Sunday, October 30, 2011

Humility: Humble Pie (Character Trait #3)

Scanning through Pinterest (my unfortunate, tragic, yet amazing new time wasting interest), I came across this quote and laughed, almost spewing coffee all over my Mac... "I'm Awesome at Being Humble."

Though I wouldn't ever really say this out loud, I realized this week that my brain sometimes thinks this. Really, such an evidence of pride in my life.

Pride. This thing keeps coming up. In the Bible Study with students on campus, in my discipleship time, during sermons, through quotes, its everywhere. Being an advertising major, I get it. God is advertising the great character trait of Humility, and I am sitting up and taking note. God, as always, has skillfully broken through the clutter of the world, and revealed a pithy and true message to my life this week, and I, like a good consumer, am convinced that I need it.

Micah 6:8-He has told you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

What does the Lord require? To walk humbly with your God. The God that claims me. The God that doesn't need me for his work. yet because he loves me dearly, includes me. The God whom I serve and who I need, and who calls me his own.  

That's it. 

I've been realizing this week, that I add to what the Lord requires. I add being more holy, having a successful ministry, leaving a legacy and impact, reaching the world, changing hearts and lives, giving spiritual wisdom and guidance., knowing more of the Bible, planning an amazing future. Focus like this causes pride to seep. I actually believe I can do all these things, whether Christ strengthens me or not. Whether my life is hidden in Christ, or not. Whether I'm a part of the vine or not. Oh that terrible illusion of pride that I can do it alone!

C.J. Mahaney defines humility as “honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness.”  

Taking an honest assessment of my life, I realize, that pride seeps rears its ugly head in ways that make me boast about my strengths, not my weaknesses, and then hide when I am weak. It makes me try to prove I'm right, instead of loving others well.  It makes me critical and comparative, either thinking I'm too great, or thinking I'm so below that standard that even self focused inadequacy becomes pride. 

I also realized something else. Its easier to be humble when success has happened in your life and harder when life serves you disappointment or heartache or failure. This week, through a series of events, I felt like a failure at things I'm normally a pro at. And, because I didn't humble myself before Him, God, in his gracious love, humbled me. He reminded me, Ministry is not about ministry success, its about Jesus.

If Jesus is not my focus, I'm living a skewed view of the life of grace given to me in Jesus redemptive work on the Cross.

Though working on all those things listed above can be a good thing, if its done for my glory, it means nothing. If my life is truly now hidden in Christ, I will reflect Christ, not myself, and really, would rather people see Him than my ugly pride anyway. I think I’m starting to buy into and understand humility.

Here’s what Tom Yeakley's book on Kingdom Character regarding Humility says:
  • Humility is the doorway to growing in Grace. Grace is not freedom to do as we want, but power to live as we ought.
  • Prayer acknowledges that we can't do something on our own.
  • Measuring and counting results, though not always sinful, can reflect pride in our lives.
  • If we are fearful that God may ask of us something that would be difficult, we show a lack of understanding in our identity.
  • When we are praised or complimented..."Thank you for the compliment" or "Thanks for those kind words" will go a long way to develop humility and keep the focus where it should be.

So I'm left with this slogan branded in my brain.  “What does the Lord require? To walk Humbly with your God.”  

Here I am, on the path of humbleness, fueled by Christ. One day I will look at life, and really not see myself at all, but only Jesus. Not because of me, but because of his transforming power. 

And I think I should re-post the Pinterest quote but change it to this:

God is Awesome at Humbling Me.

Put that on a T-Shirt and wear it to the county fair.

This Blog Brought to you by Jesus and Ice Cream,  both of which go great with a slice of humble pie.