Before Honor…Is Humility

Reposted from Radical Mentoring

When people strive to ‘be somebody,’ they’re often trying to be somebody else. But look around at the people you admire most and you’ll find humility. Humility may be the most revered character trait from God’s perspective. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven,” said Jesus.

So how do we ‘get low’ and get humble? Two ways . . .

  1. Gratitude – a grateful heart is a humble heart. A man who realizes his skills, his position, his opportunities, his relationships, his everything comes from the Lord . . . that’s a man who’s well on his way to a humble heart. When we give ourselves credit for the good stuff in our lives, we become proud. We think it’s all because of our intelligence, our tenacity, our intuition or our personality. Prisons are populated with guys like that. Some of them aren’t bad people . . . they just hung around bad people and made bad decisions trying to be somebody or have something. Pride.But the cool thing about gratitude is it’s a choice you can make. If we choose to believe God is who He says He is and that “every good and perfect gift is from above,” then we have no reason to be arrogant or proud.
  1. Brokenness – This is the way most proud hearts become humble hearts. So few of us have the faith to humble ourselves and recognize God in His rightful place. We have to stumble and fall and inflict significant collateral damage on our wives, families, businesses, churches and communities. The path to brokenness is littered with shattered hearts and busted dreams . . . consequences of sin born of pride and selfishness. My pastor recently said, “Every sin comes prepackaged with consequences.” None of us can avoid those prepackaged consequences, some are just more visible and public. Our sins and their consequences become like scars, the pain may go away but the memory of what we did, what we caused, who we hurt, what we took away from the people we love . . . that never goes away.

About two millennia ago this week, the only man who had no pride in his soul . . . the only man who ever lived without sin in his life . . . the only man who didn’t need to be humbled, chose to humble Himself. He volunteered to lay down and let men drive nails in His hands and feet, taking the capital punishment for sins He didn’t commit. The sins were yours and mine . . . He took our punishment. David Crowder’s song “Forgiven” describes that moment on the first Good Friday well . . . “As I drop down to my knees with a hammer in my hand . . .” It’s painful to think but absolutely true.

But just as the Proverb says, His ‘getting low’ . . . His humbling Himself to be crucified was followed by honor. Jesus is the most honored man to ever live. More good’s been done in His name than any other, more lives changed through faith in Him than all the counseling and therapy ever given in all of history combined.

Learn from Jesus. Make a humble heart a volitional choice and avoid the brokenness and collateral damage from sin and selfishness. Choose gratitude over pride. If Jesus-followers will “humble themselves and pray,” He stands ready to “heal our land.” Follow His lead this weekend. Own it. Take responsibility for your pride, arrogance, sin and selfishness. Thank Him for taking all that junk to the Cross for you. Believe Him when He says, “It is finished.” Accept His gift of forgiveness and respond with a lifelong chorus of “Thank you Jesus. Thank you. Thank you!” Then “go and sin no more.”

Scripture: Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor. Proverbs 18:12

How Do You See God

Reposted from Radical Mentoring

How do you see God? As judge? Police chief? Santa Claus? Genie in a bottle? Loving? Cruel? Distant? Available? Smiling? Angry? Irrelevant? Powerless? Be honest. How do you really see God in your mind?

How we see God may be one of the most important decisions we’ll ever make. When we’re first confronted with this question as adults, our picture of God will always emanate from our subconscious early childhood experience with our father or a father-figure. With so few dads resembling Jesus in what they do and say, it’s no surprise that few of us have a good and accurate picture of God. We piece together an idea of Him based on the prayers He didn’t answer, the tragedy He allowed in the life of someone we care about, the opinions of our friends, the celebrities we admire and maybe a little bit of Scripture (if we were taken to church). Never intending to, we create a patchwork picture of God that may have little resemblance to the one true God.

Yet how we view God has a lot to do with whether we feel loved or not, whether we care for others or not, whether we turn to God often or just in a crisis, and even whether we want God in our lives . . . or not. We all need a true picture of God, but most of us just have random pieces of the puzzle floated into our lives from different people and events.

We need to look no further than Jesus to get our answer. He defined God as “Father.” A perfect Father. Not the one we had, not our friend’s father we always wished we’d had. A totally perfect Dad. So, what might that look like? A father who listens to you, engages with your life, knows your heart and your heart’s desire. You always know he loves you . . . that he’s crazy about you. He never gets mad at you, never sulks nor pouts to teach you lessons. He’s a father who is always available, who’s never in a hurry, who doesn’t bail on you . . . ever. A father who has no ego that needs feeding, no ‘skeletons’ to hide, nothing to prove and nothing to fear. You know he has other children but he makes you feel like you’re the only one. He says both ‘yes’ and ‘no’ when you ask for things, but over time you come to see that his ‘no’s’ were the right answers for the right reasons at the right time.

God is our father. He created us. Jesus told us to think of Him, love Him, respect Him and pray to Him as Father. He said, “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father . . .’” When I grasped God as my perfect Father and engaged with His forgiving, unconditional love, it changed my life forever. I’ve yet to meet an all-in Jesus-follower who wasn’t fueled by gratitude for the love of their Heavenly Father.

Scripture: And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? Hebrews 12:5-7

The Pendulum

Action - Reaction concept

Reposted from Every Man Ministry

He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will. Ephesians 1:5

Going through life is like riding a pendulum.  If we swing more to the world, we’re further from God.  If we swing toward God (by making a conscious decisions to follow Him), then we distance ourselves from the world.

Sometimes our friends and coworkers want to swing the pendulum for us.  When that happens, it’s up to us to resist.  If you’re away on a business trip, and a couple of the guys from the office say they’re going to a strip club, what are you going to say? How are you going to handle the pressure to blend in?<

Riding the pendulum toward the Baby Dolls Club is going the world’s way.  But insisting that you’re going to stay at the hotel and ride a stationary bike in the fitness room is steering the pendulum God’s way.  This is practical commitment in action.

Watching one of those pay-per-view soft-core adult movies in your hotel room is swinging the pendulum the world’s way. Calling the front desk as soon as you reach your room and asking them to block out the skin flicks is swinging the pendulum God’s way.

In other words, loving God means resisting the world moment by moment, it’s putting forceful, compelling feelings aside in order to remain obedient.  It’s placing another person’s need above our own.  It’s caring more about God’s opinion than man’s opinion. There is right and wrong in this world, isn’t that rational. If obedience is too hard a word, let’s be rational and use the brain God gave us to worship him. He did create you and then forgave every sin you’ve ever committed didn’t He?

Father thank you for allowing the pendulum to swing back to you again and again.