Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Humility in Christ
Prov.15:32-33 - He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.
33 The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.
I Pet.5:5- …Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
ne of the foundations of the Christian life, and one of the most neglected issues, is humility. The church by and large has lost any Scriptural vision of humility, and for all intensive purposes the church now practices anything but humility. Being planted in a culture of self elevation we have slowly but surely been assimilated. In fact, many movements including the prosperity teaching, Schuler’s self esteem, Joel Osteen’s fleshly nonsense, and many other teachings teach the exact opposite from what the New Testament and the life of Jesus reveal.
And these self serving distortions come from men who claim to believe in the grace of God. How can anyone who understands even a particle of God’s grace ever project anything else but abject humility? But even more amazing is how can they teach self esteem and pride while claiming to believe the Bible? Not one of us exhibits pure humility, but if that is not taught as our direction than self righteousness in all sorts of forms is guaranteed. But the church by and large is not interested in learning humility and walking out that journey.
Humility in the west is seen as weakness and is reserved for Gandhi and Rev. King, but not for the average believer. And because Jesus was God in the likeness of sinful flesh He seems to be an object of study but not of emulation. We desire to know the power of His resurrection but not the fellowship of His sufferings. We want miracles without spit running down our face. We want a crown of gold but not a crown of thorns. It is evident we have lost sight of the life of the Lord Jesus.
Godly humility is much deeper than allowing a car to go before you in line. It is much more than self deprecation. It goes much deeper than just being meek. Humility of the Christ brand is a painful denial of self and a constant awareness that your entire life belongs to God. To say that is a challenge in this culture is to dramatically underestimate that challenge. And to be sure that challenge is a command and should indispensable to a Christ reflecting walk.
I am appalled at how the church has allowed itself to adopt all kinds of self righteousness. I have gone by many Christian schools that loudly proclaim to be “training champions”. Champions? Really? The only time the word champion appears in the Bible is as it refers to Goliath. We are servants, not champions. I saw a sign on the lawn of another Christian school that claimed they were voted the best Christian school in the county for 2011. Another one said, “Still praying in the classroom!” So even a formal prayer is a source of boasting?
The lack of humility leads to all kinds of spiritual mischief. Prayerlessness, greed, judgment, unforgiveness, pride, competition, and even such things as hatred and mental murder are a direct result of a lack of humility. Why do I feel such a spirit of humility when I have spoken to Haitian, African, Russian, and many other believers? And where is that spirit in us western believers?
We have lost sight of a Holy God and we only want to portray Him as a divine Facebook friend who chats with us about anything. But most believers visit Facebook more often then they find themselves in deep and serious prayer with the Father of Lights. And when we lose a revelation of the Risen Christ, we begin to create a mental revelation of ourselves which is inflated and incongruent with who we really are. Being a child of God doesn’t mean we are arrogant.
Having Christ as our older brother in no way releases us to judge everyone else. Having the Holy Spirit in us should guide and mold us not anoint us to fix everyone else. The path that leads to the Holy of Holies is a path of incredible humility and brokenness. This new Christianity that boasts of itself and treats God like a divine genie is an affront to all we know about our Master. Without humility, we are living a lie.
Moses was the meekest man on earth. Paul said he was the least of all the apostles. Humility is the active agent in prayer, witnessing, and in the Christian walk. We must seek it, cultivate it, and do personal sentry duty to watch out for the cleverness of the flesh that lifts up imaginations that are against the knowledge of Christ.
II Cor.10:3-5 - For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
very single particle of pride is an enemy of Christ. If He relinquished His rights why do we demand ours? If He placed Himself in the hands of wicked men why do we castigate lost sinners? If He was willing to die for us why are we not willing to die to ourselves? There is a divine power in humility that cannot be tapped into by any other route. It is not just a command to humble ourselves under His mighty hand, it is a privilege.
A lost man named Gandhi changed an entire nation through humility and nonviolence, and yet God’s own people continue to believe that ego and violence are part of God’s approved arsenal. Oh if we could only believe these words:
Matt.16:24-26 - Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Mk.8:35 - For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.
Lk.9:23-24 - And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.
Jn.12:25-26 -He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.
ook! All four gospels compel us to lose our lives and find His! Do we doubt those words? What kind of followers hear those words and yet do the exact opposite? And for those of us who speak correction and rebuke to the western church, we have a very great challenge. We are most susceptible to pride and we must endeavor with great passion to remain humble. I speak for every true minister that discerns such things, we battle as well. Self righteousness attempts to grow every single day, but we must bear witness that we are imperfect vessels and walk in grace and are in need of God’s forgiveness every single day.
Do not think that humility is a low hanging fruit that is easily plucked. It is most difficult to clutch true humility to our hearts. Pride is a clever sin which comes in many clandestine forms. Believers can be prideful about their doctrine; believers can be prideful about their intellect; believers can be prideful about their knowledge of Hebrew and Greek; believers can be prideful about their discernment; and in stunning display of how treacherous sin is, believers can become prideful about their humility. Amazing.
But there is a humility which pleases God and empowers any believer willing to deny himself and embrace his cross. These words are not just poetic metaphors. This is the Christian life already trod by nail pierced feet. Let those who have ears hear what the Spirit is saying in these days of spiritual lethargy and carnal indulgence. Jesus is coming with vengeance and great power, but until that day we are called to be His voice. And grace is still His voice. And that voice must emanate from a life that is selfless and broken before Him and the entire world.
Like Noah we must be filled with compassion for those who are without while the ark remains open. Our lives are secure with God in Christ. This world cannot add nor subtract to what God has given to us by the sacrifice of His Dear Son. If we die today we die in His redemptive fullness. But those who walk in darkness need the gospel message and they need to see vessels of light who require nothing for themselves but through much prayer and many tears beseech them to open their hearts to Him who alone has the power to save.
Lord, crucify us so that Your life may resurrect within us and shine Your everlasting gospel through our lips and our lives. We hate our flesh and we have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. We must decrease but He must increase. God forbid we offer unto You that which cost us nothing. Take us, Lord, and use us for Your glory alone.


YancE said...

Wow. That's real, I ponder on how true humility is shown everyday, still something I'm trying to master!
Thank you.

Richard Ludwigson Jr said...

Thank you for sharing what God is putting on your heart. It is definitely needed by all of us here in the fallen world.