Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Avoiding the Fall

Humility is not a virtue highly rated in our current society. We are counseled to be assertive and stand up for ourselves. And humility has become subject to a number of different stereotypes. But what is true humility? Humility is not seeing ourselves as totally worthless and useless. Now it is true we are sinners who can only be saved by the pure gift of God (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:21-26; Ephesians 2:8,9). But once saved we are declared righteous before God and become His children (Romans 8:31-39; John 1;12,13; 1 John 3:1-3). Also, God sends His Spirit to work in us to change us (2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 2:13; Ephesians 2:10). Further, He uses us to carry out His work in the world (2 Corinthians 3:5,6; Colossians 1:29; 1 Corinthians 3:6,7). But all these things originate from God, and we cannot take credit for them.

This is a thin line to walk. It is very easy to start being proud of the things God has given us and even start to believe we have earned them or deserve them. Often this can happen slowly, in the back of our mind, without our clearly thinking about it. This pride can be very destructive (Proverbs 16:18; 13:10; 1 John 2:16,17). It results in complacency if we convince ourselves we have really attained it or discouragement and even depression if something happens to show us we have not. But the solution is not to convince ourselves that we are worthless and have nothing to contribute, but to have confidence that God is at work in us to accomplish His purposes (Philippians 1:6; 3:12-16; 2 Corinthians 2:14). Also, we are an important part of something bigger than ourselves, not because of who we are, but because of what God has made us (Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:12-26; Ephesians 4:11-16). For the real issue in true humility is not how important we are or how worthless we are, but how we can love God and other people (Matthew 22:36-40; 1 Corinthians 13:1-7; Philippians 2:3-11). For the true goal of humility is not self-assertion or self-denigration, but self-forgetfulness. It is where we are no longer focusing on ourselves, but on the needs of others. And this can only happen when we understand the security of who we are in Christ (John 10:27-30; 1 Peter 1:3-5; Ephesians 1:3-12) and live our life based not on our ability, but on trust in Him (Proverbs 3:5,6; Psalms 127:1,2; Isaiah 40:31). I do not want in any way to claim that I have attained to this. But it is important to know the direction you are going if you want to arrive there.  

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