Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.
The things that are highly esteemed among men are often thoroughly opposed to the mind of God (Luke 16:15). It is the ambitious, energetic man who strives to excel his fellows, who has the admiration of men of the world who suppose that present gain is the great thing to be desired. But Jesus taught us that it is the meek who inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5). The “terrible meek,” one has called them, who are content to be passed over and to be unnoticed by men, but to whom the approval of the Lord means more than anything else. These are they who overcome the world by faith (1 John 5:4). They can afford to relinquish present advantage, for they know they shall find a sure reward at the judgment seat of Christ.
There is no room for earthly pomp or worldly glory in the circle of Christ’s followers. To seek personal advancement and to endeavor to lord it over one’s brethren is thoroughly contrary to the spirit of Him who became servant of all, though He created the universe. The spirit of a Diotrephes (3 John 9) is far removed from the spirit of Christ and should be avoided by all of His servants, but that of an Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25–30) is a worthy example which all may well emulate.
O worldly pomp and glory,
Your charms are spread in vain!
I’ve heard a sweeter story;
I’ve found a truer gain.
Where Christ a place prepareth,
There is my loved abode.
There shall I gaze on Jesus;
There shall I dwell with God.
H. A. Ironside, The Continual Burnt Offering: Daily Meditations on the Word of God (Neptune, NJ: Loizeaux Brothers, 1994), 331.