Do you know someone who has the need to be the center of attention? Someone who always has to be in the spotlight? Someone who, in their mind anyway, seems to know just a bit more than you do? Most likely, we all know people like that but what is it that makes them crave that kind of attention?
To be fair, some people have a charismatic personality and so, in certain situations, they end up being the center of attention. But then there are those who are so full of pride, they just can’t help themselves – it exudes from their very being. They push themselves upon others because they need to be noticed. A particular passage in the book of Acts may suggest yet another possibility of what’s going on in that kind of person’s life:
“But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great, to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, ‘This man is the great power of God.’ And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time.” (Acts 8:9-11)
The Bible goes on to say that when this man heard Philip preaching about Christ, he became a believer, was baptized and started following Philip around. Later, Peter and John came to the area and began laying hands on people for the Samaritans to receive the Holy Spirit. When Simon saw this demonstration of God’s power, he desired to have it, so much so, that he offered to pay for it:
But Peter said to him, “Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity.” (Acts 8:20-23)
It’s really easy to focus on the latter statement, “You’re bound by iniquity.” His actions reveal that he was, indeed. But what about the former statement – “You are poisoned by bitterness”? Is the fact that he was “poisoned by bitterness” the reason he needed the attention of others? Was bitterness the source of his need to be esteemed and be affirmed as being great by others? If so, that might help explain the actions of those we have encountered with this problem.
If we find ourselves wanting to be esteemed and affirmed by others all the time, is it because there’s bitterness in our heart? Does some unfortunate experience from the past cause us to continually seek affirmation from others? Have the consequent insecurities of our past provoked us to seek fame and accolades to compensate for the hurt? In other words, is it just that people who have a need to be in the spotlight are just so full of pride and arrogance that they feel deserving of special attention or are they “poisoned by bitterness”?
If you know someone like that, you need to pray for that person, that God would reveal to them the reason for thinking they need the affirmation and attention of others. Perhaps, they will see it, acknowledge it and turn from it. As believers, we must live by the principle that, when people meet us, they see the Messiah in us. Like John the Baptist, we “must decrease that He may increase.” Whatever may be in our lives that would cause us to seek anything other than that must be overcome. Remember, it’s not about you or me, it’s about Him. Let us live our lives in accordance with that truth.