The 3 ?’s
So how did it go this week asking yourself the three questions? If you weren’t with us, or you’re wondering, “HUH?!” we ended last week with the challenge to ask yourself these three questions this week…
How does pride manifest itself in you?
How does pride masquerade in your life?
How long do you plan on following it?
Did you seek out someone to help you with the answers? The point here is not to put you on the spot, but rather to encourage you to strike while the iron is hot. We know how things work, right? Something that’s right in front of you now will not necessarily be on your radar three weeks from now. In another week, we’ll have moved on to another series and it will be really tempting to just follow along and leave the focus on killing pride to fade in the rear view mirror. But this is FAR too important! As we considered in week 1, pride is killing your relationships and it will kill you little by little if you ignore it and don’t actively seek to pull it out by the roots.
Is “Humble” really a pie flavor?
This week we’ll be focusing on humility. If we are to kill pride in our lives, what will fill the void? And make no mistake, killing pride will leave a void that pride itself will aggressively seek to re-enter!
Okay, so how do we define this thing called “humility?” What are the key ingredients in a slice of that humble pie? Well, first we need a heaping tablespoon of honest evaluation. Honestly evaluating yourself is a key ingredient in defining humility. This is important to understand, because contrary to what you might think, God desperately doesn’t want you to think you’re dirt, or think less of yourself. He absolutely doesn’t want you to reject the incredible value you are to Him, but He also doesn’t want you to think too highly of yourself either. What God wants is for you to see yourself as He sees you; to see yourself through the filter of His truth, not your’s or anyone else’s.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
So, that first part sounds pretty straight-forward, and supports what we were just saying, but what about those highlighted words? Well, sober should be a pretty recognizable word and conveys the necessity for the tone and truth of the context for evaluating yourself. You may have experienced the opposite of sobriety before, or had to deal with someone who wasn’t sober. Someone who is “drunk” on anything (isn’t just limited to alcohol) isn’t processing things in full awareness and truth. They have a clouded view of themselves and the world around them, and they are in no position to make sound and right judgments. It’s also critical to think of yourself through the lens of faith. A faith that did not source from you, but was rather given to you, or distributed to you, by God. If you depend on yourself to do this “honest evaluation,” you will fail. You’ll resemble a drunk person, effected by the haze of untruth. So, let’s think of it this way. Let’s think of yourself as a ring box. A plain (and maybe velvety) box that is a simple container for a gem of rare value. The “thing” inside the box is the thing, right?! No one asks, when someone excitedly announces they’re engaged and holds out their hand for everyone to see, “Hey, can I see the box that came in?!” NO … of course they don’t! The “thing,” that was inside the box that is now out in the open for all to see, is what is most valuable. And this is how it is with your faith and you. Your faith is the thing of most value when evaluating yourself. You are simply the box. And to tie it all back, God is the giver of the ring. It is only in this complete context (with sobriety and a distributed faith) that an honest evaluation of yourself reflects what God sees, and is therefore right.
A full measure of Confidence
So, here’s the second key ingredient that goes into humility … Humility is confidence, not in ourselves, but in God.
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
This is an incredibly clear picture that Jesus paints of the true nature of humility. The words of Jesus in the concluding sentence is the simplest, yet most powerful statement of how God defines humility. The “super religious” Pharisee reveals his true nature in using the word “I” over and over again. He was clearly placing his confidence in himself. The highly unpopular scoundrel (at least as they were thought of in those days) of a tax collector, took the honest posture of throwing Himself at the mercy of God. He did not berate himself, but rightly saw His need for mercy. This is the heart which God exalted, and actively exalts. What if we just saw ourselves as the box; genuinely considered ourselves as the simple vessel with our faith and God’s mercy as the treasure God’s distributed to us. I believe if we saw ourselves that way, it would change everything for us; every motivation, every action, every relationship we have.
The other cheek
Lastly, I would suggest that another key ingredient in defining humility is trusting God with the outcome.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
This is the high bar of humility. The other cheek, the coat, the second mile … this is the currency of God’s economy, these are fruits of trusting God. The story of the cross road that Jesus walked for us is the tale of true humility. The soldiers slapped Jesus, they spit on Him, they pressed a twisted wreath of thorns into the flesh of His head … and what did Jesus do? … Nothing! To imitate or meet God’s standard of humility is to live out the other cheek, the give your coat, and to stay alongside for the second mile. And it is to walk up to the throne of God and leave every shred of the earthly outcome at God’s feet.
Do you want to kill your pride? Do you want to heal every bit of brokenness in your own life and in every relationship you have. Be humble as Jesus was humble. Live out God’s definition of humble. Will you try? Will you give every last bit of your own “try” in trade for His “can?” Oh, what would happen in your life and in the life that is Life Bridge if we would.