There is this thing called HUBRIS!
The word kind of reminds me of "debris" and in truth it is something that needs to be removed from our lives.
Hubris is an ancient Greek word (hybris) and is defined as excessive pride or self-confidence and often accompanies arrogance.
We all know people who have great egos, pride, self-centeredness and arrogance. Some can be very outspoken about themselves and they are sometimes referred to as “conceited” or “braggarts.”
For this lesson, we will call it the “ Big I-Complex”, or the “Me-Complex”, where everything revolves around “me.”
We will look at a couple of instances where even the twelve disciples succumbed to the “Me Complex.”
One would think that those who listened to Jesus teach for 3 years would have adopted humility as their way of living and treating people. This is what Jesus taught.
However, we see that Satan has a way of entering the “corners” of our mind.
Some say it is just a human trait, this hubris.
We think it is a Satan trait, or trick and he tries his best to diminish our dependence on God, every chance he gets. Unfortunately, he finds that some minds are easier to occupy than others.
Let us take a look;
Luke 9:44-48 NIV
44 “Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.” 45 But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.
46 An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. 47 Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. 48 Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.”
As Jesus was telling the disciples what was going to happen to Him, they were confused and didn’t quite understand.
So, what did they do?
Did they ask questions to clarify the matter? Did they want to know more about Jesus’ mission? Did Jesus telling them to listen carefully pique their interest?
No. Instead they started thinking about themselves and allowed their self-centeredness and egos to take over.
They got into an argument about which of them would be considered the greatest.
Think about this for a minute. Jesus is telling them that he will be delivered into the hands of men, but this didn’t concern them at the moment.
They turned their thought and conversation to themselves.
It sounds like an Ali and Frazier news conference. “I’m the greatest; No, I’m the greatest.” Also sounds like typical politicians, but certainly not the disciples of Jesus.
Jesus followed up their self-centeredness by giving them an answer regarding greatness. He said “it is the one who is least among you all, who is the greatest.”
At this point, I’m quite certain that they didn’t understand this answer either, but later in their lives they would surely know.
IT COULDN'T HAPPEN AGAIN...COULD IT?
We have another example of this hubris, raising its ugly head among the disciples and it is also found in Luke’s Gospel.
Luke 22:14-24 NIV
14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”
17 After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”
20 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.[a] 21 But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table. 22 The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed. But woe to that man who betrays him!” 23 They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.
24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.
Jesus was speaking to the disciples during this last Passover meal, again explaining what must soon come to pass. He tells them that He must soon suffer. One would think this would cause questions and concern.
It was a solemn moment in time, as He was teaching them, telling them of His suffering to come and giving them an ordinance to continually observe. They were to do it in remembrance of Him.
Later they would realize that they were to observe what we call “Communion”, solemnly and with self-introspection, remembering what Jesus had done for all, on the cross of Calvary.
However, during this solemn moment, we find where their attention was again directed to themselves.
First, they began to wonder who among them would betray Jesus. The scripture says they began to question among themselves which of them it might be. Who would do this?
Now, I suppose this question isn’t truly about the "ME-Complex" and is a legitimate thought for discussion during this time.
However, this discussion led them down another self-centered path. Verse 24 says that a dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be the greatest. Sound familiar?
They went from wondering who among them would do such a thing as betraying Jesus, to which one of them was considered the greatest. I also suppose they were wondering who was considered next greatest and next greatest and so on.
What a brazen example of ego, pride and self-centeredness.
Jesus was telling them that He would soon suffer. He was telling them He would be betrayed and killed.
YET, other things were more important to the disciples.
Who among us would do such a thing they asked? Which led to their wanting to know about their standing of greatness.
GOD PLACED THESE TWO STORIES IN HIS WORD FOR A REASON
We see the evidence of this in these two instances where the disciples should have been thinking about Jesus, but allowed themselves to be more concerned about their own perceived greatness.
It is imperative that we be aware of and on-guard against one of the easiest traps of Satan to fall into, which can also lead to other sins. IF these twelve disciples could allow ego, pride, self-centeredness, arrogance and hubris to control them in the PRESENCE of Jesus, we surely have to be on-guard.
This is why God had these two stories placed in His scriptures. They are a warning to believers to be aware and on-guard against self-importance.
BE AWARE AND ON-GUARD
Have you ever noticed people in your life who always seem to direct the conversation back to themselves? Everything is centered on them? Or, everything that is being talked about has been done "better" by them?
We all know those folks.
Another question to seriously consider is “do I sometimes suffer from the “Me-Complex?” Am I that person who directs everything back to me? Am I too proud? Is my ego oversized? Do I view everything through the lens of how it makes me appear?
We must be honest with ourselves as we take spiritual inventory. It can be hard to admit that we could possibly fall prey to this "ME-Complex", but the first step in getting rid of it, is the realization that it is there.
Remember, Satan is sly and tricky in his deviousness.
The traits of excessive pride, ego, self-centeredness and arrogance are all tools of Satan. When we think more highly of ourselves than we should, we are less dependent upon God. This is exactly where Satan wants us. When we are too self-centered and self-absorbed, we are not centered on God.
Remember Eve in the Garden of Eden? Satan had her thinking about herself and she became self-centered in the moment. The underlying cause of her sin can be traced to this "ME-Complex."
As mentioned in other lessons, I believe we can control our mind and with the help of the Holy Spirit we can keep Satan from occupying any corner of it.
With God’s help, we can avoid the “Me-Complex” and live lives of humility as we give light to the darkened world around us.
Does it take work? Absolutely!
When we keep fully surrendered to God, concerned with others and treating them with Christ-like humility, we don’t allow ourselves to be centered on “self.”
God, through His Holy Spirit will help us.
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TEACH US ABOUT AVOIDING THIS HUBRIS?
Let us look at a few scriptures that teach us about avoiding this thing we call the “Me-Complex.”
Philippians 2:3-4 NIV
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
James 3:14-15 NIV
14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.
James 3:16 NIV
16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
James 4:1-3 NIV
Submit Yourselves to God
4 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
In closing, we must guard against the “ME complex.” Even the disciples had to fight against it. We must be on-guard, because Satan uses pride, ego, self-centeredness and arrogance to draw us further and further away from God, in sin.
Remember this...if we surrender all to God, in full submission, we can’t surrender our mind to "self and Satan."
1 Corinthians 13:4 NIV
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.