Seeking Humility in a world of Pride

Humility is the Golden Virtue and without humility all other virtues are rendered meaningless even Hypocritical.

The Golden Virtue of humility, is by its very nature,  something that is more often known by experiential reality being clearly seen in others who are living by the Spirit of the words in the Golden Rule, “ Love your neighbor as yourself” and “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

But this all important way of “being” seen in the Golden Rule is the shallow end of the pool of humility. It is the flow and not the fountainhead.

For example:

If I as a child love my brother and sister and give them of my own things,  doing for them things I would have them do for me  it is good, however those gestures would mean  little if I also decided to Kill our parents .

What I can provide of my own resources is empty and shallow if I have cut off the fountainhead from which the greatest blessings come, it is even treacherous.  It then becomes PRIDE and not Humility.

Pride is not a virtue of course, rather it is the death of all virtues and it mocks all virtues.

There is only one test for humility ……and it is a most humbling one.

God is the fountainhead and if I kill Him in my head, if I kill Him in my heart,  if I eclipse His Glory from my neighbor by hardening my own heart against Him as my all sufficient creator and sustainer and if I deny His existence, I cut supply off from the very source, the fountainhead of all Goodness.

Every “lesser Good”, imprinted on the conscience of man, even if we abide by it is impotent and rogue without being connected to the fountainhead.

Apart from understanding and accepting my place in the created order of things as a child made in the image of God, humility will be a concept in a vacuum; an empty and dried up stream without a source.

If we are not willing to be connected to God we fail the test of humility because we refuse to be Humble in the first order of things.

Yet

“God sends rain on the just and the unjust”

In other words God the fountainhead gives to all liberally but there is a distinction made between the “Just” and the “unjust”.  The  “Just” know the fountainhead, Love the fountainhead and accept and give thanks in Truth to the Lord for His blessings.  The just accept their humble state and are the humble. Their Identity is in God.

The “unjust”, also receive from the fountainhead to a degree but give no thanks, accept no authority over their lives and are the, “Prideful”.

The greatest blessing, the singular blessing that opens up the total fountainhead to us is found in the Gift of God’s Son Jesus Christ. Humility acknowledges need and accepts what is required to meet that need.

The despots of this world always demand we bow the knee to them but with God the knee is bowed in the beautifully freeing reality that God is God and that in Christ we have received mercy upon mercy. We make no demands of God we see that our identity is not based in how we feel but in God and in Christ.

Jesus’ Life, Death and Resurrection become ours through the agency of the gift of faith through the Holy Spirit.

So I pray,

“Lord, grant me humility lest PRIDE keep me locked into some lesser fleeting identity attached to money, sex, position or feelings. At death none of these will do. Grant me only eternal life through Jesus Christ. (“May thy will be done on earth as in heaven.” )And help me to be some vessel to point the way out of this Pride obsessed world parading around in its various forms in the name of the self.”

We all have received many wounds while PRIDE rode over our heads and held us fast through our passions and our fears.  Ought we not to be humble towards those who now receive the wounds while we have been set free?

Let’s get serious about “Humility” by looking away from ourselves and to the fountainhead remembering that the distinction lies in God since we all have lived in the narrow confines of pride in some way and only in Christ did we ever see the darkness of it.

Stand aside, let God shine.

God employs strange means to reveal His glory and righteousness among mankind.

Certainly the strangest, is that God’s perfect righteousness is reflected through the testimony of unrighteous sinners.

In this world when you want want to espouse the Glory of something,  you use the best models don’t you?       I’ve never seen a toothpaste commercial  declare their Glory by using people with rotten teeth.

Yet In God’s wisdom, He does just the opposite of the toothpaste commercials.  He reveals His Glory through the Gospel and saves sinners who have not just rotten teeth but rotten hearts and He undertakes to make them point to His perfect Glory and righteousness.

No true Christian could ever say  ,“ I am the poster boy or girl of righteousness” God accepts me because  “I am Good”.

in fact the Gospels very clearly illustrate that it is the broken hearted the “sinners” and the “Poor in spirit” who come into proper relationship to God through the redemption that is in Christ.

A Christian can and should say, “ I am a great sinner and God is a great savior”.

We should make it a practice to never stand in the way of God’s light by pretending to be better than we are.    Instead we should be intentionally Stepping aside from taking glory onto ourselves and point to God and behold God who is truly Glorious.

Beware of trying to make people “believe in you” it is a fools venture.

By saying this I mean that God will be seen in our life as we know and trust in Him and as we look to Him and are changing, admitting our weakness and need of Him. There will be fruit of growth toward Christ likeness but only as we trust in Him.

Others as a by-product will see that God is real and will see through us the Glory of God Himself, even though we may appear smaller to those same people because we have stepped out of Hypocrisy into reality.   And the reality is we are not righteous according to God’s standard.

Jesus accuses the Pharisees ( A very proud and good works oriented people) of keeping  people out of the Kingdom and of refusing to enter into the Kingdom themselves!!!”

The Pharisees did everything to be seen by others as being righteous. They actually did do many “good Deeds” but they blocked the way.  Indeed many looked at them and said,  “wow I could never be like those people they are very devout and I could never be accepted”

The Pharisee loved to see this kind of reaction because it made them feel artificially secure in their own Righteousness. The more “self- righteous” they became ,the further they went from God and God’s true Glory was darkened as they stood in the way.

Thus the Charge from Jesus in Matthew 23:13

“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.”

As soon as we recognize the true Holy Righteousness of God we will not even dare to think of a    “self –righteousness”.

Instead we  see what God has provided in Jesus Christ  for the forgiveness of sins and as we trust only in His righteousness that is given to us by God as a gift through Jesus Christ, God will rightly receive all the Glory due His name as the only righteous one and as a merciful Savior.

It is this relationship based on salvation ,that we both get out of the way and also point to the Way.

If fact we perfectly testify to  the truth that Jesus Christ  declared when He said.  “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the father but through me”

And none of us who come this way block the righteousness or glory of God from others sight when we confess that we are sinners saved by grace.

The first outward note of our faith is that we no longer wear a mask before God and it then follows (sometimes slowly) that we no longer wear a mask before men.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is Glorious precisely because God Himself is Glorious.

*  “In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

Praise be to Jesus Christ the author and finisher of our faith.

(*In Christ alone- written by Stuart Townsend and Keith Getty)

How God uses our enemies to help us overcome sin.

No one loves to find our faults more than our enemies. A friend, with good intention, may overlook a fault; an enemy however, with evil intention, will rejoice to see it.
The friend wishes not to bring humiliation, the enemy seeks to humiliate. God in his grand intention seeks to humble (not humiliate) his children. So with all wisdom God uses our enemy to expose hidden faults. Our close friend is not nearly as useful as our enemy in a situation like this.

The will of God is overarching and sovereign over all other wills. His will is done on earth. And especially toward those who He has called to follow Him as stated in Philippians 1:6,
“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

Now there are some precious friends who love us enough to tell us our faults but they are usually very rare. The word of God declares in the book of Proverbs, “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.”  So in the absence of such friends our enemy will actually do us good as God works his will into our life through them. Having our sins exposed by one who seeks to discredit us and humiliate us is good in the grand scheme of things.

We can say with Joseph in Genesis 50:20
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”
Remember that God may desire to save them too.

Having accepted Jesus Christ as both Lord and saviour through His death and resurrection we are forgiven of all sin past, present and future. That was done for us by Jesus on the cross and made to apply to us through faith in Him. God however takes and begins to shape us into a new creation and in our deepest being we desire to be righteous and free from our sinful habits.

Our desire to be free does not easily translate into our daily lives and we struggle, never satisfied with our own sin. Sin is more a misery than a delight and we seek to get away from those entanglements. Sometimes succumbing to those temptations, and sometimes finding victory over them. This is a real battle.
These tendencies are not easily shaken, propensity to lie, lust, argue, doubt God, be self righteous and love things rather than God are patterns and paths that are very easy to retrace if we walk out of step with God.

In this battle we have many strategic helps from God, His word instructs us, His spirit leads us friends love us and enemies confront us.

If people gossip about you, try to listen to what they are saying. Just maybe there is that kernel of truth that God wants to show you. It may be humiliating, but let it be so you are in a larger picture than your enemy can see.

I give thanks for my enemies because God loves me with good intention even if they are operating out of bad intentions. I pray for them too because Christ is a savior of sinners.

How God uses our enemies for our good

One of the most interesting and unexpected realities that appear in the Biblical narrative is that God’s will is performed through the rebellion of His enemies.

This unexpected reality becomes even more interesting when we clearly see that God uses the enemies of his children to shape His children and that though we may have enemies who mean us harm they are actually doing us good and can’t help but serve God’s purpose in our lives.

Oh, it is meant as evil from them and it will come as a very painful experience to us (in the short term) but since it is God who is above them, it comes out for our good in the final end.

In the story of Joseph (Gen 37) we find that his brothers were jealous of him because he was favoured and were angry with him because of His dreams which showed his older brothers one day serving him and bowing before him. Out of this jealousy and anger they decide to sell Joseph into slavery and tell his father Jacob, that Joseph had been killed in the field by a wild beast.

Over a period of many years (sold into slavery) and much suffering, Joseph eventually comes to the place where He is placed in a position second only to Pharaoh and basically rules all of Egypt. Joseph, through the providence and leading of God prepares for a coming famine by storing food beforehand. The famine then causes all surrounding regions to come to Egypt for rations of food. Eventually his own brothers come to Egypt (having long forgotten their younger brother), find in the end that their brother is the means of their deliverance.

Though they do not recognise Joseph (as they bow before him) Joseph recognises them. Joseph at one point is so overcome with emotion, and he quickly walks into another room and weeps, (though not in front of his brothers), nor does he let on that he is their brother.

He could take revenge but he longs for them to find blessing and eventually chooses to reveal himself. He forgives them and embraces them. He then provides for them and shows favour to them. When he reveals his identity to them they are stricken with heart pounding fear (Joseph was in the place of judgement and he certainly had not forgotten what his brothers intentions and actions had done to him)

Joseph forgives them and makes this amazing statement not denying their  earlier treachery and the intentions behind it.

Gen 50:20

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”

In this case there was mercy and redemption for even the enemies and many others as well.

In my next post I will show how God uses our enemies to deal with our own sin. The same reality applies.