In other words, deliver me from the desire for lots of attention, even posthumously. In the movie Troy, Achilles (Brad Pitt) wants nothing more than for his name to be remembered for eternity. He is the ultimate fighter. He fears no one and nothing…except being forgotten. Prior to facing an opponent twice his size, Achilles is told by a young boy, “I wouldn’t want to fight him!” Achilles says to the boy, “That is why no one will remember your name.” Theologians call it the fear of non-being.
We desire recognition because it validates our very existence. What good are we unless someone else believes we are good for something? We often feel we need an audience to offer some applause for who we are. Such validation can become addictive. It can also replace an awareness that our true goodness resides in having been created by God, not in our accomplishments.
Accomplishments are good, of course. They are only possible because of the gifts and talents God provides. Humility is not about pretending we have no gifts. We’re allowed to recognize and appreciate the talents and gifts God gives us. We can use them in constructive, loving ways. That’s gratitude. However, if the praise we receive becomes the primary motivation for using our gifts and talents, we are off track. We have constructed a golden calf with which to replace God as our soul reason for being. Rather than trusting in God, we have given in to the fear of non-being. This robs us of true joy and replaces it with fleeting emotions.
From the desire of being extolled, honored or praised, deliver me, Jesus.