Bible Topics: Position, desiring

Definition of “position”: One’s rank or status in an organization or in society.

1. In God’s Kingdom, the most honorable position is “servant of all.”

* Matthew 23:11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.

* Mark 10:43b,44 Whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: 44 And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.

* Luke 9:46-48 Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest. 47 And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by Him, 48 And said unto them, Whosoever shall receive this child in My Name receiveth Me: and whosoever shall receive Me receiveth Him that sent Me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.

* Luke 22:26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.

2. Ambition for position is a manifestation of pride.

* Matthew 20:20-24 Then came to Him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping Him, and desiring a certain thing of Him. 21 And He said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto Him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on Thy right hand, and the other on the left, in Thy Kingdom. 22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto Him, We are able. 23 And He saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on My right hand, and on My left, is not Mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of My Father. 24 And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren. [See also Mark 10:35-37,41-43.]

* Matthew 23:2,5-7 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: … 5 But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, 6 And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, 7 And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.

* Mark 9:33-35 And He came to Capernaum: and being in the house He asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? 34 But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest. 35 And He sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.

* Mark 12:38,39 And He said unto them in His doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, 39 And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts.

* Luke 22:24-26 And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. 25 And He said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. 26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.

3. Desiring position can be self-exaltation, which the Lord won’t bless.

* Proverbs 25:6,7 Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men: 7 For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen.

* Proverbs 25:27 It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search [seek after] their own glory is not glory.

* Luke 14:7-11 And He put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when He marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, 8 When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; 9 And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. 10 But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. 11 For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

* Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

* 1 Corinthians 13:4b,5a Charity [love] vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5a Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own.

4. Desiring position is often the Devil’s inroad to sow division, discontent and strife.

* Acts 20:30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

* Galatians 5:26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

* Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

* 2 Timothy 1:15 This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom [the leaders] are Phygellus and Hermogenes.

* 3 John 9 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. [And he rejected the Apostle John’s authority.]

5. Desiring position is as old as the Devil, and as new as the Antichrist.

* Isaiah 14:12-14 How art thou fallen from Heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into Heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

* Daniel 8:10-12 And it [the little horn, the Antichrist] waxed great, even to the host of Heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. 11 Yea, he magnified himself even to the Prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down. 12 And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered. [See also 7:25; 8:25.]

* Daniel 11:36,37 And the king [Antichrist] shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. 37 Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.

* 2 Thessalonians 2:4 [The Antichrist] opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

6. “Social climbers” often seek position and power through flattery and deceit.

* Job 32:21,22 [Elihu said:] Let me not, I pray you, accept any man’s person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man. 22 For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my Maker would soon take me away.

* Psalm 12:2-4 They speak vanity every one with his neighbour: with flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak. 3 The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaketh proud things: 4 Who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?

* Proverbs 19:6 Many will intreat the favour of the prince: and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts.

* Proverbs 29:5 [The flatterer is really out to get, not to give.] A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet.

* John 12:42,43 [The chief rulers loved popularity and the praise of man.] Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on Him [Jesus] but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: 43 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

* Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

* 1 Thessalonians 2:4-6 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the Gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. 5 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness: 6 Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.

* Jude 16b Their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage.

7. Jesus never desired position or self-glory; He admonishes us to follow His example.

* Matthew 20:28 The Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.

* Matthew 21:5b Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.

* Luke 4:5-8 And the Devil, taking Him up into an high mountain, shewed unto Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the Devil said unto Him, All this power will I give Thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. 7 If Thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be Thine. 8 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind Me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.

* Luke 22:27 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? Is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as He that serveth.

* John 13:5,12-15 After that He poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded. … 12 So after He had washed their feet, and had taken His garments, and was set down again, He said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? 13 Ye call Me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.

* Philippians 2:5-8 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

8. Because it has its roots in pride, desiring position can be a great hindrance to being used of the Lord.

* Proverbs 29:23a A man’s pride shall bring him low.

* 1 Samuel 15:17 And Samuel said [to Saul], When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed thee king over Israel?

* 2 Chronicles 26:15b,16a [The intelligent young King Uzziah followed the Lord, prospered and became strong, but then pride became his worst enemy.] And his name spread far abroad; for he was marvellously helped, till he was strong. 16a But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the Lord his God. [For the whole story of how this great king ended up dying as a leper, read the entire chapter.]

* Psalm 101:5b Him that hath an high look and a proud heart will not I suffer [allow to continue].

* Isaiah 2:11,12 The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. 12 For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low.

* Daniel 4:37b Those that walk in pride He is able to abase.

* Daniel 5:20 [When King Nebuchadnezzar became lifted up against God, he was brought low.] But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him.

* Obadiah 1:3,4 The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? 4 Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord.

* Matthew 23:12a And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased.

* 1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

9. God knows where each of us can be best used, so if we’re wise we’ll be yielded and faithful in that place.

* Proverbs 27:8 As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.

* 1 Corinthians 7:20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called. [See also verse 17.]

* 1 Corinthians 12:28,29 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?

* Colossians 4:17b Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.

* 2 Timothy 4:5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

10. God’s way up is down; humility is true greatness in His eyes.

* Deuteronomy 8:16b That He might humble thee, and that He might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end.

* Proverbs 15:33b Before honour is humility.

* Proverbs 22:4 By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honour, and life.

* Matthew 18:4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

* Matthew 19:30 But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.

* James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.

* 1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.

11. God is the One Who decides who should hold position and rank.

* 1 Samuel 2:7 The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: He bringeth low, and lifteth up.

* 2 Samuel 7:8 Now therefore so shalt thou say unto My servant David, Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people, over Israel.

* Psalm 75:6,7 For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. 7 But God is the Judge: He putteth down one, and setteth up another.

* Daniel 2:21b He [the Lord] removeth kings, and setteth up kings.

* Matthew 20:23b To sit on My right hand, and on My left, is not Mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of My Father.

* John 3:27 John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from Heaven.

12. Most of God’s leaders don’t feel capable of the position He calls them to.

* Exodus 4:10-12 [Moses:] And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since Thou hast spoken unto Thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. 11 And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? Or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Have not I the Lord? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.

* Judges 6:14-16 [Gideon:] And the Lord looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee? 15 And he said unto Him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? Behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house. 16 And the Lord said unto him, Surely I will be with thee, and thou shalt smite the Midianites as one man.

* 1 Samuel 10:21b-22 [Saul, when being chosen to be king:] And when they sought him, he could not be found. 22 Therefore they inquired of the Lord further, if the man should yet come thither. And the Lord answered, Behold, he hath hid himself among the stuff.

* 1 Samuel 18:18 [Future King David:] And David said unto Saul, Who am I? And what is my life, or my father’s family in Israel, that I should be son in law to the king?

* 1 Kings 3:7 [Solomon:] And now, O Lord my God, Thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in.

* Jeremiah 1:5,6,7 [God says to young Jeremiah:] Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. 6 Then said I, Ah, Lord God! Behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. 7 But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.

* Matthew 3:14,15 [John the Baptist, when Jesus wanted to be baptized of him:] But John forbad Him, saying, I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me? 15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer [let] it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered Him.

13. The spiritually mature don’t seek positions of leadership unless they’re sure it is God’s will.

* Psalm 131:1 [David said:] Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.

* Luke 12:48b For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

* 2 Corinthians 2:16b And who is sufficient for these things?

* 1 Timothy 3:6 [If promotion causes you to get proud, you’re still a novice!] Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the Devil.

* Hebrews 13:17a [Leaders know that they are accountable to God for every decision they make.] Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account.

* James 3:1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation [stricter judgment].

14. Godly ambition – seeking to use your talents to the fullest for the Lord – is good.

* 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 [Our ambition should be godly, not self-seeking. — And in order to do that, we need to keep our hearts in check.] Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

* 1 Corinthians 12:30,31a Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31a But covet earnestly the best gifts.

* 1 Corinthians 14:39 Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.

* Philippians 3:12-14 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 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.

* 1 Timothy 3:1 [Desiring to lead others for a good cause is not wrong.] This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

* 2 Timothy 2:5 [If you strive to excel, it needs to be done in the right spirit.] And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.

* Revelation 3:11 Behold, I [Jesus] come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

15. Those who are faithful in this life will be promoted to responsible positions in Heaven.

* Daniel 12:3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

* Matthew 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of Heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of Heaven.

* Luke 19:17 And He said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.

* Luke 22:28-30 Ye are they which have continued with Me in My temptations. 29 And I appoint unto you a Kingdom, as My Father hath appointed unto Me; 30 That ye may eat and drink at My table in My Kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

* John 12:26 If any man serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall also My servant be: if any man serve Me, him will My Father honour.

* 1 Corinthians 6:2a Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?

* Revelations 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations.

* Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.

* Revelation 5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

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