Summary: When you arrive at church, check your ego at the door. Man's ego has no place in the work of God.
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves…”
We get the word "narcissism" from Greek mythology. Narcissus was an extremely handsome young man. Echo fell desperately in love with him. He ignored her and broke her heart, yet she continued to love him. Their relationship was made nearly impossible because the gods had willed it that he could hear only the last two words of her conversation. Regularly he would misunderstand her. The end result was that Echo pined away to death. However, her "last two words" remain to this day as "echoes."
Nemesis, the goddess of retribution –who pays you back for your wrong doing –punished Narcissus for his neglect of Echo by causing him to fall in love with his own image which he saw mirrored in a pool of water. He could not attend to any of his needs other than the need to admire and love himself in the mirrored pool. As a result he dies and Nemesis turned him into the flower that we today call the narcissus!
The Word of God in Proverbs 16: 18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” We are often blind to our own faults, and this is extremely dangerous for those of us in ministry positions within the church. It is a cancer to our ministry and sadly we have all witnessed dozens of pastors go down in defeat in a very public way due to their arrogance, pride, and enormous ego.
Left unchecked, our ministry will exist only for humanistic purposes and not for the purposes and will of God. I believe that the more we are flattered the more dangerous it can become. Flattery and criticism are complete opposites but can be equally damaging. You’ve heard it said that, “flattery can get you anywhere” and this almost true to an extent, flattery can also get you to place that you really don’t want to be. It can cause you to think more highly of yourself than you ought to—and this is the place in your ministry that you really don’t want to be. In these last days we want to be in a place where our mind, our heart, and our soul is constantly stayed on Jesus.
In and of ourselves we have absolutely nothing to brag or be prideful about. Look what Paul says in Galatians 6: 14, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” The Cross is or should be the only boast of a minister or church leader. We have absolutely nothing else to feel proud about, not our oratorical abilities, not the size of our church and not our popularity among the masses, just the Cross of Jesus Christ.
As Paul lies in his cell realizing that his death was near. He is concerned about the future of the gospel. He knew that the evil of the times were on their way, and so he pens a couple of extremely vital and important letters to his “dearly beloved son”, his associate minister Timothy. At the time of this letter it was actually a crime to be a Christian and Paul sincerely hopes that Timothy may come and bring Mark also. –2 Timothy 4: 11