God can never entrust His Kingdom to anyone who has not been broken of pride, for pride is the armor of darkness itself. –Francis Frangipane, pastor and author
A voice is calling,
“Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness;
Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.
“Let every valley be lifted up,
And every mountain and hill be made low;
And let the rough ground become a plain,
And the rugged terrain a broad valley;
Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
And all flesh will see it together;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 40:3-5 (NASB)
We humans make for fascinating study! We are so diverse in some ways; so similar in others. There are general stereotypes, however, that do apply to almost all of us—at least to a degree. One such grouping would be the haves versus the have nots; the somebodies versus the nobodies.
The somebodies might be compared to those in the homecoming court being honored at a high school football game. Almost without fail, the king and queen are attractive, athletic, and immensely popular. Rarely does such popularity suddenly appear, so they generally have been accustomed to being at the top of the popularity ladder. Not always, but often enough, these individuals develop an air of self-confidence—frequently to the point of arrogance.
The Have Nots
At the bottom of the popularity ladder, we find the nobodies—of which there are two types. The wallflower nobodies are the ones who no one really ever notices; like extras filling in the background crowd of a movie, their presence is necessary but obscure. The wallflower nobodies often look with envy upon the somebodies who always seem to land the key roles, quietly wishing that they too could have such a sense of significance.
Even less fortunate than the wallflower nobodies are the nobody nobodies—those who serve as the objects of scorn and ridicule for everyone else. I speak of the poor individuals who would welcome the invisibility of their wallflower counterparts, people who often live in a world of dark emotions, overcome by feelings that move beyond envy and into the realm of hatred. Having been publicly humiliated and treated unjustly more times than they can count, their view of life is jaded and bitter.
It’s All about Glory
At first glance, the somebodies and the nobodies appear to be two very different groups of people, but both are driven by self-centered pride. The king and queen will often behave arrogantly because they believe they are favored due to their own inherent greatness. Having become accustomed to the praise of human approval, they don’t have a clue how incomplete they are. On the other hand, the nobodies are self-centered in that they always come up short in their constant pursuit of self-significance. They are incomplete and they know it. One group is defined by a personal sense of glory and the other by a lack thereof. In the end, both seek glory, but in the eyes of God neither approach is acceptable!
Forging a New Identity
If there is anything that keeps God at a distance, it is human pride in whatever form it takes. God seeks to use wilderness experiences to bring low the arrogance of the somebodies, and to lift up the self-effacing woefulness of the nobodies. Through desert experiences, those who brim with confidence will face the foolish futility of self-trust. Those plagued by a poor self-image, on the other hand, will not learn to find significance in themselves as they naturally wish, but to see their treasured value in the eyes of our loving Father. Another purpose of the wilderness, then, is to expose any false foundations of identity with the intention of forging an entirely new sense of what defines us.
There was a day when I considered myself to be a nobody nobody. I hated it! Now looking back, however, I understand that my personal lack of self-significance helped me to recognize my desperate need for God. Since coming to Christ, my identity has been painstakingly forged by God, not in the arena of public approval, but in the solitude of a long wilderness experience.
Whether you see yourself as a somebody, or a nobody; whether you feel as though you have something to offer, or you don’t; whether you have entered the wilderness because of foolish and prideful decisions, or you have been driven by the cruel oppression of others, God’s desire is to use your current situation to forge within you an eternal sense of identity as His child.
If we truly want to see and know our Creator, we’ll stop pursuing significance and leave the glory to Him!
This post is drawn from Chapter Nine of Bob’s devotional: Champions in the Wilderness—Fifty-Two Devotions to Guide and Strengthen Emerging Overcomers.