Pride and Humility

March 31, 2014

Pride and Humility

Zephaniah 3:11-13
In that day shalt thou not be ashamed for all thy doings, wherein thou hast transgressed against me: for then I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain. I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD. The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make [them] afraid.

Pride is the arrogance of man usurping the place of God. Psalms 10:4 says, “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek [after God]: God [is] not in all his thoughts.” What is the place of God in our lives? Isn’t it to be in every pattern of thinking, demonstrated in our motives and revealed in our actions? Every place in our lives that we rob and exclude from God becomes a place of pride. Pride is our self -exaltation over the will and mind of God. Sometimes we have taken pride to the other extreme of being self-abasing. Declaring how worthless and evil we are and how we don’t deserve God for He could never love someone like me. We have declared God a liar because we have taken upon ourselves such condemnation that we refuse the goodness, forgiveness and reconciliation through Christ.
Humility and meekness, the counter parts of pride, simply places our heavenly Father in the place of Lordship in all areas of our lives. If we are gifted or blessed above others in areas it is a place where God is to be exalted, not us. I think of Jesus and the potential power He had resident within Him. How destructive He could have been if He had ever let pride have place in His life. In His meekness, He was strength under control and in submission to His Father. He never had to exalt Himself for the Father affirmed and exalted Him. In His greatness He became lowly and showed himself to be the servant of men. He was not lofty and condescending even to sinners, but gently got underneath them and lifted them up in His love and truth.
The “afflicted and poor people” referred to in this scripture from Zephaniah carries the connotation that these were people who constantly saw their need and weakness outside of the Lord. They were people not so much outwardly poor and afflicted, but it spoke more of the condition of their hearts, much like Jesus addressed in the beatitudes of Matthew 5. It is an attitude that the Lord you are everything: every provision, every strength, every direction and purpose, every ability I have or can have is found in You. Without you Lord I am poor and afflicted in my own state of being.
Pride will always turn away the face of God, but humility and meekness are an open invitation to His presence. It is the condition of our heart that allows Him to be God in us and to be all that we need to be in Him. It allows Him to have His expression of love and grace through us, because we are not in the way to mire it up. This is the state of the God’s true flock and the sheep of His pasture. They know the Shepherd and are totally reliant upon Him. Thus He cares for them and makes them to lie down in His green pastures of rest. Their confidence is in their God and in Him alone.

Blessings,
#kent

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Longsuffering

January 31, 2014

 

Longsuffering


Ephesians 4:1-3

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that you walk worthy of the vocation wherewith you are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 

 Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 

 

Longsuffering, patience, forbearance are all attributes of our heavenly Father and those that are to be a part of our nature and behavior as we walk in the Spirit.  Many of us might have to admit that longsuffering and patience is not one of our stronger areas.  We have goals, agendas, deadlines and most of us are in the rat race of moving a hundred miles an hour through life trying to get as effectively and quickly from one point to the next in the shortest amount of time.  Time is a commodity that is precious to us.  There never seems to be enough of it.  We are usually rushing from the time our feet hit the floor until, exhausted, we fall into bed.  Invariably in our race through life there are the slow pokes, the obstacles, the things that don’t go right, the obstructions to what we have our eyes fixed on as our next destination.  Those are the things that raise our blood pressure, push our buttons and often cause us to get very irritable and impatient. Without realizing it we want everyone to be patient with us when we take our slow sweet time, or impede the procession of life in some way, but we have a hard time dealing with being on the other end.  All of these objectives we have and time crunches we are in make it very hard for us to be patient and longsuffering.  The human element and personalities of others often just drive us up the wall, because they aren’t meeting our expectations.   

We can even see the frustration of God’s heart when He deals with us time after time, after time with areas of our lives and we don’t seem to want to change or lay hold of it.  We read the rebukes of Jesus sometimes, even with the disciples, because what should be plain, they don’t get.  Yet Jesus doesn’t scream and shout, throw up His hands and walk away, He forbears with them.  All of us are aware in dealing with the dynamics of human relationships we can all become frustrated, which can lead to impatience and anger.  Then we end up acting and saying things that latter we feel like a horse’s rear end for having done.  

Think about Sunday morning, you’re trying to get ready and get to church on time, but somebody is in slow mode.  You hate walking in after things have already started, but its looking like you are going to be late again.  Frustration is building, you continue to ask if they are about ready, the other person begins to get irritated with your irritation and impatience, words start to be exchanged and before you know it war has broken out.  The trip to church is an exchange of angry words, frustrations and by the time you arrive, you at your spiritual best.  

The enemy is at work to always rob our peace and rest in Christ.  Sometimes our longsuffering is brought about through a lot of prayer and tongue biting.  The flesh, emotions and feelings are often hard to contain and maintain.  Isn’t it wonderful that we get so many opportunities to practice?  Most all of us struggle in these areas, but we must always be reminded that our position is that of the servant and putting others before ourselves.  It is often these surface issues of impatience that cause us to miss the deeper needs of people and how God would have us to minister to them.  We always have to remind ourselves that God’s business is our priority and not our own.  Sometimes I think God puts obstacles in our way to force us to slow down.  I’m convicted that I don’t want to become and be like God’s people of old, “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and [their] ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with [their] eyes, and hear with [their] ears, and should understand with [their] heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them (Matthew 13:15).”  Where would you and I be today without the longsuffering of our Father?  We wouldn’t even exist.    

Sometimes the one I get most impatient with is myself, for all the stupid mistakes I make and all of the things I forget, but then, if it does nothing else, it should serve to give me patience and longsuffering with others; being as forbearing with them as I must be with myself.  As the Australian’s say, “ No worries mate.”  Let’s slow done and be aware of how God wants to move in us and though us, even in those often frustrating times and events that touch our lives.  We are learning to be His expression and that can only come through longsuffering and patience.

 
Blessings,
kent

To Walk Worthy of Your Calling

September 16, 2013

To Walk Worthy of Your Calling

Ephesians 4:1-3
1I THEREFORE, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to and beg you to walk (lead a life) worthy of the [divine] calling to which you have been called [with behavior that is a credit to the summons to God’s service, 2Living as becomes you] with complete lowliness of mind (humility) and meekness (unselfishness, gentleness, mildness), with patience, bearing with one another and making allowances because you love one another. 3Be eager and strive earnestly to guard and keep the harmony and oneness of [and produced by] the Spirit in the binding power of peace.

Does this scripture describe and define our personal walk with Christ today? The Word of God is often a series of little measuring sticks by which we can evaluate our life, along with its strengths and weaknesses. Here Paul is exhorting us to walk worthy of our calling. Along with this calling there seems to be a frame and attitude of mind that should be characteristic of the walk. It is the attitude of humility and servanthood. It is not looking at self and thinking, “What a great Christian am I.” It doesn’t boast itself or look with contempt and disdain upon others. In this frame of mind we fully acknowledge the grace of God working toward us and as we yield to the Spirit, we see it working through us. We see that to walk worthy of our calling it is about service and serving one another. The only one that we see lifted up and glorified is Jesus Christ and our lives are committed to this purpose, that Christ alone is the One that we boast and exalt in, not ourselves.
When we speak of ministry, we speak of service and the commitment each of has to serve the other. We can see through this that all of us have a calling to the ministry, to walk worthy of our calling in serving the body of Christ with all humility and lowliness. If we are of one mind in this then no one is trying to usurp another’s authority or put someone else down. Our whole function is to lift and build one another up.
Ants are amazing creatures to watch. They labor with amazing tirelessness and I’ve never seen an ant strive or fight with one of its own colony. Each ant functions with total commitment for the good of the whole. Each one has their function and role that they play. Each one is a necessary part of what the whole is made up of. It seems like a good example of what we should be about. Everything is centered around the queen who is producing the life to perpetuate the colony. All that we are about is what furthers the kingdom of God and perpetuates His life.
All of us can be irritating and annoying at times. We can rub each other the wrong way, but it is the grace that works in us and God’s rich love that lifts us beyond focus of faultfinding. Rather we look at how we might minister to one another’s needs so that we might make each other more complete in Christ. The process of unity doesn’t come without trials and challenges, but it can come as each of us keeps our focus on walking worthy of our calling, humbling ourselves as we lift up others and forgiving one another of our wrongs.
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another (John 13:35).”

blessings,
kent

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