I’m so fortunate to be a part of a wonderful ministry in the Upper Marlboro, MD area. My pastors are true vessels of honor and it is evident they love the Lord. It really is the expectation of our pastors that we, the parishioners, not only hear the Word but that we know the Word for ourselves. We are a teaching ministry and we’ve been taught well. One of the greatest statements my pastor has made to all those who serve in ministry is that you must be ten times more humble than those you serve. I thank God for that statement and it rings true if you truly want to please the Lord.
10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
As a servant of the Most High God I exhibit no power that has not been given to me by His grace. No matter how much I learn or how much I grow, I can never take on the mentality that I’m better than anyone else because the Lord gives me a sprinkling of revelation. I am a sinner saved by the redemptive work on the cross. The blood of Jesus saved my life and I have to fight daily to not fall back into unrighteous ways.
NEWSFLASH: There are days I lose that fight!
It takes the love of Jesus to not fall into the trap of exalting yourself in your own eyes (read Matthew 6:1-16). I have to love Jesus more than I love myself, my plans, my thoughts, my ways, and my will. Serving the Lord really is conscious and deliberate. If the word of God tells me that exalting myself will lead to me being humbled and humbling myself leads to me being exalted I have to consciously and deliberately choose how I am going to behave!
Just this morning I found myself talking unfavorably about a brother in the body of Christ. It was so easy to engage in the criticism and keep it going as if I was somehow better. The Holy Spirit quickly convicted me and I immediately asked for the Lord’s forgiveness for participating in the conversation. I was wrong and if I believe this brother is moving in a direction that I believe is not God’s best for him, prayer for him is the best course of action. If I must talk about him, why not talk to God about him? It isn’t my place to judge him, wasn’t that yesterday’s devotion from James 4:11-12: 11 Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?
I told you this humility lesson is difficult for me. I see my struggle and so does the Lord that’s why these devotional selections are not by chance, they’re shining the light on those weak areas in my walk. I’m not at all ashamed to admit my failure because I trust in the God that never fails and I welcome the chastening. It’s going to produce the peaceable fruit of righteousness.
The Holy Spirit is prompting me to go back to the Word to see humility:
Proverbs 15:32-33 (NKJV) 32 He who disdains instruction despises his own soul,But he who heeds rebuke gets understanding.33 The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, And before honor is humility.
Proverbs 18:12 (NKJV) 12 Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, And before honor is humility.
Colossians 3:12-13(NKJV) Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.
Titus 3:1-3 (NKJV) Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. 3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.
1 Peter 5:4-6 (NKJV) 5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for“God resists the proud,But gives grace to the humble.” 6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,
I understand what the Lord is saying, now let’s see if I can pass this next test.