Are You Carrying a Weight You
Were Never Created to Bear?
For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Matthew 23:12
When I first joined Instagram, I only posted family pictures and a few Bible verses.
Then one day, I posted a mountain scene and a few words of encouragement, and instead of 40 or 50 “likes” and a couple of comments, I received over 10,000 likes and hundreds of comments. What?! I instantly saw Instagram differently.
I marinated on the post for days. How was it different or better? Could I reproduce this success and be an influencer to the masses? They liked me! They needed my wisdom! Was this the beginning of a virtual career?
Alas, no. It was a one-hit wonder. But after the initial euphoria wore off, it did get me thinking. Why did that give me such a rush? Why did I obsess over it for days?
I was enjoying the attention, plain and simple. And for a brief time, I shifted from inspiring others to putting out optics that would inspire them … to like me.
The difference is subtle but crucial: a bit of self-exaltation, maybe even self-worship. I certainly didn’t think of it like that at the time, of course. I wasn’t consciously wanting people to worship me — but I sure wanted them to like me and my message … a lot.
In Matthew 23, Jesus is teaching the crowds about hypocrisy and humility by using the Pharisees as an example. Verse 12 reveals to us what will ultimately happen to those who choose self-exaltation over humility: “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12). Jesus was saying that if we try to put ourselves at the center instead of God, we will be humbled, just as I was when I came face to face with my subtle self-worship.
Satan was the first to try and receive worship meant only for God (Genesis 3), and he’s been convincing millions ever since that self-exaltation — self-worship — is the road to fulfillment. Here’s the thing, though: It isn’t.
Social media can quickly become a place to seek validation and self-worth, a place to draw attention to ourselves. And curating the perfect life on social media is exhausting. But more than that, it’s hopeless. It will never fill the void inside when we feel less than or left out. And it comes at a cost — peace, joy and even authentic and meaningful relationships.
While God created us with a natural desire for community, our hearts weren’t created to handle the constant tug of trying to measure up. Only God can bear the weight of this type of worship.
The good news is that our heavenly Father loves us, and because of that, we don’t have to seek love (or even “likes”) from anyone else. If we feel gripped by the draw of receiving attention and approval from others, He wants to break us free from that stranglehold on our hearts. He wants us to find our worth in Him. And when we rest in that, we find our fulfillment in Him and nothing else.
Father, I’m tired of carrying this weight You never created me to bear. I want real, authentic relationships in my life. I am tired of trying to be someone I can’t be. I want my heart grounded in real love, not in the desire to be admired by others. I want to be loved for who I am, and to love others for who they are. Please help me understand Your truth and how the truth of who You are can change my heart. Thank You for loving me unconditionally. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Matthew 11:28-30, “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.’”
In what areas of your life are you trying to measure up? What’s one thing you can do today to exchange that weight for true freedom and fulfillment in God?