March 25, 2011 “Humility, A friend with Benefits”

Have you ever been surprised to find yourself thanking God for something?  Maybe it was with a sigh, you breathed, “Thank you God I’m not feeling well today so I can sleep.”  But what about a time you were thankful for a great loss, or heart-break?

I found myself thanking God for breaking my life and heart over the hard edge of exhaustion and depression – a prayer I only paid lip service to until now. “Thank you Jesus for humbling me.”

The picture of humility as a friend with benefits swarmed my imagination this morning.  I was reading along with Beth Moore in “Breaking Free” on the topic of pride when she asked,

“Do you see pride as an enemy?”

Pride extinguishes and destroys our journey to freedom in Christ. It is evil (Prov 8:13), it leads us to shame (Prov 11:2), conflict (Prov 13:10) and destruction (Prov 16:18) yet all the while, pride covers its face, claiming friendship, security and blessing. Pride says, “I am strong, and untouchable.”  It teaches you to have secrets, to hide weakness, to take no counsel, to cover up the past and deny there are problems. Pride deceives you (Obadiah 1:3).

Do you view pride as a vicious enemy?

What about humility? Beth asked,

“Do you view humility as a friend?”

“Often our society reviles biblical humility as a sign of weakness. Nothing could be further from the truth.  Being filled with pride is easy. It comes naturally.  Humility takes a supply of supernatural strength that comes only to those who are strong enough to admit weaknesses.”1

When I think back over the last three years, I am beginning to see the many benefits of such a painful experience.  In the darkest days, my only thought was, “I can do nothing”.  Nothing like the reality of complete inability to make you wrestle with a truth you may have paid lip service to for years, “God does not require your strength or service, He loves you”, but that is a reflection for another time.  Today’s pondering exposed how this experience taught me to humble myself before other people. The way it taught me to say, “I have nothing to give”, “I am hurting”, “I am lonely”, and “I need help”.

It is true, you can not know the sweetness of grace unless you need it.

Humility before one another, and before God brings the sweet fruit of grace.  And in that way, humility is a true friend. Humility ushers in grace in heaps.

These are the benefits I found myself rejoicing in today as examined my friend humility:

  • acceptance
  • warmth
  • care and concern
  • trust
  • freedom from performance
  • wise counsel
  • soulful connection
  • love
  • liberating grace

And that is a true friend.  A friend, who surprized me today, when I honesty prayed, “Thank you Jesus for humbling me.”

What has been your experience with the destructive and deceiving nature of pride or with the sharp but gentle friend named humility?

1. Beth Moore, Breaking Free. “Week Three: The Obstacle of Pride”

September 16, 2010 “Revival”

A couple of weeks ago at Rexdale, Sunder shared a message entitled, Jesus the Spirit Baptizer. It was to take us firm in hand and shake us.  We need the Spirit, “for when the Spirit comes, He redefines normal”.  When I read the following quote in my devotional book this morning I was reminded of the sermon.  Perhaps they will be an encouragement to you.

Are you satisfied with the condition of the Church? Are you satisfied with your own condition? You, who believe the truth, you who are evangelical, you who are not a liberal in your theology. That is good, but is that enough? What is our spiritual state and condition in reality? How do we feel when we read the experiences of those apostles, the Apostle Paul and others? Can we say honestly, with him, that we are in a kind of sate of tension, saying That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings… not as though I had already attained… forgetting those things which are behind… I press toward (Philippians 3:10-14)? Do you feel the tension, the concern, the stretching, the pressing on? How much do we know of that? Can we honestly say that we rejoice in the Lord Jesus Christ with a joy unspeakable and full of glory? Can we say with Paul that to us to live is Christ, and to die is gain? That we might be with Christ; which is far better…. Now these are the ways in which we are to test ourselves. There is no hope for true prayer and intercession for revival unless we realize that there is a need. Is all well with us? Can we be satisfied? Can we sit back and fold our arms and say “Things are going marvelously, look at the reports.” Are we like the Israelites at this point, or are we like the Laodiceans saying that we are rich, that we have abundance, that all is well with us, and failing to realize that we are poor and wretched and blind? May God give us grace to examine ourselves, and be honest with ourselves…. My dear friends, the first step is that you and I have to realize these things. We have to be pulled up by them, to begin to think about them, to become concerned about them and have a deep awareness of the position as it is.

Revival by D. Martin Lloyd-Jones, copyright 1987, pages 154-155. Good News Publishers.