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Prideful Humility

2 Corinthians 10:17-18 . But he who boasts is to boast in the Lord. For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends.

Humility (def) - a modest or low view of one's own importance. The Biblical definition of Humility is far different than Webster's Dictionary. Biblical humility means believing what God says about you over anyone else's opinion, including your own. The humility that comes from a growing relationship with Christ helps me realize who I am in Christ over who I am in the flesh and it also elevates others over me. At base level our humility as believers begins when we come to Christ as sinners and repent of it and turn our lives over to Jesus. Of course, this is the opposite of what our prideful world would feed us as individuals. That is why the Spirit has to be the change agent in all of this process. The Holy Spirit is the convicting person in our lives and He keeps everything in the position it should be in.

You may look at what humility should be and think it makes us a weak person and how can that kind of person ever do anything of worth for the Lord. Let us look at two examples of humility and see how it worked for them and us. First of all, Jesus is the supreme example of humility and scripture describes His humility in this way. Matthew 20:27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave;28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Earlier in Chapter 20 we see that James and John's mother came to Jesus and told Jesus to command that in His kingdom her two boys might sit on His right and His left in honor. Now, that was a bold statement to make to Jesus, but it is a telling statement. Telling, in that she didn't understand what her boys were called to be when following Jesus. So in verses 26 and 27 Jesus gives her the core teaching of the whole plan. Paul is the second example of true humility and He wrote this to the church in Philippi in Chapter 2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves. If you are a super competitive person you will never realize the truth of that verse and even make ways to look humble and keep your place of winning. Some examples of this is when you do something and it is better than someone else you say something like "Well, praise the Lord I did this or that." When deep inside you know, you have figured out a way to "bring light" to what you did and in sharing it make it look humble by saying "praise the lord." No, you just figured out a way to spiritually brag on yourself and I call that Prideful Humility, which is no humility at all. You may think I am "straining the nat" but to truly live a life of humility is not possible by saying Christian "sayings" to make us look more holy. Why? Because then the prideful competition is all about who can look the most holy.....when bragging? Crazy!!! We also think that looking humble is a way to show humility but those contrite facial expression get nowhere with God who sees the heart, and not just the face. C'mon. Time to be honest and get to the real stuff.

I hear very few messages about humility and in the circles I dwell in there is very little said about the subject, but it is a very important teaching in developing a heart for following Jesus. Galatians 2:20 becomes a very important life verse in this whole teaching point where it says 20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me. My position, my standing, and everything else is "crucified" with Christ. Crucifixion is the execution of a person and that execution puts our life on the back burner and Jesus up front and real in everything we say and do. I always feel a little uncomfortable with compliments when I know that Jesus was the one who did something and it wasn't me. I can turn that into an expression of thanks to the Lord before the person giving the compliment or just say thank you and let God do the rest. Sometimes my weak attempt to give God the glory through something I say gets lost in the interpretation of what just happened. If in my heart I know what just happened was a God thing He will give the right, true words that should be said. In reality if in my witness I display true humility when participating in the thing God did, most the time people will pick up on that and not even say anything. Then we will have to deal with the thought of whether what I did was good or not, when if what I did was done totally in humility or not. Which brings another teaching of Jesus into view. A teaching that is telling for all who serve Jesus. In Luke 6 Jesus said 22 Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man.23 Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets.24 But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full.25 Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.26 Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way. At this juncture I want to say "c'mon" Jesus, but I can't because that is His teaching to keep me keeping everything in perspective. To be blessed translates, to be happy, and that is why I have a problem with it. But in reality this is the life of a servant. I was telling Andra the other day "how come I end up on the butt end of things"? So in searching the scripture I found this very telling truth and it took me back to the attitude I should have anyway and the truth of Godly Humility was something I had to deal with and I have, but it is a struggle.

Prideful Humility only leads us down a path that looks very spiritual, but it is actually very much out of our flesh. It is like putting a dress on a pig and calling that pig a fashion model. It just looks wrong doesn't it? That's because it is wrong and the only way to right it is to seek God and let Him be the one who affirms us in who we are in Christ. Paul is a great picture of one following the example of Jesus and Paul said in Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.22 But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose.23 But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; So the next time we say "Lord, I give you my life" keep in mind what we are saying and what all of that means in the kingdom. It will not mean living a life with Prideful Humility. I don't care how good we seem to think we are, we are at our best when living the life of a servant. A servant who is truly humble and has executed the flesh in everything they do and follow Christ. Not much glory for us, but plenty of glory for Jesus.


The Pilgrimage Continues.....


David Warren

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