One great evil a minister must guard against is harboring a spirit of competition toward other ministers and ministries. There is temptation to compare ministries, programs, attendance records or other forms of visible “success” (Acts 13:45). A competitive spirit can easily give way to envy, and envy left unchecked draws the minister toward a critical spirit (Mt. 12:23-24). God deliver us from this vile sin.
Evaluating the motives of others
A critical spirit toward a brother in Christ can cause us to question his motives. Whenever we assume to know the motivations of another, we have crossed the divide and set ourselves up as God. We usurp the place of God by sitting in judgment of a brother. While we are tempted, and to which all of us are guilty at one time or other, this is a great sin. (Mt. 7:1-5) The reality is God chooses to bless and use people I disagree with. I should be very slow to criticize another servant of God. I may choose not to do things the way he does, but I should rejoice when the gospel is preached, and pray for God to bless him and his work abundantly. (Mk 9:38-41)
Evaluating my own motives
It is right and good for me to evaluate why I am serving God? Can my motives ever be entirely pure? No. Therefore, I should acknowledge that reality and commit myself to the One who has chosen to carry out His work in the world through imperfect vessels. We can waste time with endless introspection, or we can get on with serving God. In the going and doing, we commit our way to the Lord for His protection and guidance. Our prayer must be that in all things, the glorious Lord Jesus Christ receives the glory and honor due His name, and His name alone. David Livingstone penned the following prayer in his journal, “Purify my motives, sanctify all my desires. Guide my feet and direct my steps so that the great and glorious Jesus may be glorified.” (Rob Mackenzie, David Livingstone, The Truth Behind the Legend. Kingsway Publications, Sussex, Great Britian, 1993, p. 130)