Scripture: “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
Be sober minded…” (1 Pet 5:5b-8a)
Observation: What does God value the most? Humility.
Analysis: “I am proud to say I don’t have an issue with humility.”
That statement blows it all up, I should be expecting a ZAP!! from On High any moment.
Worse part is that every so often I think it. It especially comes out in me when I dare to compare myself to other people. It is very similar to the Pharisee in the Temple: “Thank you God, I am not like that guy next to me.” Whereas the tax collector beat his breast and cried out, “Be merciful to me, a sinner.”
Even when I don’t consciously know when I think it, it is there every moment of the day.
Why, though? I remind myself that it is part and parcel of the Adam-derived Rebellion gene deep in my DNA. The Serpent whispered: “Take, eat, for in eating you will be like God. Wouldn’t that be cool? You can relate to the Creator of the Universe as an equal…” God said, “No”, and Adam said, “Aw, what would it hurt to know about Good and Evil?” Adam’s pride rose up, and there we go for the last umpteen thousand years and beyond.
Pride replaced humility in Eden and now I work at being humble—not outwardly humble alone but rooting out pride wherever I find it in my heart.
Peter gives one example to work on: my relationship with others. Paul talks about it to the Philippian church: “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Phil 2:3)
There are examples all over the NT from the Pharisees, to the pharisee wanna bees; the discriminators of baptism of John vs. Jesus; gift practitioners; and all sorts of divisions, real or imagined. And I know that I either have, are, or will practice them in the future.
What is the one thing that I need to keep in mind about humility? The Gospel. And that every morning (as my wife reminded me this AM). Lam 3:21-23: “But this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning…” Why do I call this to mind? The previous verse: “My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me…” and the “it” I remember is my Sin.
Now that I wandered all over the place, so what do I do now? Goodness, that is working out my salvation with fear and trembling and submit myself under the mighty hand of God, however that works out. After all, I would rather humble myself before God because I really, really, do not want to be resisted.
Prayer: Lord, my head is bowed. While I am writing this, I am following a conference call and rolling my eyes, thinking pridefully—but having to stay on the sidelines. It is such an example of my innate pride roiling around in me. I want to serve you and you alone. You see in me how confused I get at times, straining the dividing line between being a servant and stepping into a leadership role. Ah, I relax in your rest, awaiting your direction. AMEN.