Striking Out On Humility

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My Musings – In my humble opinion…just kidding.  But actually, I’m not sure I can blog about humility without violating the whole concept. At any rate, I guess I’ll risk it.

In the dictionary I consulted, the first two definitions of “right” fit the above quotes nicely:

Humility (What Is Right) –  Morally good, justified, or acceptable.

Pride (Who Is Right) – True or correct as a fact.

In today’s sermon, I copied down this quote from my Pastor.  “Christianity is not about getting everything right, it’s about a change of heart that causes us to desire [have a passion] for what is right.”  Of course, we will never get everything right (we still have a sin nature), but we can have a desire for what is right (we also have a “Son” nature).

If we focus too much on being right, we plant the seed of pride – a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements.  If we shift the focus to what is right we cultivate a harvest of humility – freedom from pride or arrogance.

Another danger, perhaps even more dangerous than pride, is false humility.  This can manifest itself in a couple ways. One is to act humble in order to call attention to how “right” we are.  “A man is never so proud as when striking an attitude of humility” – C. S. Lewis.  Another less subtle way is self-deprecation.  This is self-humiliation, not self-humility.  “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” – C. S. Lewis.

One final quote form today’s sermon.  “Our pride blinds us to all but ourselves.  Our humility allows us to see others.”

My Advice – When I looked for the definition of righteousness, there was only one definition – the quality of being morally right or justifiable.  Let’s seek quality (always seeking what is morally right) over quantity (always having to be factually right).  Do not “strike an attitude of humility,” imitate the (Jesus’) attitude of humility.  This should be our passion.  This should be our purpose.

Today’s musing was inspired by Pastor Kevin Rutledge’s sermon “Fueled Worship” on September 29, 2019. Check it out at https://www.fbcsycamore.com/sermons. If you live in or are visiting the area, come and join us Sundays at 10:30 a.m. We’d love to be partners in the Gospel with you too.

 

Worthy Conduct

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My Musings – How does one go about living a life worthy of the Gospel when we are so unworthy?  The secret is contained in the last part of the first chapter of Philippians and the first part of the second chapter.  Living a worthy life is all about humble conduct. Attitude drives conduct and humility drives exaltation.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5, NIV 1984).

Jesus has the very nature of God.  And we are united with Christ.

He took the nature of a servant.  So we look to the interests of others.

He humbly obeyed His Father. So, in humility we consider others better than ourselves.

God exalted Jesus to the highest place. And made us shine like stars.

So what does it look like?  Encouragement from being united with Christ. Comfort from his love.  Fellowship with the Spirit. Tenderness and compassion. Complete joy from being like-minded. Being one in spirit and purpose. Doing nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.

My Advice – Do you want to live a life worthy of the Gospel of Christ?  Be like-minded in attitude.  Do you want to share in His exaltation?  Humble yourself under His mighty hand and He will lift you up.  Do this “without complaining or arguing.”  You’ll have plenty of opportunities to do both. “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him.” (Philippians 1:29, NIV 1984).  But this is the price we pay to become “blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which [we] shine like stars in the universe as [we] hold out the word of life.” (Philippians 2:15–16, NIV 1984).  That, my friends, is living a life worthy of the Gospel.

Today’s musing was inspired by Pastor Nate Miller’s sermon “Fueled Living – Focus & Unity” on September 22, 2019. Check it out at https://www.fbcsycamore.com/sermons. If you live in or are visiting the area, come and join us Sundays at 10:30 a.m. We’d love to be partners in the Gospel with you too.

 

 

 

A Change of Clothes

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My Musings – A wise former pastor of mine (now with the Lord) once said, “when you read the word therefore, you need to see what it’s there for.”  Paul had just recounted the life we used to walk (anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language, to name a few), “since [we] have taken off [our] old self with its practices and have put on the new self.”  That’s what it’s there for.  A change of clothes.  From the “filthy rags” mentioned above, to the renewed wardrobe that is “in the image of its Creator” woven out of “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

My Advice – We are chosen and dearly loved.  “Therefore,” “over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”  That’s what we’re here for.

 

 

 

On the Side of Truth

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My Musing – “What is truth?”  Truth has been defined as a proven or verified principle or statement (fact).  A fact is something that is known to be consistent with objective (not influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions) reality (the state of things as they actually exist).

What is truth?”  No matter what is being debated, there can only be one truth.  Unfortunately, it is often the case that those on both side of the debate are not really interested in the truth.  They are only interested in what they want the truth to be.  As a result, truth becomes an orphan.  Verification is replaced with fabrication.  Objectivity with opinion.  Reality with fiction.

What is truth?”  I am saddened that truth has become so inconvenient to so many.  I am saddened that lies and opinions (on both sides of whatever the topic happens to be) are driving so many people so far apart.  I am saddened that more and more people can no longer agreeably disagree.  I am saddened that we are increasingly being defined by what divides us rather than what unites us.  I am saddened that “wherever the truth leads” is so distasteful to so many.  I am saddened that what used to be a debate between what is true and what is not true has been largely replaced by a debate between “my” truth and “your” truth, when in reality neither are true.

My Advice – Keep seeking the truth “wherever it takes you.” When you discover the truth, embrace it.  Even if it turns out to be what you do not want it to be.  Finally, be nice.

What Are You Pursuing?

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My Musings – We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – Preamble to the Declaration of Independence.

God gave us life and liberty (freedom to make our own choices).  The pursuit of happiness is a bit more problematic.  Man has a tendency to find (or think he can find) happiness in all the wrong places and with all the wrong things.  More often than not, these rob us of the very thing we are pursuing.  We would be better off pursuing joy (which is not dependent upon things or circumstances) rather than happiness (which usually is dependent upon things or circumstances).

Better yet, as the above verse states, we should pursue righteousness and love, which results in life, prosperity and honor.  We need to remember, however, that an abundant life is more about quality than quantity, lasting prosperity has little to do with an abundance of “things” (which moths and rust can destroy) and honor has more to do with our character than it does with how much fame an adulation we can achieve.  And how ironic it is, that when we get it backwards (we pursue long life, prosperity in things and honor absent humility), righteousness and love (and happiness) often eludes us.

My Advice – Let’s make sure what we pursue is not only worth the chase, but is also worth catching.

Not So With You

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My Musings – No one wakes up in the morning with the hope that someone will manage us.  We wake up in the morning with the hope that someone will lead us.  The problem is, for us to be led, there must be leaders we want to follow.  (From Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek).

There is no shortage of people who wish to exercise authority.  Just look at the number of candidates in recent (and upcoming) elections who want to be President.  As you listen to many of them, you get the idea that as much as they would like to lead, there are not many that we would like to follow.  This concept is not restricted to politics.  It is rampant in many businesses and organizations, and yes, even in some churches.  To make matters worse, many who wish to lead, find little fault in their leadership skills, preferring to blame those they wish to lead with the inability or unwillingness to follow.

Perhaps that is one reason why Christ turned the leadership model on its head.  Do you want to a leader?  Then learn how to follow.  You want to be seen as great? Then learn to be humble.  You want to be first? Then be willing to wait in line.  You want to be master?  Then be willing to become a servant. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  (Mark 10:45, NIV 1984).

When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. ‘Do you understand what I have done for you?’ he asked them. ‘You call me Teacher and Lord, and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.‘” (John 13:12–17, NIV 1984).

My Advice – Go and do likewise.  Has a familiar ring to it.

Despicable Me?

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My Musings – We usually think that a broken spirit is a negative thing.  But how could God possibly forgive a proud and rebellious spirit? The text implies that God actually despises such a spirit.  Genuine contrition (feeling or showing sorrow and remorse for a sin or shortcoming) is not possible absent a humble and penitent heart.

My Advice – Do not allow a proud or rebellious spirit get in the way of a humble and penitent heart.