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January 21, 2004

The Path to Greatness

Psalm 18:31-36
31 For who is God, except the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God?
32 It is God who arms me with strength,
And makes my way perfect.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of deer,
And sets me on my high places.
34 He teaches my hands to make war,
So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You have also given me the shield of Your salvation;
Your right hand has held me up,
Your gentleness has made me great.
36 You enlarged my path under me,
So my feet did not slip.

Driven by a need to succeed (which is really a need for recognition, affirmation), I take success and defeat very personally. Still I am learning that just as those things do not define me, neither am I responsible for making them. My strength is a provided by God. My way has been prepared by Him. He has given me the ability not to stumble while also removing the obstacles that would cause me to falter. He has taught me how to engage in the right battles and even provides my defense. Still, these things are not the source of success.

"Your gentleness has made me great." (v.35) Away from the battlefields of my life, God nurtures me, heals my wounds, encourages and restores me. This word "gentleness" describes God's meekness and humility. Any success or "greatness" I might achieve can only be attributed to the gentle way of the Lord's working in my life. That's why John the Baptist is able to say, "He must increase, I must decrease." I join in his desire.

Lord, let Your name be great. Let me not be consumed by selfish ambition, fooled into thinking that any achievement are of my own merit,. Let my life be a witness to your gentleness.

January 30, 2004

The humble...

Psalm 25:9
The humble He guides in justice, And the humble He teaches His way
.

Everywhere I look in the Word, I'm seeing how expensive pridefulness is. It is such a arrier to communincation with God and probably the greatest cause of disobedience. It's hard to listen to God when you always think you know what is best and want to do things "my way" and not His. Prideful people cannot be led anywere. They won't even pull over and ask for directions. Prideful people's ears are closed to wisdom.

But the humble... recieve grace. The humble... are protected. They do not have to defend themselves. The humble are led by the Lord and learn His ways - he He thinks, how He works, what He wants.

Lord, as I humble myself, show me Your ways.

May 15, 2007

Satisfied

Psalm 131 (NIV)
1 My heart is not proud, O LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
2 But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
3 O Israel, put your hope in the LORD
both now and forevermore.

Once in a while, I'll eat something that "hits the spot;" a hot dog and peanuts at a baseball game, a coffee and bagel on a cold, early morning, anytime Jayme makes her strawberry shortcake. It's not just the flavor of the items, but the context, the timing of the experience.

Today's Psalm has that same feeling about it. It describes an infant being held by it's mother after being fed. I remember my own kids as newborns, crying uncontrollably in the middle of the night to be fed, gulping down that bottle, and then when finished falling peacefully to sleep in our arms - satisfied. David compares humility and dependence upon the Lord in these same terms. His (and my) own history of God's faithfulness gives him (me) hope (hope = not a wish, but the God's promise of faithfulness) in what ever circumstance. This "history" gives him control over his soul. He doesn't get hysterical or anxious. Instead, he is peaceful and still. The voices of question and concern are quieted, and he is at rest in the arms of his Father.

This state tranquility is the result of me keeping pride in check. It's the result of focusing on the things that I do have control over, not those things which I do not. It is the soul satisfied because it's hope has been placed in the promise of God's faithfulness.

God, help me to keep my pride in check, my soul at peace, and find my satisfaction in the promise of your provision and protection.

June 13, 2007

Humility or Humiliation

2 Chronicles 12:5-8 (NIV)
5 Then the prophet Shemaiah came to Rehoboam and to the leaders of Judah who had assembled in Jerusalem for fear of Shishak, and he said to them, "This is what the LORD says, 'You have abandoned me; therefore, I now abandon you to Shishak.' "
6 The leaders of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, "The LORD is just."
7 When the LORD saw that they humbled themselves, this word of the LORD came to Shemaiah: "Since they have humbled themselves, I will not destroy them but will soon give them deliverance. My wrath will not be poured out on Jerusalem through Shishak. 8 They will, however, become subject to him, so that they may learn the difference between serving me and serving the kings of other lands."

Early on in the era of the divided kingdom (Judah separating from the rest of Israel), both sides fall into a religion of self reliance. Jeroboam, in the northern kingdom (Israel), initiated idol worship motivated because of his fear of losing his power. Rehoboam, Solomon's son, allowed it in the south (Judah) because of his relative success; cites in the region became fortified, people moving south because of Jeroboam's religious "adultery," and out of loyalty to the house of David. . Despite Rehoboam's heavy hand, the region prospered. It seemed to validate his authoritarian rule. But like any man who refuses Godly council and chooses instead to secure his own position, any future success is dependent upon one's own skill and wisdom and not on the favor of God. There is a measure of success that can be self-created, but sustaining it where the problems begin. When success is self-created, spiritual complacency sets in. (g)ods of our own choosing, and eventually our own creation, replace our dependence upon the one true God. That's why the phrase "and they did what was right in thier own eyes" defines the Divided Kingdom era.

Early on, the people were still sensitive enough to know when they had violated God's relational principles (usually when they're facing some kind of hardship or attack). In this case, Egypt and invaded and had taken control of Jerusalem. At least Judah knew what they needed to do - they humbled themselves before the Lord. The Lord acknowledged their humility, but allowed them to experience the consequences of their unfaithfulness. This seems to be the pattern. Pride (self-reliance and self-sufficiency) is always followed by either humility or humiliation. Humility is realizing that you're way in over your head and you can't get yourself out. You repent, and God responds on your behalf. He still allows you to experience the consequences of your choices, without bearing the full weight of them. This experience serves as a discipline. Humiliation is what happens when you bear the full consequence of your self-dependence. This punishment is self-inflicted.

I need to be reminded of the difference between serving God and serving the other things that want to rule my life. I can choose humility or experience humiliation.


August 15, 2007

Job Description

2 Kings 3:11-12 (NIV)
But Jehoshaphat asked, "Is there no prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of the LORD through him?"
An officer of the king of Israel answered, "Elisha son of Shaphat is here. He used to pour water on the hands of Elijah."
Jehoshaphat said, "The word of the LORD is with him." So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.

There are phrases in the scripture that paint such a beautiful picture. I often overlook them because they're often subtle and get lost in the larger story. This is one of them. When the officer was asked to explain who Elisha was to the king of Judah (because Elisha was a prophet to the northern kingdom), he says, "He used to pour water on the hands of Elijah." Simply put, he said that Elisha was Elijah's personal servant. More than that, this phrase describes the intimate relationship Elisha had with Elijah and the selfless way he served him.

I wonder how I would be described as an under-shepherd. Would people describe me as "the guy who is always wanting attention" or "the platform grabber." Am I seen as out to build my own kingdom, or working to serve the interests of the man whom God has assigned me to support? I wonder sometimes if my heart and my actions and my words reflect the humility Elisha had. For it was that humility that one day released his authority.

"He used to pour water water on the hands of Elijah." On their last night together, Jesus knelt before the disciples and pored water on their feet. He said, "I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you." I've never quite known how to describe what I do at C-stone...but I now know what my primary responsibility should be: to pour water.

Lord, let my reputation be that of a servant.

About Humility

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to JustJeff | Life Journal in the Humility category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Development is the previous category.

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