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.

Acknowledge sin, acknowledge Christ

Every gardener  knows that in order for something to grow upward it must first grow downward.  A healthy plant or tree must have a  deep  root system in order to be healthy enough to grow strong and produce fruit.

What is true of physical living things is  also true of spiritually living people. It is no accident that God created our environment to instruct us about how life works.

To plant properly you must dig deep, and  break up the ground so that the seed which is planted can grow deep roots. If you dig too shallow, the roots, when they grow will stop growing where they meet the hard layer and the root system will be hindered.

But the planting area must also be free of competing vegetation because competing vegetation or weeds will choke out the tender plant by sapping its nutrients and will also block its access to sunshine.

This applies to our Spiritual lives as well and we have a strong  directive from God in the O.T as to its spiritual application.

Jeremiah 4:3 NLT

“This is what the LORD says to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: “Plow up the hard ground of your hearts! Do not waste your good seed among thorns.

And from the New Testament we have a directive as well in the parable of the sower. In Matthew 13 Jesus begins by saying that some seed is stolen away and never germinates at all. (The Unbeliever) .

But even of the soil that received, Jesus  says to us  that the soil with no depth prevents the seedling from taking proper root and the plant dies. Thorns (uncleared ground) also choke out the seed.

So Spiritually speaking we are to be weed free and to go deep.

I think J.I Packer captures the essence of the situation in His statement,

“He that has learned to feel his sin, and to trust Christ as Savior, has learned the two hardest and greatest lessons in Christianity.”  J.I. Packer.

To  “feel our sin,”  is to throw the spade in the ground of our hearts “Hard Places”, and turn it over. It is a kind of violence really, just like breaking up tough ground, but oh so necessary.

This is the preparation for root growth. The spade must penetrate. As Dr. Packer says, its a “hard lesson”.

This activity of “feeling our sin”  is a means to an end… that we might grow upward and our upward growth happens when we see, that as bad as we are , Christ is a more than adequate Savior for us.

  But we must trust Him.

In trowing in the spade and  “feeling our sin” ,we will discover our inner motives that lead us into sin and be shocked, appalled, dismayed and depressed.  (I hope you read the puritans Like John Owen, Richard Baxter and John Bunyan)

But as we look to and trust in  our Savior, Jesus Christ, despite our knowledge of our own sinfulness, we find that in Him we are made alive, forgiven, loved and cleansed, we are given gifts and made to produce fruit.

Fresh righteousness  will appear on our branches and others will want to know our forgiving empowering Savior too!

Now let us keep growing and go and make disciples who will do the same.

 

Porn, the wretched review

  “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy”  Proverbs 27:6

There is nothing like a good, firm and sometimes even downright sarcastic correction to help put things in perspective and this is what we have from one of my favorite “corrective” Christian ministries. Wretched radio and T.V.

In the video, Todd Friel from “wretched” underscores points made by Canadian reformed blogger Tim Challies.

I am putting up a video that will give that ” faithful wound” to the heart that needs to deal with the sin of porn.  It’s not for cry babies or the willfully blind.

Ive been there done that ….no thanks.

If we call ourselves by the title of  “Christian” then we had better be running from the lust of the flesh and today more than ever Porn is invading the Church.

I have had my own struggle with it and other Christian men  have met do to.

Only in Christ will we find the strength and power to Obey by Grace.

It doesn’t matter whether you are a young man, husband, father or older,  as men we  have become the target of a devastating threat to all things that Christ calls us to.  It goes by the name Pornography and it is targeting a younger audience of viewers all the time.

Watch the video and listen.   This is a call to be united to Christ and separated from evil.

In all humility, follow Christ. Be wounded and be healed.

Is Jesus a friend of yours?

Jesus Christ, in the Gospels is shown to be a divine/ human person that unsettled others.

On the one hand He himself was a person who could never be accused of sin. By sin I am referring to a breach of any of God’s laws either in action, motive or thought. He was not like other men, ( not like us). Yet He purposely disassociated with the religious elite, the upper crust of Judaism the honoured, the self righteous. Those who looked good.

     On the other hand Jesus spent His time, energy and compassion on those who were obviously sinners; people whose sins were easily seen. People who in all actuality are like you and I. He was continually with drunks, prostitutes, swindlers, the dishonoured, the unrighteous. He befriended them and even ate in their homes eating what they prepared for Him.

  All mankind are sinners to be sure but it is the sinner who knows himself to be a sinner that is closest to the heart of God. It is he who is able to enter through the narrow gate and find the embrace of Christ.

   A dynamic that I have come across in my Christian experience is that often in the church (Which belongs to Christ) or just among other Christians we acknowledge sin as a general reality and that Christ forgives us our sins, and there it is, a sort of confession without actually confessing to anything in particular.

  But let us ask ourselves the question, “Was our last sinful action, whether a breach of Gods law in action, motive or thought some kind of hazy general thing or a specific thing?” Of course it was a specific breach a nameable offence an actual sin. Lying, coveting, lust etc. are not general but specific.

   So I pray, “ Lord help us to be real, to be honest to be broken but to have you as our Lord, savior and friend, save us Oh Lord from ourselves help us to love and uphold each other as redeemed sinners”

So what happens if a person opens the door to his or her offence?

What should happen?

There religious elite of Jesus day had within them a steadfast refusal to actually be broken. It was undignified, it was beneath the status that they loved so much. Are we like them?

Think about it….. are we like them?

   Are we so afraid if being real, of being broken? We must be ware that we don’t become like them because we will not prosper in our relationship with God if we do. We will become isolated, we will become critical and hardened.

   It was the unbroken Pharisee who would accuse Jesus of being a “ friend of sinners”. A title that fits Him perfectly!!!!

  He is my friend I hope and pray He is yours too. I am on a quest in my Christian life to seek out those like me, “actual sinners who need actual salvation” and to be open with them. He has of late been answering that prayer.

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.