isn’t it ironic…
So… I’m writing this book. It’s about my story, but it’s also about what I have learned, and what can be done to avoid making the same mistakes I made. If you haven’t heard my story, read my post titled: “scars.”
To write the book, I have been poring over scripture like a madwoman, researching until my brain is fried (Between you and me, my brain gets fried remarkably fast these days. I definitely have “mom brain.” It’s super frustrating).
This crazy thing happened though, as I began to study the bible for more than an hour a day. It brought me back to life. It filled me up. It changed my whole countenance. It showed me where my weak areas were. It gave me a deep awe and appreciation for God’s love. It softened my hard edges. It made me a bit radical. Ok, a lot radical.
I was just trying to find support for my book and instead I was completely changed by what I read. #winning
The other benefit is that I found patterns in scripture; themes that run through the entire bible that I hadn’t noticed before. One in particular has become my battle cry.
It’s not a word that is used or valued very much in our culture.
It’s not something that many aspire too.
In fact, there is absolutely nothing glamorous about it.
I talk about it often so you may have already guessed it…
The good ole dictionary defines humility as a modest view of one’s own importance, a lack of pride or vanity, or a submissiveness.
It’s everywhere in scripture, but easy to miss. I know I did. For a LONG TIME.
As I was studying John 5 this week, I ran into yet another example of the need for humility.
Jesus is speaking to the Pharisees, and basically tells them they are so full of pride that it prevents them from having faith.
Verse 44: “No wonder you can’t believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don’t care about the honor that comes from the one who alone is God.”
The Pharisees were seeking fame and approval and wealth and accolades on earth, instead of looking to please the heavenly father. They wanted human recognition above all else. And Jesus called them out on it and declared it is the cause of their unbelief. In other words, pride made for weak and useless faith.
Humility precedes strong faith. We have to be able to humble ourselves before God in order to be truly transformed. We have to be able to admit that we have sin, and repent, and seek his will above our own. ALL OF THOSE THINGS require a humble spirit.
I have been really painfully honest about my lack of humility before I fell. I sought man’s approval more than I sought the Lord’s. I loved the glory of the stage more than the glory of the father. I loved the spotlight. I loved accolades. I loved the world.
And my lack of humility crippled me. I had what James (1:6-7) explains as “divided loyalty.” I was trying to impress people and look like I was trying to please God at the same time; and it didn’t work. It never does. We are either chasing God’s approval or man’s, but they are not compatible. They are opposite, in fact. The world will tell you to chase money, fame, accolades, and comfort. God asks you to love, serve, forgive and sacrifice.
The ironic thing about humility is that most of the time we are too full of pride to see that we are prideful and lack humility. The first couple people that I explained my book to all thought that it wouldn’t apply to them. Isn’t that funny? I think it’s safe to say that as a culture, We lack the humility to see how badly we need to chase humility. Because if we are really honest, we all have areas that we need to submit to God and work on. All of us. No one is without sin. Isn’t it ironic that because we aren’t humble, we cannot see that we aren’t humble? And therefore have a hard time recognizing where we have sin?
But how do we become humble? (Cue my book!)
I’ve come up with three things that I think point us in the right direction:
- We need to develop an awe of who God is; place him in a position of supreme authority. We need to recognize how big and amazing and sovereign he is. John 1:14-16 tells us that when we see the glory of God, we receive grace upon grace. And that grace leads us into a greater belief in God. And when we believe, we are saved. When you see how majestic God is, it’s easy to submit to whatever he asks.
- We need to recognize how small we are. If we think less of ourselves, we are able to hear when God corrects us: see our sin for what it is. We can recognize our depravity and need for a Savior. Romans 12:3 says, “Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves.” A humble heart is willing to admit shortcomings and yield to authority, and make changes.
- We need to put others first, not ourselves first. Philippians 2:3-4 encourages believers: “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out for your own interests, but take an interest in others too.” We must be willing to sacrifice and suffer for the sake of putting others first. Lay down our own agenda and follow His agenda. Jesus did, and he was our ultimate example.
Humility; developing an awe of God, yielding to correction, and putting others first. It’s the mindset I didn’t have when my faith was weak and crumbled. I will say it again: humility precedes strong faith. We’ve got to adopt a humble mindset. Not the most exciting goal, but it’s fundamental to real faith.
Just in case you are curious, and want to read more, I’ve compiled a list of some of the verses that touch on humility:
1 Peter 3:8
1 Peter 5:5
Let me know me if you read them and what touches your heart. As always, please feel free to contact me with prayer requests…because there is serious POWER in prayer.
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