Throughout our lives we have seasons in which we get put on some sort of pedestal. Built up in the mind of at least one other into something that we are not. Children put their parents on a pedestal. Spouses put each other on a pedestal. Congregations put their pastors high up on a pedestal.
Truth is, this feels good. When we are the center of the kingdom, when the world is revolving around us, it builds up our sense of significance. It is easy to build an identity on what people think of us – having our sense of self and value reflected back to us by those we surround our self with.
But when my feeling of being worth loving comes from the validation of others – it is a trap. Then you have to behave a certain way and project a certain image in order to gain the approval.
The approval becomes an idol. It must be served.
It takes work to stay on the pedestal.
Know why pastors fall? Their focus became the pedestal rather than being centered in Jesus.
Know why marriages fail? At least one spouse’s focus is on their pedestal. Serving self over serving the other.
Know why peer pressure is so effective? It is all about having a pedestal to be put on.
Jesus was put on a pedestal. Lauded by the crowds. Followed by thousands. Approval like that would certainly be a temptation.
But Jesus was centered in the Father. From that position of submission and oneness, Jesus had his identity and purpose. Despite being on the pedestal, He maintained his sense of self.
On one occasion when the crowds were becoming large, Jesus declared that to follow him meant that his followers must drink his blood and eat his flesh. Everyone left.
On another occasion, after entering Jerusalem and hearing the chant of the crowds who longed for a political liberator, He allowed himself to be arrested and remained silent when He could have talked his way out of the charges. His disciples scattered.
For Jesus, the pedestal was not important. Purpose from his true identity was. No matter if anyone followed or not.
We have a similar choice. Center our lives in our self. Build our own kingdom. Work to maintain the pedestal in a marriage, congregation, work, organization, etc. so that the false self will feel secure.
Unfortunately, pedestals usually topple over. Those on top of them lose their balance and fall. And the fall is hard.
Or, we can be centered in Christ. Receiving our identity through relationship with him. Out of that will come purpose. And the ability to not place importance in the pedestal we may be on.
Who has you on a pedestal? Is your sense of worth or significance founded on that pedestal? Do you work hard to maintain it?