Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Top 10 Things Every Christian Should Know #5

Number 5- "Humility Is Essential"

"Humility is a virtue so beyond my understanding that should I achieve it, I would be proud of myself" - Benjamin Franklin

Someone once defined a prideful person as "..someone who spends too much time thinking about themselves and not enough time thinking about me." Andrew Murray put it another way, "Humility is not thinking less of myself, it is not thinking of myself at all."

God has a lot to say about pride, and as I go through my life I have seen the wisdom of these words played out numerous times.

"God opposes the proud, but gives Grace to the humble."
- (Proverbs 3:34)

This verse speaks volumes, doesn't it? We are handed a simple choice; To humble ourselves and receive Grace, or to continue in our pride and have the creator of the Universe oppose us. Sadly, my own pride has often been the catalyst in my life for failure, bad judgement and hurt feelings. I have learned to hate my pride and to keep a close eye on it, just in case it tries to rise up and do something stupid.

When Jesus went out and spoke to the people of his day, he centered his teaching on something called "The Kingdom of God". He told stories to illustrate what life was like in this Kingdom. He used everyday moments to point out Kingdom values. Jesus was almost always teaching his disciples, and anyone else in earshot, what the Kingdom of God was all about.

One interesting thing about the Kingdom of God is that to enter it you must first humble yourself, (see Mark 10:14-15). That's because the Kingdom of God is quite simply that place where the absolute will of God is done. This means that God is King, and that you and I are not. So, if we will not humble ourselves and submit to God's will in every way, we cannot enter the Kingdom. Better said, when we refuse to humble ourselves, we have left the Kingdom of God and entered our own Kingdom, where our will is done.

This is why Jesus says, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."(Luke 9:23) Jesus isn't being mean here. He's not saying, "If you don't jump through this hoop I will not allow you to join my club." What he's saying here is more like, "If you can't swim, you will not be allowed to work as a lifeguard at the pool." Jesus is simply pointing out that someone who is unwilling to let go of their agenda, their will for their life, cannot follow him. It can't be done without humility and submission.

Even Jesus began his ministry by humbling himself to become flesh, to be born to a simple, poor family, and even to lay down his life for us all. (see Phil 2:5-8) See, God went first. He humbled Himself before us. He submitted Himself to us first, and even when we were putting nails through His hands and feet, He continued to surrender to us in order to rescue us from our sins.

Now, Jesus asks us who are called by His name to humble ourselves. We are expected to look at Jesus as our blueprint for life in the Kingdom of God and become obedient to God, even to the point of death as we carry our own crosses daily.

I believe that is why Jesus set the example of washing his disciples feet. He humbled himself before them, served them as a slave would serve his master, and then said, "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you...Now that you know these things, you will blessed if you do them." (John 13:15;17)

That's the key ladies and gentlemen. We are blessed when we do these things. Not when we "know" these things, but when we "do" these things. That is when the blessing comes. Humility isn't just a good idea, it's a pattern of life for those who desire to place their feet into those prints left in the sand just ahead of us by a carpenter from Nazareth.

"He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)


1 comment:

ERuss said...

Hi Keith, my family and I are preparing to start a simple church. We live here in Irvine and would like to connect with you. My email is God bless. Russ