Of Love & Order part 2: Love Yourself First

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Courtesy of wisbar.org

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matt 12:31

You have to love yourself or you’ll never be able to accept compliments from anyone.
Dean Wareham

If you can learn to love yourself and all the flaws, you can love other people so much better. And that makes you so happy. Kirstin Chenoweth

Who Are You?
Everything that happens to us, we make happen for ourselves and/or others and our actions and inactions shape and mould us into who we are. We live in an imperfect world which means we are in a constant refining operation. This is a slightly easier undertaking for those who make an effort to renew their minds as often as possible. Daily taking up your cross as growth towards conforming to the image of Christ occurs is not a walk in the park. If we are going to be real with ourselves and be serious about not cheating ourselves by portraying aspects of ourselves we wish we were-both to others and to ourselves-it will start with a few things.

Conquer the dark side
Every now again I would ponder the existence of a dark side within each of us. People often refer to this as fighting our own demons. For the constantly prayerful Christian this does not apply to them because of the Psalm 91 protection. The struggle to gain and maintain high self-esteem is a battle that can feel like it lasts for an eternity. I am of the impression that building and prolonging high self-esteem comes primarily from being honest with yourself. There can be truly no excuse for certain behaviour and patterns to persist firstly  in the individual’s life at all, but more so for those caught in the vicious trap of ignorance. Erupting in complete anger (much worse in longer durations) towards someone important to you, especially your relationship, has devastating effects. You can attempt to defend yourself, “The circumstances made it appropriate for me to be angry. They messed up,” supposing it is so, is it not true that  preserving a relationship is more important than being right? Overcoming our dark sides (the things we hate about ourselves) will be a tough but necessary process. Why am I leaning towards this direction? Here is the bottom line:

NB: If you are going to give yourself to someone, give them someone you love

There is nothing more selfish in the whole world than you not loving yourself. Take time to think about that. It is completely unfair to everyone you come into contact with and everyone already in your life. You do not have to be fully whole and complete when you either meet your life partner or continue the relationship with them, but you must do your level best not to be completely broken as well. Be honest. Joyce Meyer mentions the value of having a meeting with yourself. Work diligently to improve on those things you dislike or hate about yourself. Are you short-tempered? Being patient, listening, understanding and empathetic, slowly but surely, is a place you will eventually reach.

Love Yourself
Giving a part of yourself to anyone requires a certain measure of love for them. You will not give your time to someone you do not like or respect. Give yourself first what you will give someone else. You say you love them? Good, love yourself immensely. You say you respect them?  Have lots of respect for yourself. Their importance to you stems from you having deep self-worth. The measure of love you give to someone will be the same measure you have for yourself. Why is this the case? Simple. You can’t give what you don’t have. In the process of loving yourself, particularly if you are finding yourself, ask these questions:

What do you see yourself as?
Does that change every now and again?
Are you a different person in public than you are at home?
Do you have very good standards in general?
Are you honest about who you say you are?

Qualify Your Expectations
A great woman of God, Ashley Brown has been doing a series on her YouTube channel Ashley Empowers called “Dating With Purpose,” where she interviews different couples who have gone through the process the right way. I highly recommend you see as much as possible. This couple Rachel & Roger have a lovely story and share wonderful lessons they have learned in their journey. The one I will be focusing on here is the significance of being who you are looking for. It is crucial to be real about your relationship and expectations for it. If you desire someone who is fit then you will need a good reason for that. It does not make sense to expect something in and of someone that is not already in you.

A message from the King of love
Taking note of the creator of love is paramount. Joyce Meyer says, “Love yourself, but don’t fall in love with yourself.” Hit those affirmations and declarations over yourself. Personalize Scripture. Romans 8:31 which says  What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? You can read it as  What then shall we say to these things? If God is for me, who can be against me? It is vital to remember that. Chapter 10:17 talks about faith coming by hearing the word of God so be sure to hear the word you speak over yourself. A good way to bear in mind the avoiding of falling in love with yourself (where pride and conceit thrive), is to be guided by these:

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Phil 2:3-4

 

 

Of Love & Order part 1: What Happened To Love?

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Courtesy of completewellbeing.com

“When it’s gone, you’ll know what a gift love was. You’ll suffer like this. So go back and fight to keep it.” Ian McEwan Enduring Love

“I used to think that I could never lose anyone if I photographed them enough. In fact, my pictures show me how much I’ve lost.” Nan Goldin

Starting from the beginning
Things in my life are moving in a way that only God can orchestrate. From not knowing my purpose and passion, to having TV/Film skills. From only possessing video production skills to having design traits too.. From enjoying an ordinary relationship with God to an extraordinary one. From being single to being in a relationship!
Of course when I put it like this it sounds like everything is going smoothly, all according to plan. That is far from the case. I have had to learn patience, deep trust in God, and persistence especially through and in prayer in the process. The fact that I am even writing this right now is a testament to His goodness! With gloves off, hands rubbed, we are ready to get into highly likely the most exciting journey yet.

What it is about
What is love? No I am not talking about Haddaway’s song! I am sincerely bringing to mind the reality of the most impactful force ever to hit humankind. There seems to be a widespread knowledge or more accurately information, on the subject with it affecting each of us in a completely different way. If you ask one person what they believe love to be, you will get a completely different answer to what the next person will say. The question that eats me every time is if two people (man and woman) were always meant to be, how is it that there are cases where break up happens after 4 or more years? It truly is baffling to me. As I brushed up on my dating knowledge through so many various means including books, TV (talk) shows/series, movies, internet articles, music, conversations/discussions, seminars/conferences and CD’s,  I began to see a pattern between the thriving relationships and the ones that appear to be doomed for failure before they even start. No I am not claiming to be some expert or anything, there is still much for me to learn in spite of all I have already learned, I am merely putting forward my observations in the hopes that someone will have a good or better understanding of love. The point is to let the reader combine their knowledge, insight, wisdom and understanding with what they glean from here.
In case you are wondering Why “Of Love And Order?” It is simply based on this profound principle: Worthwhile relationships take work. Before diving into what I believe that entails, we will observe what I am of the opinion is the world’s standard for love.

Types of relationships
The info about to be displayed is an excerpt taken from a book by the world-renowned dating coach Nick Savoy, founder and CEO of Love Systems. In his journey to find love (married now), he came to discover 6 different kinds of relationships:

  • Traditional: One boy, one girl, no one dates anyone else.
  • Traditional Plus: Like traditional, but sometimes you involve other people in your sex life (not your emotional life). Usually this is when both you and her enjoy threesomes with other women.
  • Open: Your primary emotional commitment is to each other, but you are both free to date other people. Open relationships vary in intensity: some are much like Traditional Plus relationships while others are far more casual.
  • Multiple: You have a strong commitment to each other, but nothing theoretically limits what you can do with others.
  • Dating/Undefined: The rules of what you’re doing and where you’re going are unclear, but there is no explicit commitment. Often early in your relationship and usually the case before you sleep together.
  • Friends with Benefits: No significant emotional commitment. Relationship is primarily sexual.

You would be surprised to note that there is in fact a TV series called Friends With Benefits! Jaw-dropping I know. One can be rest assured that most people’s view of love would have been influenced by one or more of the above. What this therefore implies is that the relationship gets shaky right from the get go because it is established on an unstable foundation.

Aiming for the target
What this series hopes to zero in on is “popularizing” the notion of fighting for your relationship, first of all by learning more about why such a pure and precious thing has been tarnished not only by the world but by and with Christians as well, and coming back to what matters most, the only One qualified to define and execute exactly what love is. We have found that much of the reason for relationships going bad is because there is not much preparation made before entering into it and there are few, if any, boundaries put in place as well. This served as the introduction to the series, which could  have the subheading What happened to love? if you will. Links to stories that are moving, depressing and eye-opening, as well as stories from my own life will be covered in subsequent posts. The most important thing to realize is that outside God, there is little to none satisfaction and fulfillment in this life. No need to take my word for it, just ask Solomon (Book of Ecclesiastes)! Even he, in the fulness of the wisdom pouring forth from the wisest man who ever lived had this to say:

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:

Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.

A Better Sense Of Everything

Sometimes You Have To Let Go
I have decided to take on the Daily Post challenges each Wednesday from now on just to spice things up. I do enjoy the deep thought-provoking posts I normally do but I would like to experiment with the more light-hearted ones just to see where things lead. The challenge is for us to decide which one of our 5 senses we would love to enhance in exchange for  completely losing another. After much thought and deliberation (believe me, it took a really long time) I have chosen to discard smell for sight.

I am one who has sadly had their eyes imprisoned in glasses for 17 years. More on that much later when do a small series on my journey to better eyesight without glasses. I have always been drawn to what I like to call Binocular X-Ray Vision. Any and every superhero whose vision was enhanced in addition to the primary power they possess have been a particular fascination to me. As for smell, Well I do admit that the drawback of not being able to smell is getting an idea of what unrecognizable food tastes like. This is something I can live with though. It is extremely important to hear music, voices, people, noises of vehicles and animals, and the beautiful and mellow sound of nature. Touch is vital, we underestimate the beauty of pain. Imagine leaning on a thorny plant by mistake but not being able to tell? Or feeling the glorious touch of the angelic hands of a masseuse/masseur? I love my food and because of that I will always appreciate the job our tongues have. Those who taste food for a living are very privileged. They must never take that for granted, the good, the bad, the works.

Seeing Things Differently
Imagine what the world would be like if everyone had eagle eyes? Anyone and everyone could see anything from anywhere! Ideally that is how the world should be. For me I  enjoy the things I see. The good things this world has to offer. There is the nature, the mountains, especially when the sun sets behind the mountain and its reflection shines on the river. A father overjoyed to pick his daughter up from school. A mother’s undying support at her son’s sporting game. Movies like The Blind Side, Faith Like Potatoes and Facing The Giants. A man opening the door for a woman, or offering to help even when she does not need it. A couple you intuitively/instinctively know were always meant to be, sharing a kiss on a park bench. The things we see essentially have an effect on us, a lot more than we realize. After all what can man give in exchange for his eyes? Sometimes the most significant things in our lives are treated with least respect and are given least regard. The key to overcoming that is understanding that the small things make a big difference and to see what nobody else sees.

  

Changing The World Without Changing With It

Romans 12:2

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light

Deut 7:6

“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth

When you’re the only sane person, you look like the only insane person.” ― Criss Jami, Diotima, Battery, Electric Personality

“The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before.” 
― Albert Einstein

“A person who does many things differently and often independently makes perhaps the biggest difference of the highest significance for the greatest excellence in everyone’s life.” 
― Anuj Somany

We are in the world but not of it– Christian Principle

Fitting In To Eventually Stand Out
Being a spy can be a daunting job. The very skills required to gather info about someone or something else without any detection from them is tough. The very idea of bypassing security protocols, hacking into servers and mainframes and taking control of them and do everything from the outside in is intense. As deep as that may be, having to be a double-agent among friends is even harder. I essentially lived that life in high school and Bible school. I noticed there were individuals who were evil influences among others. The cunning aspect of this was that they did not know it. This frustrated me because they were able to turn people against me and still appear innocent! The most impressive portion of this was that I was the only one who could see all this happening, thankfully not exclusively to me, but was still a prevailing matter in my case.

The worst part that was challenging was the decision to be like these people who were devious in their ways. Not to the extent where I was making people believe I was a nice guy only to turn out to be the opposite later on, but to some degree, do what was against my personal (social) beliefs, appear to harm others or have them think I were doing so, pacify them and do the (good) deed for their benefit at the expense of getting credit for it. Trust me selflessness and anonymous volunteering does not work out for me. I had a hard time doing this but realized that I could find a way to still do good and stick to my beliefs while looking as though I were performing the contrary.

No Gender No Position
Some time back I heard about how a lot of celebrities, specifically men were trying to promote some trend about how it was perfectly fine for them to be putting on female clothes. It was preposterous and absurd in every sense of the word!

Imagine if as a fashion designer your product is carefully drawn and tailored for women, but you look around and see your work of art being displayed by men! That would come as a huge shock. These are people that believe that clothes have no gender. Standing out in this day and age may actually mean watching the world to see how much lower its standards are getting, looking for the loophole in the attempt to persuade one to join in (especially if its made to seem both natural, harmless and the best decision of one’s life), and gaining the courage to say, “No.” Doing so is much better than adapting to the superficial customs of this world. It may even mean detaching yourself from the friends who, on the surface seem like they mean no harm, but at the heart of the matter, do more damage than they realize.

The Process
The decision to change is never an easy one. The very idea of accomplishing it is no small feat. It takes an immensely intensified desire to implement it. As is the case with any habit, the main factor that contributes to success is remembrance. All one has to do is remember to continue the actions leading to the new habit and they will eventually achieve it. Discipline goes without say as does the act of being intentional about it. I love to liken this to my strong, irritating persistence in defeating an opponent in a video game. I may lose numerous times but I immediately re-strategize, refocus and re-engage the battle. To me it is like nothing else exists and nothing else maters except me successfully defeating my opponent. This essentially is what the need to change should feel and be like.

What Exactly Constitutes A Happily Ever After?
A few weeks ago the whatsapp group I am part of  showcased the worst piece of news I have heard and seen to date. For me, more than the political and economical state of a nation, the social position takes precedence. I could care less of there are millions of jobs and the government is doing well with international relations among other things, if abortion, prostitution, gay marriages is legalized, believe me there is something seriously wrong with the nation. Those things, down to the core affect the very lives of the individuals both influenced by and practicing such things. If the next generation grows to understand and accept them, saving the world will literally be a daily struggle. Let me illustrate what I mean:

Disney’s gay marriage

There was someone from this post that commented on this idea, sadly in the affirmative:

Every 8th grader knows the simple facts of biology that demonstrate that homosexuality is a sexual disorder. Human sexuality is complementary (male/female) in nature and coitus is the primary function of the male/female genitalia. Homosexuals permanently substitute other sexual practices for coitus in the same way a bulimic permanently substitutes disordered eating practices for healthy eating practices. It is obvious.

An artist decided that displaying this image in a public school or library was just very fascinating and states: It is not my intention to offend:

Conclusion
At the end of the day, parents and guardians really need to watch what their children are watching. To reach a point where you have to teach a child about self-worth and help them have a very high self-esteem, so that they are not tricked and fooled into believing that there is an alternative to receiving love, if not from the opposite sex, is unfathomable yet very necessary. Their minds will be conditioned to live this way if nothing is done about it. T.V, the Internet and friends must not dictate what life principles children live by, that is the parents/guardians responsibility. It is not about judging but determining where the line is drawn and never crossing it. Standing out may be a lifetime job and lonely road to walk, but the impact on society and future generations is invaluable.

 

The Heart Of An Optimist

Romans 15:13

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

In this hour, I do not believe that any darkness will endure- J. R. R. Tolkein: The Return Of The King

Optimist Border

Welcoming Portion
Host: Thank you, thank you. It’s so good to have you with us, Tarisai, no excuse me, I should say Tsizzles or T.O perhaps?

Me: T.O is good thank you very much.

Host: Ah, perfect. So tell us, T.O, why do you happen to have so many names?

Me: Well in boarding school I was very often called by my surname, at least at the hostel, by my guys-and to some degree-my coaches also. Names ranging from Greenbean, Coconut, Tenessee and Premises, just to name a few, were among the popular ones. These just happen to come by probably because of the way I carried myself.

Host: Really? Please do tell.

Me: I was was not always the forward, teasing or dissing-for-fun kind of person, but still held my ground and hung out with those who did gain plenty of entertainment from taking advantage of the fact that I never dissed back. This became a very admirable characteristic unique only to me.

Host: Admirable indeed. I’m very curious as to where Tsizzles came from.

Me: Yes, first I must mention what I was called in Denmark very often: T and Mr T. It was interesting because I used T.O all the time so most people called me that, but then the Danes used Mr T and the Slovaks used T. This, again, came all on its own. After being there, I briefly became a recording artist and I named myself Tsizzles because of my sizzling fresh lyrics.

Host: Hmm interesting. You never mentioned your friends having called you T.O, how did that come to be?

Me: At this point, because I was so used to being given names and following along with them, my brother one day decided to call me T.O. That then got around the family quickly. This, by the way, was in 2004 and I went to Denmark in 2006. To this day it’s still very tempting to introduce myself to everyone as T.O.

Host: Well with a name like that I can see why. I’ll bet you get this lot but, what does T.O stand for?

Me: Actually knowing that people are immediately going to be asking that, I just answer before they get the chance, with Tarisai the Optimist. A friend of mine confronted me about that with a thought that never occurred to me because I was so used to it. They said, “That doesn’t make sense. How can you be Tarisai “Tarisai the Optimist” Mzwimbi?” I just told them it was simply because I could be. Admittedly though, Optimist is something that just came from the top of my head. Having been to YWAM in 2012 where, once again, I used T.O, I was questioned about it quite often. In Denmark I mentioned that it was just a random name. In Cape Town I realized that was not going to help.

Host: What did you decide to do then?

Me: I saw that using my first name and that awesome title was not going to cut it. I really loved it though. It just made introductions easy. I then chose to define those initials as The Optimist. This means in a literal sense, anyone who calls me out, “Hey T.O!” are really saying, “Hey The Optimist,” which honestly had a nice ring to it the more I thought about it. At least this way I can rightfully be called, Tarisai “The Optimist” Mzwimbi.

The Heart Of The Matter
Host: Very nice, very nice. The Optimist. I love that. Now you obviously carried this name around for a long time, did you ever feel connected to it in some way?

Me: In fact, it’s funny you say that because being an optimist is something I discovered I lived throughout my life. Whenever I have problems that scare me, like thinking about where my life is going, or a movie I would’ve seen, or comparing where I am to where the friends I learnt with at school are, I simply think my way through that. You see, I’m a Contemplator, that I means I think first, then act and feel. I…

Host: Wait , wait, wait, sorry to cut you there. Does that mean when you get hurt, you think the pain away?

Me: Believe it or not, yes! I cannot tell you how many deep secrets or moments of regret, embarrassment or disappointment I have kind of kept in mind and briefly forgotten about then feel less negatively impacted by, after a while. It was great experiencing that. It’s always a nice way to go through anything tough that a real friend is not in a position to lend an ear at that point in time. Sadly, though, because I’m not really the chatty type, thinking about telling someone-as enormously beneficial as it is-will more often than not, be the last thing on my mind.

Host: Understable. We can all be like that sometimes. Not sure about the telling someone part. Anyways, this thinking problems away method is not something everyone can do. Can anyone, realistically speaking, become an optimist?

Me: Most definitely. You see, it’s not about the perky personality that suppresses problems. If you are the shy or very reserved kind of person, you can still be an optimist. Looking at the bright side does not mean you forget or trivialize the problems you have, no, rather it’s centered on these two factors:

1) Things can always be worse. Another person may say, “Things aren’t always what they seem.” These essentially mean things are not as bad you think they are or as they appear to be, because they can always be worse. In other words, you can at least be grateful that you still live. That’s something very easily forgotten. Someone can say, “How can losing a loved one not be the worst thing?” Simply because you could lose more than one in a short period in time or you could be the one being mourned.

2) You think the opposite of negative thoughts. It’s very natural for us to think negatively towards any kind of situation or person, this makes thinking positively very hard. It’s not built in us, therefore, thinking the opposite of every negative thought that enters our mind makes it easier for us to feel better about how we can shape our future, no matter what comes our way.

Host: That is very deep, if I say so myself. A new way of looking at optimism. I imagine this was not a walk in the park.

Me: Not at all. It took years of training. In a way, I kind of understood what it meant to be transformed by the renewing of your mind (Rom 12:2). It all comes down to how you perceive the situation.

Host: Well that’s all from me. Thank you for being with us today on Inside Out: the show that gives you an inside look into the lives of the great, making a huge deal out of what would normally be viewed as unimportant.

Once again T.O thank you.

Stunned By An Act Of Kindness

Earlier today while taking a lunch break from serving at the cafe at our church, a very interesting event took place. I had served a table with a very big order, gave it to my coworker who then came back to confirm the bill. When I was done I was told that the bill for my table (made up of 4 ladies) was taken care of. I went to clear my table only to be asked for the bill. My coworker made them aware of the situation and all they could do was look at each other with wide eyes, open mouth, and hand to the chest in complete shock. In my mind my coworker gave them the bill, but what actually transpired is two people from a different table having paid for them.

What am I thinking?

I learned never to take for granted the small things you do. I am willing to bet that one or more of the ladies at my table had done something for someone else earlier that day or week (and thus sowing a seed) and that the harvest of their actions was what they were partaking of. This event actually reminds me of what I learned during my time in Bible school. When you sow your seed of positive actions and good deeds, you could get a mushroom blessing, because it takes a day to grow mushroom. Another kind of seed you may possibly plant is a maize seed which means a 3-to-5-month blessing. The other type of seed you could sow is a mustard seed which takes around 40 years to grow!

Seeing what you have always missed

Mushroom blessings are everyday blessings. Random acts of kindness amongst other things that you may receive or give circulate through each day of our lives. Things can always be worse. No matter how bad we have it, we really do not have anything to complain about. I thought, especially after having seen the movie Pay It Forward some time ago, that it would be a good idea to be a miracle to someone and have them do the same to a few others. I hope it works out well.

Help along the way
If you have experienced any form of random act of kindness, whether you give or receive it, please to tell your storyI would love to know more about how to get started and recognize the opportunity when it presents itself, and do what I can to make someone else’s day better simply because I was there.

Other things to ponder
Lidiya- 10 Small Acts Of Kindness That Will Make A Big Difference
Tim- Blank Fridays: Helping Hands
Sokane- Strength Of Kindness
Michelle Mangold- One Simple Act
Kibilds- Day 73: The Gift Of Given Gitfs

Denying God Through Self-Glorification

Courtesy of wpengine.netdna-cdn.com

For a long time I have wondered what the passage in Proverbs 6 meant. Here it is:

Proverbs 6:17

These six things the Lord hates, yea, seven are an abomination to Him. A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Self-glorification first of all is a very serious matter. With me included, many Christians have been sucked and deceived into thinking that the ultimate desire or purpose on earth is to excel above everyone else in any given field. That is what the world conforms to. We are not to do that (Romans 12:2). This world’s ways are fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs. This is the case especially with regards to ethical and moral issues which heavily impact existential and philosophical lessons passed onto younger generations. Their understanding of life, the meaning of life, finding themselves and their purpose will be heavily thwarted.

In essence being better than everyone is the final goal of every human existence as far as the worldly standard is concerned. You are born to be great in a sophisticated and praised field in the world. This is what Christians have been taught to believe as well. It is not about being the best you can be and improving on that to the point where you’re maintaining excellence, but about being the best in general and overall. What is the point of the best? It is so that not only can prominent colleges seek you out, but companies and various highly respected individuals as well which results in putting you on a pedestal. Everyone praises you. Then what happens? Your parents, perhaps teachers and friends brag about you in front of their peers, whether that’s direct or indirect.

Courtesy of groundzeromedia.org

A Possible Second Battle

In the Bible there is only one thing that serves as the number one contender against God: Mammon. It is wealth regarded as an evil influence or false object of worship and devotion. It is the only other thing that Jesus acknowledged as master in this world besides God. Hence why He said:

No one can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise and be against the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Matthew 6:24

Now self-glorification is probably another master that the world gets mastered by. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be the best. One need not aim to excel above everyone else, but only to excel above one’s own capacity to succeed. If in the process that allows you to rise above everyone else, great, as long as it is not the motive. There are a number of problems that come with self-glorification:

  1. You do not seek to glorify God first.
  2. It can possibly create an identity crisis. You do not know who you are in Christ (and maybe not fully, if you do) and therefore seek validation of yourself from others.
  3. It creates narcissism. Self-obsession can be really bad.

 

This all started in the Garden of Eden. After God created everything and pronounced it good, that included Adam and Eve. Now the Perfect World in which they lived was one that ensured that everything they did was good because it was the only thing they knew. When Eve was deceived self-glorification was born because she was led to believe that not only was she deprived of high status (because she was to be like God) but now good was not the only thing she knew anymore. This time being good came at the struggle of not allowing evil to creep in. In another case, listen to what God told the Israelites:

Deut 8:12-14, 17

Lest when you have eaten and are full, and have built goodly houses and live in them,

13 And when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all you have is multiplied,

14 Then your [minds and] hearts be lifted up and you forget the Lord your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage,

 17 And beware lest you say in your [mind and] heart, My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.

Hezekiah, who wrote Proverbs 25-30, talked about the importance of having just enough which is the sufficient amount of all necessities. Nothing more and nothing less.

Proverbs 30:7-9

Two things have I asked of You [O Lord]; deny them not to me before I die:

Remove far from me falsehood and lies; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me,

Lest I be full and deny You and say, Who is the Lord? Or lest I be poor and steal, and so profane the name of my God.

One of the key things a commentary said about Agur is that he so wisely prayed for a middle state, that he might be kept at a distance from temptations.

Jesus rebuked a man who trusted his security in his riches and predicted a life of luxury (only) for himself:

Luke 12:19-21

And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have many good things laid up, [enough] for many years. Take your ease; eat, drink, and enjoy yourself merrily.

20 But God said to him, You fool! This very night they [the messengers of God] will demand your soul of you; and all the things that you have prepared, whose will they be?

21 So it is with the one who continues to lay up and hoard possessions for himself and is not rich [in his relation] to God [this is how he fares].

I put a lot of thought into this. It reminds me of what Solomon said concerning the pointlessness of working so hard to build your empire, only to find that one with less wisdom than you would take over and not properly manage all that you have worked so hard to build (Ecc 2:18-21)

What about Cain?

God wanted Cain to be successful just as much as Abel. He did not ask if Cain was to be more successful than his brother, He only asked that if he did well then he was to be accepted:

Gen 4:6-7

And the Lord said to Cain, Why are you angry? And why do you look sad and depressed and dejected?

7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.

Conclusion
I believe God would love for us to be good husbands/wives and parents to our children. Excelling above someone else is not really, at the end of the day, a goal worthy of pursuing. Rather being the best person you were created to be and can be (and if that in turn allows you to be much better than someone else-well done) so that His glory may manifest in all that you do, along with benefiting and improving other people’s lives.