I Peter 5:6-9 (NLT)
So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are.
Made a visit to the eye doctor the other day with my daughter who had been complaining that she could not see, well she was right and now is the proud owner of adorable spectacles. As I often do, I decided to go ahead and schedule my annual check-up (about five years overdue) at the same time to make the most of missed work and ridiculous gas prices. I know that my vision has deteriorated as my arms are no longer long enough to make out the words on a page thanks to the additional birthdays I have been experiencing. So rather than a visit to the eye doctor, I have self-prescribed readers from the local department store so when my arms grow shorter I can pick up in increased strength and keep on my merry way. All this changed when the doctor handed me the little eye paddle and said, “Okay sweetie, cover that left eye.” I couldn’t see near or far at that point. Now I was not only farsighted thanks to age but nearsighted in my right eye to the point of complete blurriness. Why hadn’t I noticed the problem before? Probably because my poor left eye was doing all the work, so now I am also the proud owner of some new glasses with strict instructions to wear them all the time. What’s the point of this true story? As believers, we sometimes limit our life to annual inspections of our vision rather than allowing Christ to open our blind eyes every day. We begin to listen to other things rather than the Voice of His Spirit and become deaf to the truth once more. I realized there was a problem with my vision when I could no longer read things without squinting and straining because the words became unclear. It became all too evident when my mind would fill in the blank with what it thought I was reading only to find out midway through when I found my glasses that I had done something all wrong. Presbyopia (farsightedness) often comes with age. Distant objects seem clear but things become blurry close up. Now I have lost some clarity in the distance as well that requires correction. All of this in the natural brings me to the spiritual as I try to make sense out of our life – today.
I will not bore you with the details of our life as of the last few years. But I will give a brief summary for those who do not know us – the primary objective of our family has been our son’s battle against cancer. He has been in this fight for almost three years. Engaged in this battle are a father, mother, a brother and three sisters who each have lives and responsibilities that are impacted by their love and support of their brother. Our friends and coworkers have risen to the occasion, as well as countless other folks who have been there for our family. This event has caused us to release many things that we once thought important to fully embrace our faith and hope in the Lord which seems to be the only thing that is truly reliable in this fight. This year we have battled our insurance company and healthcare providers as they do not want to cover the next step of treatment deemed preventative as three relapses in less than two years is apparently not a good thing – but God has sustained our son miraculously throughout each bout. He is definitely a prize fighter with great support! This burden is much too heavy for any human being so we have had to really learn to trust the Lord. The journey has been too long to make it without patient endurance. So many times we would have given up if not for confident hope and faith in God. Yet still I am frustrated to discover that I am so easily led astray by an adversary so cunning that he will prey even on the weak and helpless just to crush their spirit and steal their soul. Somehow or some way, I have drifted from my position. I am not living humbled under the mighty power of God. I must return to this place called humility. I am asking the Lord to open my eyes and clean out my ears so I can see clearly His Way because I have wandered off my way again.
Isaiah 58:4-8 (NLT)
What good is fasting when you keep on fighting and quarreling? This kind of fasting will never get you anywhere with me. You humble yourselves by going through the motions of penance, bowing your heads like reeds bending in the wind. You dress in burlap and cover yourselves with ashes. Is this what you call fasting? Do you really think this will please the LORD? “No, this is the kind of fasting I want: Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them and do not hide from relatives who need your help. Then your salvation will come like the dawn and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward and the glory of the LORD will protect you from behind.
Some of you reading this today should probably stop now because this is bound to be a sharp and cutting word which the Lord has directed at me. My hand is not pointing but lifted in surrender to the Lord. I believe in fasting – but have stopped fasting my life. When I first heard of “fasting” I began giving certain foods and then activities until now food is no longer an issue nor is giving up my time to spend it with Him. But a humbled life is a fasted life, you can never run out of things to give up for the Lord until you have nothing left to give but have given Him your all. Instead, we fast religiously giving up something we have to obtain something from His Hand. We must get past the Hand of God to His Heart. As I think of the whole keep knocking thing, I wonder if we have missed the point altogether. (Matthew 7:7) Maybe the point of knocking is not like Halloween or trick-or-treating, could it be that asking, seeking and knocking is to move deeper into the Presence of God rather than waiting for a handout? I think that it is. I am so very tired of hearing the prosperity message. It is taught in every single church that I have ever attended in varying measures whether taught from a perspective of love or religiosity. We have missed the point altogether. Humility is the same attitude of Jesus Christ. It means to be will filled with all power and authority but willingly give it all up to answer the High Calling of God for us His Children. It is time to stop asking God for stuff and to do something with the “stuff” we have and the “stuff” we are made of!
Matthew 18:1-4 (NLT)
About that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?” Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Again let me just say, people this is for me today. If you find yourself in these words, it is on you and the Holy Spirit because I am struggling just to get through it. Unless you turn from sin and become like little children – you will never make it into the Kingdom. That is right on point. Jesus is laying it down for His Disciples because they are all grown-ups. Humility does not come naturally or easily to human beings because it is completely contrary to our sinful nature and human flesh. Think about it. We start out helpless infants, but then we learn to rollover, crawl and then walk. We are constantly working toward independence and supremacy. What child has not uttered, “I do it myself”? We insist on control and taking charge of our own life which is the only thing that we truly have that belongs to us. Even that was a gift from the Lord with the option of choosing how we will live and what we will do with it. Jesus called a little child to him. The child came to Jesus. This is so basic but dramatically illustrates the life of the humble. We must come to God as His Children. When I called my children home for dinner, they would come and were fed. When I tucked them in bed at night, they were safe in the shelter of our home. When they were frightened and ended up in our bed, we held them close until fear was gone. This is the image of what God promises the humble. To this day, if our children are in need they just need to come home. They have access to it even when we are not here. They have a right to it as our children. They love and respect us because we are here for them. But as believers we demand things of God without living as His Children and then become filled with frustration when we do not get what we want when we want it. My youngest daughter would eat junk food from the time she got up until she fell into a sugar coma each night. But I guide her food choices and provide good options for her to form a healthy diet and strong body, God does this for us but gives us a free will to decide if the humble life is for us or not.
Matthew 23:11-12 (NLT)
The greatest among you must be a servant. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Jesus Christ has all Power and Authority given to Him by God, the Father. When He came to this earth, He made the conscious choice to become a living sacrifice. God asked it of Him but did not make Him to do it. Jesus did it willingly, thus humbling His Life for all mankind. Now to do so, He did not forsake His Power and Authority but knowing He had it decided to live as a servant anyway. You have the Power of the Living God inside of you – He is called the Holy Spirit. As a child of God – you have an earthly and heavenly inheritance. You will never unlock the full potential of prosperity until you become humble. Such a person will reach out to give to others rather than to take from the Kingdom. A humble hand is open not thrust out to grab and snatch. Without the Spirit of God which represents Jesus Christ inside of me, I am absolutely and completely a worthless human being breathing to die. Such a realization should provoke a tremendous amount of dedication to the One who has given me life, but too many times we miss the point and do not act as gracious children but spoiled brats. The sense of entitlement in my own life is only a taste of that which has overtaken the Body of Christ – we want everything else but fail to seek more of Jesus. The benefits of humility are great. God rescues the humble. (Psalm 138:6-7) God leads the humble and they are willing to go. (Psalm25:8-10) God opens the eyes and ears of the humble and they see Him. (Psalm146:5-8) God supports the humble. (Psalm 147:5-6) The humble do not work for His Blessing, but serve Him out of love. (Isaiah 66:1-2) God gives more and more grace to the humble people. (Proverbs 3:34) God makes the humble victorious. (Psalm 149:3-5) My life is worth nothing unless humbled to the Lord. I can do nothing with all the pieces but God makes a masterpiece out of it. The problem is when I allow my vision to become blurred, my ears to close, my feet to wander and my heart to follow. They carry me away from the High Calling of Christ to seek the things of this world.
Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT)
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
What brought me to this place of painful revelation? I was tired. I was sick and tired. I was weary in well doing. Overwrought. Overwhelmed. Overtired. Done. Poke me with a fork kind of done. I am embarrassed by the tirade that my husband had to endure but thankful that he knows my heart. God’s given him the grace and mercy to put up with me when I meltdown and yesterday’s was epic. But then this morning new mercy found me when I woke up and as if in an audible voice the Lord asking, “You feeling any better yet?” When you decide to give your life to the Lord, He is amazing. His Grace is overwhelming. Even in our unjustified bitterness, He grabs hold of us pulling us toward God’s Purpose and Fulfillment for our life. (Ezekiel 3:14) When we are weary and tired from trying to do God’s Job, the Lord still offers to give our stubborn “self” rest. I am embarrassed by my harsh words and overbearing spirit from the day before but the Lord loves honesty so He will take them and use them to guide me and teach me to be more humble and serve Him more. They will never be a sore subject or something to cram back down my throat. The Lord says, “Let me teach you!” Jesus is humble and gentle at heart and He wants to “give us” rest. He is not asking us to humble ourselves because He is proud and deserving but because the Lord has a better, less treacherous, less strenuous way led by love, joy and peace. We are pounding on His Door asking for things, demanding answers, looking for a way out and/or asserting our providential rights the way we see fit like the prodigal son who was lost, but He opens it and simply says, “Come in!” Like the son who was lost who found his way back home, it is in this humble revelation that I find I have everything that I need. I have Jesus.
Ephesians 4:1-4 (NLT)
Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.
I had lost my sight but now I have clear vision. My glasses that I ordered have not come in yet so physically I am still challenged. But God’s Spirit has revealed what I could not see before, I have all that I need. I have all that I desire. If I find my way back in the Presence of God and live by His Spirit, I will not be found wandering again. I must humble myself as a servant looking for ways to serve Him more. I do that in lifting my hands as a surrender to the Lord rather than reaching up and trying to grab what He is saving for me. I must look for ways to give my life away so He will fill me overflowing with the new life that He has promised. Prosperity begins in my soul before it is ever discovered in life. Until my soul is full of faith and confident hope in the One who I adore, I will have nothing of worth in this life and miss out on the Calling of my Father to His Child. Children find all they need when answer the call to come home and I will, too. I have a glorious hope and a great future no matter how things look today! Lord, let me never lose sight of that High Calling, Future and Hope ever again. When I do, please Lord please, let your Holy Spirit open my eyes and ears while leading me back if I am bitter. All I need is you Jesus – let me have the same attitude that you did!
Philippians 2:3-8 (NLT)
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.