By Eddie Ssemakula
Surely, no length of social media posts can restrain a man committed to his own glory, even if that man were the one typing this.
We, needy humans, are glory seekers by default, we all want our shoes kissed.
It took an entire crucifixion 2000 years ago to overcome such vain glory, and yet, we still smell the stench of such human pride today.
What we just witnessed at the Independence grounds over the weekend is an indictment on a born-again church for having long-abandoned the institutional wisdom of doctrinal safeguards in favour of enterprenual models of Christian ministry.
Self-styled models of ministry, where the CEO-like ‘Shepherd’ on top of the pyramid is accountable to nobody, just like members of his mid-week congregation.
And yet that’s still a secondary issue.
The Primary issue being that we are all committed to our glory, it’s a poisonous vice orchestrated by the serpent and passed on from our first Parents, Adam and Eve.
Consequently, we all still ask the same question, even when building our spiritual empires, ‘did God really say (Gen 3:1) we question the supremacy of God’s word over us, because yes, we want to be our own master, we want our Babel to reach heaven.
We all want our shoes kissed.
Whether we are elbowing our way in the supermarket line, or fixing details for another Christian event, (or even trying to write a powerful blog ) we are always seeking glory.
And whereas Christian life is glorious by the fact that we are constantly beholding God’s glory through Christ and his word, (2 Cor 3:18) Christian living in general, remains riddled with glory wars.
More often than not amidst such glory contention, it’s God’s word that ends up compromised, usually to our benefit. Or so we think.
We all carry the capacity to manipulate anything to advance our own name, fame, to headline, even if that means proof texting Scripture to justify our disordered appetites.
What we are witnessing in the Ugandan church is an institutional culmination of an ancient vice. Herods and Nebuchadnezzars trying to ‘leave their mark in history’ – yet biblical evidence is abundant on how such man-made projects end.
No matter which evangelical denomination you are, we all must privately answer the question the gospel constantly troubles us with, shall we primarily abandon our tastes and preferences, our felt needs, our greed, our deepest loves for the sake of the one we proclaim, shall we like Jesus’ forerunner ‘decrease so that he may increase?’ (John 3:30) Shall we carry the cross and follow him?
When men carry us on their shoulders and proclaim, ‘”The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” (Acts 14:11) shall we like Paul remind them “we are men with passions like you”(15) ?
Shall we like the psalmist say ‘ earth has nothing I desire besides thee (Ps 73:25), ‘ or shall we edit that to mean, ‘ with thee, I must have everything I want ? ‘Shall we like him conclude, ‘not to us not to us, oh Lord, but to your name be the glory (Ps 115;1)’
Shall we like Herod suffer death by worms for not giving glory to God, or shall we like Nebuchadnezzar have a 7-year grass diet for the same reason?
In the days of ‘itching ears’ (2 Tim 4:3), every Christian’s fundamental test is going to be about his or her ability to discern such subtle error, from within and without.
A God-granted ability to discern error is what is going to safeguard believers from contemporary vain appetites to seek self-improvement rather than repentance, lone-ranger Christianity rather than spiritual accountability, self-aggrandizement rather than sacrificial living, and self-assertiveness rather than biblical humility.
So help us Lord.
Otherwise, for now, it looks like we all still want our shoes kissed