weekly theme #52 True Humility*
week containing the Sunday between October 23-29
One of the best ways for me to be humbled is to be around someone better than me. I’ve looked like a fool in athletic contests, been hiked into the ground, and displayed my ignorance on many a test. However, the ultimate humbling will be to stand before the LORD. What have I ever done or said that will impress the LORD? Thankfully, he doesn’t seek my greatness he seeks my worship. Worship is a form of humility because it places me in the position of a servant. Worship declares that I am not the ruler of myself. Worship yanks from under me any platform for self-praise or boasting. All praise belongs to God.
When I say I’m proud of an accomplishment, I’m most likely just proud of myself. When I reflect back on accomplishments, I am tempted to reside there and bask in my past. However, if I look back as an act of worship to God’s work, work that he allowed me to be a part of, it can inspire me to be ready for the next serving opportunity God has prepares.
I can be a Christian leader and still not be humble. Loud boasting or obvious acts of selfishness are not required to be self-focused. I see more subtle evidence in my own life: impatience, defensiveness*, judging other’s motives, concern about being used while serving, and mentally ranking the worth of people. The most damning evidence of my self-focus is when I receive an instruction from God and respond with “Yes, but I don’t think…” I’m sure there are other signs of selfishness in my life that I can’t even see – but you can.
For me, humility takes intentional effort, and I’m not sure it will ever come naturally. I guess the first step is seeing the problem. The next step is asking God to create a desire in me for humility. The courage to continue in humility, even when it’s humiliating – that’s a gift from God, too.
*thoughts on “defensiveness” as a sign of self-focus – I live in the tension of two conditions. God created me from dust, I am a chronic sinner, and I am mortal flesh. However, I am also a beloved child of God, I am cleansed of sin by Jesus, and I am an immortal soul. If I fail to embrace both sides of this coin, if I see myself only as one or the other, I can end up self-absorbed. That self-absorption can be revealed by arrogant boasting or by defensive insecurity and neither is God’s desire. Paul identified himself to Timothy as an apostle as well as the worst of all sinners. Paul described similar extremes for Jesus in Philippians 2:6-7. I believe remembering those extremes allowed Paul to be so usable by God. Lack of knowing who I am and lack of confidence that God can accept me as I am creates unsure footing for walking the path of service.
*A Guide To Prayer by Job and Shawchuck provided the scripture references and readings that inspired these reflections. I found this devotional to be the most heart changing of any I’ve used. It truly lives up to its title.