Proverbs 29:23 A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.
Whenever I climb I am followed by a dog called "Ego." Friedrich Nietzsche.
In 1980 I heard Julie Buchenauer say, "Don't let your milestones become millstones." She preached that we can get caught up in our own good works and miss the next blessing, because we have become enamoured with our milestones in life and they now start turning into millstones grinding us to limited growth. Her statement marked me well because I have lived by its advice.
Whenever I got proud of something I thought was great in my life, I would enjoy the blessing of it but after a while that old saying would needle its way into my mind and I would say out loud, "Don't let your milestones become millstones, time to move on to the next thing God has for you." Phil. 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
I heard Wayne Dyer say that "ego" was an acronym for Edging God Out. This is true in my life. I get into trouble when I start twisting God's instruction into my own ideas. I start edging God out and doing things my way, then, when the results are not coming as fast as I think they should, I get upset and my ego won't let me see my folly. 1 Sam. 25:25b Nabal is his name, and folly is with him. Sometimes we just have to admit we were wrong in a decision made. Yes, we were sincere, but we were sincerely wrong.
When we start asking God to bless something that was never His intention, we end up in a difficult spot because our ego is in the way. Abraham wanted God to make Ismael the son of promise, but God wanted His covenant done right. Gen. 17:18 And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! 19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
Ishmael (the milestone) had become a millstone around Abraham's neck. Abraham was stuck on an idea that would not work and the progress of his life was grinding to a halt until he agreed to send Ishmael and Hagar away. The millstone that Abraham was carrying was hindering the blessing of the Lord from going forward in Abraham and Sarah's life.
Someone said, "When ambition ends, happiness begins." I would say, "When personal obsession ends, happiness in God begins." Eccl. 10:1 Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour. We can become a stench to the Holy Spirit when we are riding our egos toward the promise land and believing our own press rather than being dependent upon the leading of the Lord. We start looking at our milestones and thinking, look at what I have done for God, isn't He blessed to have me doing all those extras for Him? Before we know it a millstone has pressured us into making unrighteous decisions and we start believing the end justifies the means.
We do not have to look far back in recent history to see this effect. A few TV evangelists came to a disastrous end because of poor choices and dependency on their media name brands, rather than the power of the Holy Spirit. Was restoration and healing available for them? Absolutely, and thank God some of them accepted God's forgiveness, but what hurts and loss could have been avoided had ego and pride been dealt with. Thank God for His grace toward us as He keeps drawing us back onto His track of a narrow and righteous walk. Psalm 30:11 Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing: thou hast put off my sackcloth, and girded me with gladness.
It comes down to this. Let us enjoy our victories and milestones in life because God helped us get them. However, do not let them become what we worship and turn them into idols. Eccl. 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. Father, in Jesus name, help us all be stronger in Christ and in the power of His might rather than our egos.