as yourself. Now that does not mean love yourself with
vainglory; rather, it means love your neighbor as you would love yourself.
Would you murder yourself? Then don’t do it to your neighbor. Would you
destroy yourself? Then seek not the destruction of your neighbor. Would
you set a snare for your own feet? Then do not cause your brother to
stumble. This is the Law of Love. There is one point of esteem for all
men; the body of Christ.
Yes, from the pages of the text, I do find the word ESTEEM; however, as
in the passage above, it IS something granted to another, but not because
that other ‘deserved’ that esteem; rather as an act of humility on the
part of the one GIVING the esteem. The burden of responsibility IS placed
squarely on the saints, and they are accountable to God for their
surrender to His will in this matter. Humility. The spirit of Christ. The
spirit of Paul. The spirit of the Godly one. The spirit of grace and
truth. These are the jewels of the scriptures that people admire.
When did Paul boast? Only in teaching fools. When did Christ boast? It
says he never lifted his voice in the streets. Clothed in humility.
Humility is me lowering my ‘need for esteem’ to be surrendered to
another who truly needs my esteem; everyone else. When we fight for our
GLORY then strife and superiority prevail. When we fight for THEIR GLORY
then lowliness of mind, of heart, of soul occur. Compassion pours out of
us when we fight for THEIR BENEFIT, because He Who Knows will share with
us the things that we should admire IN THEM, and the things that should be
corrected in them because HE wants them to be esteemed even more.
The best answer to the esteem question is found in this verse: “
Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and
not thine own lips.” (Proverbs 27:2) And what if they don’t? It’s
okay. God sees. Don’t forget the following chilling passages: Matt
6:2,5,16. And this blessed passage: Matt 5:12. The GOD give you your
esteem. You pass it on.
© Anthony J. Massotti Th.M., Th.M.
heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before
you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both
thou and thy seed may live:
CHOICE! What a terrifying word. A word filled
with responsibility; consequence; cause and effect; success and failure;
benefit and loss; cursing and blessing.
Who, in their youth, would have ever thought that DECISION was the
bases of Life and Death.
When we are young we made choices of all kinds;
to eat, to play, to buck authority, to pick friends, to sleep or not to
sleep, to do, to go, to be. However, most of those choices carried with
them very little major consequence, in the grand scheme of things. And
HARDLY were they ‘life and death’ decisions. Besides, all those
matters were handled by our ‘adults’ for us. It was their ‘rules’
which we were restrained by; it was their ‘wishes’ we were commanded
by; it was their ‘rod’ we were chastened by if we disagreed or went
against THEM. The only real consequence was PARENTAL PUNISHMENT.
There were always ‘consequences’ of our
decisions, however. Pick a wrong friend, and you get in trouble. Pick a
wrong loved one to date, and you got your heart broke. Pick the wrong
answers on tests, and you get treated poorly by teacher and parent. Decide
to not follow instructions and you might get bruised, broken, cut, or
damaged. RARELY were the decisions ever ‘life and death’; and we knew
It was one of the reasons we downplayed our
parents. We thought they were overreacting. We thought they were heavy
handed. We thought they were . . . well, not as wise as us who knew
better. Couldn’t they see that these were NOT life and death matters?
Adults! Always so over reactive, over protective, over sensitive and over
the top! We just couldn’t wait until we were out from ‘under’ THEIR
decisions. We just had to ‘become our own person’. Yep, we just knew
we would do better; didn’t we. And
then it happened! MANY MORE DECISIONS needed to be made! And no longer
were they decisions about our heart or our ego only. They were about LONG
TERM AFFECTS. Then the painfulness of cursings and blessings hit. Then
sowing and reaping hit. Then scary awesomeness of life and death hit. The
vastness of the effects of our choices hit. And it was not pleasant. And
we became troubled. And we become afraid. And we became small all of a
sudden. We ran. We hid.
Ok, not all of us. There were those individuals
who seemed to just ‘become adults’ over night; thick skinned, heart
closed, experience warn,
-- miserable souls, but seemingly death defying specialists. While they
worked and conquered, we wept and withdrew.
Until the day we discovered the greatest
decision of them all; the Master program of decision making; the master
key for all decision locks; the one decision that makes all other
decisions easy. We decided to say: “YES” -- to THE ONE who makes
PERFECT decisions: our new Uber-Adult, our King, our Rescuer, our
Redeemer, our Friend, our Wisdom, our source of LIFE. Our weeping turned
to joy! But what about the
other’s ‘joy’, if they have not made the one decision that REALLY
© Anthony J. Massotti Th.M., Th.M. 5/09/2004
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy
that was set before him endured the cross,
despising the shame, and is set down at the right
hand of the throne of God.
Jesus Christ, murderously impaled onto the cross-beam of a dead tree
that had been a partaker of more men’s deaths than a serial killer,
endured. It’s hard to imagine a man in so much pain enduring such
humiliation and shame at the hands of men who were not one-one-hundredth
the human being that he was. Next to criminals, a class of men he had no
right being even in the same cage with, he suffered the looks of the
people as they wagged their heads, wagged their tongues, and worse yet,
even wagered over his clothes below. Why, that assault upon his soul
should have killed him!
If we had been him (falsely accused, misunderstood, misquoted,
misrepresented in a court of law, and mistakenly taken as a threat to a
nation) we would have shown those rascals who had dared to oppose us a
thing or two. Yes, we would have come down from that cross; even if just
to get out of the pain. But he didn’t. Instead, he forgives a criminal
on the left, assigns his mother’s care to the disciple below watching,
prays to the Father who had brought him to this painful place, and the
forgives the world (and the people in specific) for placing him in this
most painful predicament.
And the Jerusalem reporter down below asks the question of his viewers,
‘Just how did he do it? Was it because he was God? Was it because he was
perfect? Was it because he was drugged up?’
Jesus was a man who lived for TOMORROW no matter what the situation was
for today. He had always been that way. He knew when his hour would be,
and didn’t fear it. He knew what his Father wanted him to do and he
would embrace it. He prophesied of his death long before it occurred and
came to peace with it. But most of all, and most important of all, HE SAW
FORWARD TO THE DAY WHEN DEATH WOULD LOSE IT’S STING! That’s right. He
who had RAISED many a dead man KNEW about his own resurrection. He who had
visited with Moses and Elijah on the mountain KNEW he would see them
shortly. The Kingdom that he had been preaching about and the mansions
that he had been promising his believers, he eagerly looked forward to go
prepare. And the Father, his beloved Father, welcoming him in with open
arms saying, “My good and faithful son, come thou in to the Joy of your
Lord”, this kept his HEART safe while his TENT was destroyed by evil
It was not the JOY NOW that kept him through the hard times, the busy
times, the tumultuous times and all the contradiction of sinners – not
to mention demons – which were arrayed against him. It was the JOY
FUTURE that was his solid foundation. HE BELIEVED EVERYTHING THAT HE
PREACHED, AND HE LOOKED FORWARD TO ITS FULLFILLMENT.
One day, your joy will be full too; if you follow your Shepherd, if you
endure to the end, if you press for the mark, if you partake of the
sufferings of Christ, if you overcome, if you let no man take YOUR crown
of faith. He understands and will ‘succor’ you in it all; if you will
call on HIS name.
© 5/16/04 Anthony J. Massotti Th.M., Th.M.
Original Quote by Pastor Anthony
Always Look Into The Light -- Even If You Must Wear Shades To Do It
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