Tag: humility

Selfishness 


Selfishness can be a very subtle thing. It can manifest itself in many ways, although the one acting selfish may not realize what they’re doing.

Some ways it may appear are-

  1. The need to be seen – the center of attention
  2. Manipulation
  3. Depression, pouting, anger, mood swings, etc.
  4. Monopolizing a conversation
  5. Interrupting someone else’s conversation
  6. Overachieving

Something I witnessed about myself the other day.

At a funeral, of all places. 

Sitting in the sanctuary, waiting for the service to begin, I saw a number of fellow ministers in attendance. Sometimes, I’m ashamed to admit, I feel out of place, unknown and overlooked, and desperately in need of some kind of recognition. 

Is it wrong to want to be liked? 

No. 

But as I got out of my seat to greet a minister I knew (though not very well – I had to remind him of my name), I sensed the Holy Spirit speak to my heart about selfishness. 

In other words, my act of greeting was more about me than him. It was about being seen with a well known minister. It wasn’t about my investing anything in the other person’s life, but trying to look important by association. 

Selfishness.

Ugly, worldly, selfishness.

Oh, what can be done about such an ugly thing?

First, I needed to acknowledge it as sin, whether anyone else noticed it or not. God knew it, and now I do.

“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” (Romans 12:3 ESV)

Second, I must stay on guard against such desires. One of the best ways is to remind myself who God has made me, in Christ. 

I’m not inferior, or superior for that matter. I am me. I was created on purpose, for a purpose. I belong to God, and He is the Lord of my life. 

In the above scripture, sober judgment can refer to being honest with myself, God, and others. I should find out what God has done, is doing, and has promised to do in me and get busy with that.

“Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:” (2 Peter 1:1 ESV)

See, Peter wrote to people who had obtained a faith of equal standing with himself. Really? Faith as important and potentially powerful as Peter’s? Yes!

It’s something God has done for every one of us, through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Third, selfishness cannot manifest itself if I’m concerned about how to make others feel encouraged, important, and edified. If I’m not adding to a relationship, at least desiring to, then I’m probably taking from it. 

In a word? Selfishness.

I’m working on it, though I’m certain I haven’t mastered it yet. 

How about YOU? Do YOU recognize a bit of selfishness showing in YOUR life?

If so, what are you going to do about it?

It’s the little, insignificant things in our lives that determine the kind of person we are. 

50 Shades of Embarrassment

IMG_1863

There’s a “popular” book and movie out called “Fifty Shades of Grey”. I haven’t read it nor have I seen the movie. I’ve only heard about it. But what I’ve heard isn’t good from a follower of Christ’s perspective.

And come to think of it, some of the things we Christians do aren’t always that great, either. Yet we act surprised when the world doesn’t want to act like us Christians. Or when sinners actually sin.

Duh. Pigs can’t act like swans. But it’s embarrassing when swans don’t act like swans.

Here’s a list of some things I’ve been guilty of; maybe you, too.

I refer to them as “Fifty Shades of Embarrassment”.

1.   Broadcasts the sins of leaders far and wide, even to unbelievers.
2.   Promotes discord among brethren, casting doubt on other church ministries.
3.   Declares God’s holiness, yet lives completely opposite.
4.   Emphatically states “God meets my needs” while posting a letter designed to manipulate the release of finances from the faithful.
5.   Believes the blood of Jesus covers all sins EXCEPT those committed by people who are weird, foolish, gay, democrat, or Martian.
6.   Preaches prosperity but asks for preacher’s discount.
7.   Trusts the word of big name preachers, yet stumbles over the words of Jesus.
8.   Orphans and widows are exploited; as their photos are used for fund raising.
9.   Makes appeals for donations, while traveling in private jet.
10.  Does not tolerate other’s mistakes.
11.  Speaks to God with Elizabethan English to appear more holy.
12.  Treats the church as though it’s a business
13.  Cheats on reporting certain incomes, using “It was a gift” as the excuse.
14.  Emphasizes the sins of the world while speaking ill of other believers.
15.  Boycotts Starbucks and other gay supporters, yet subscribes to Dish TV.
16.  Hands raised in praise on Sunday, but won’t lift a helping hand around the house.
17.  Gentle and nice to church people, but meaner than spit at home.
18.  Grudgingly gives 1% of paycheck to church, but donates 20% to neighborhood casino and lottery.
19.  Can sit for hours watching a sports event, but complains when a preacher goes a minute past noon.
20.  Up before dawn, ready to fish and hunt; but must sleep in on Sundays.
21.  Willingly sends hundreds of dollars overseas to win the lost, but haven’t learned the neighbor’s name.
22.  Complains about tattoos and piercings on others, but is harming own body with worry and anxiety.
23.  Loudly points out errors of others, but won’t receive correction from anyone.
24.  Will protest Planned Parenthood, but won’t help the troubled, pregnant, unmarried teen. 
25.  Craves the attention of others, and cannot stand it if someone receives more praise.
26.  Fanatical Christian on Sunday, but in hiding the rest of the week.
27.  First to shout “Amen” to the preacher, and first to gripe about the preacher in front of kids.
28.  Says grace at home, but in too big of a rush away from home.
29.  Annoyed with “liberal” denominations, but have never read the bible to find out what’s really true.
30.  Memorized John 3:16, but won’t support missionaries.
31.  Car bumper is covered with radical Christian stickers, yet won’t yield and let others merge.
32.  Counsels others, but doesn’t follow own advice.
33.  Consistently late for work.
34.  Ready to preach at work, but not so ready to work at work.
35.  Takes pride in a humility that’s more genuine than other’s.
36.  Preaches the need for Christians to “assemble together”, but won’t if they’re Pentecostal or Baptist.
37.  Never listens to anyone younger than 30.
38.  Ignores people older than 30. 
39.  Never says, “No, I don’t want to do that.” Instead, promises to “pray about it.”
40.  Habitually gossips with each prayer “request”.
41.  Believes “once saved, always saved”, until some Christian does them wrong. Then they tell them where to go.
42.  To err is human, to forgive divine… But someone’s gonna have to pay!
43.  Proud of what they don’t do… What they don’t do is much more than what they do do.
44.  Always ready to elevate a new believer to celebrity status, and a fallen brother to their “grave”.
45.  Gripes about all the people who make ministry so difficult.
46.  Wears a 24k gold cross around their neck, but can’t stand it when their seat is taken at church.
47.  Won’t give a dime unless it’s tax deductible.
48.  Loves God, but can’t stand those “rag-heads”.
49.  Rejoices when a brother or sister in Christ stumbles, especially if from a different church.
50.  Declares allegiance to Christ, but not to his work.

I realize the list isn’t pretty. But it’s true, is it not?

Perhaps we ought to work on our list of 50 and not be real concerned if sinners don’t want to promote the Ten Commandments.

Eh?

Arrogance

20130924-230125.jpg

Do you know anyone who seems arrogant?

Have you noticed anyone who has arrogance written all over their face?

In case you aren’t sure, here’s a definition of “arrogance”:

ar·ro·ganceˈer-ə-gən(t)s, ˈa-rə-
noun
: an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions

Examples
in his arrogance the president of the club made all the arrangements for the annual banquet without consulting the members

Origin: (see arrogant ).

First use: 14th century

Synonyms: assumption, bumptiousness, consequence, haughtiness, hauteur, high horse, huffiness, imperiousness, loftiness, lordliness, masterfulness, peremptoriness, pomposity, pompousness, presumptuousness, pretense (or pretence), pretension, pretentiousness, self-consequence, self-importance, superciliousness, superiority, top-loftiness

Antonyms: humility, modesty, unassumingness, unpretentiousness

I have been someone who, until tonight, believed the way to act around such people was to give them a dose of their own medicine. You know, act like them, strut like them, sneer like them and maybe they would see what they look like, and change.

Problem is, it doesn’t work!

But then The Lord showed me that the way to deal with, cope with, and minister to the arrogant is through humility!

Humility keeps my heart guarded while allowing God’s Spirit to work in the other person. It allows the love of God to be very real and tangible; His love never fails.

You and I cannot change the heart of anyone else. But God can melt even the hardest of hearts, and can capture the souls of the proudest of men and women.

Maybe things can change in other’s lives after all. Let’s not be so arrogant as to believe otherwise.

Mockers are proud and haughty; they act with boundless arrogance (Proverbs 21:24 NLT)

“If your enemies are hungry, feed them.
If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap
burning coals of shame on their heads.”

Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good (Romans 12:20-21 NLT)

In other words, don’t yield to the same arrogant spirit; rather conquer it by being the opposite.

Amen?

The Key

20130724-165053.jpgWhat unlocks the door that has kept family members apart, church members at odds, and neighbors at each other’s throats?

What opens the gates of a city that has divided the races, cultures, ethnic groups, and the young from the old?

What is the instrument that tears down strongholds of injustice, prejudice, and hatred among brethren?

How do we see all Heaven has to offer; reconciliation, salvation, deliverance, healing, wholeness, and peace of mind (just to name a few), appear in our world, our city, even our own back yard?

Is there a key we may be overlooking?

Yes!

There IS a key that unlocks all Heaven has to offer. Jesus “used” it, demonstrating the power God really wants to release in and through our lives.

The key is humility. Not exactly something people want to shout about.

“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3 ESV)

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8 ESV)

“The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” (Proverbs 15:33 ESV)

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3 ESV)

“Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5 ESV)

“And when they came to him, he said to them: “You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 20:18-21 ESV)

“…But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2 ESV)

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” (James 4:10 ESV)

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14:11 ESV)

“And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled, and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.” (Isaiah 2:17 ESV)

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (Romans 12:18 ESV)

“He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty.” (Luke 1:53 ESV)

Humility is NOT walking around with your chin on the ground, telling all you see what a worm you are. It is not self-abasement! It rather has a connection with truth, honesty, and an understanding of one’s place in the bigger picture.

Two important words that help describe humility are forgiveness and submission. I do not mean the humble are people who are weak and cowardly, always running from conflict and never able to defend their cause. Actually, humility is one of the strongest spiritual forces in the universe. It doesn’t have to rely on an over-inflated ego, a multitude of enforcers, an uncontrolled temper, or even loud and bombastic speech designed to elevate the speaker and diminish the listener. It rather relies on truth, and the inner knowledge that God is the great equalizer, and can be trusted in any and every situation.

Humility can be seen in the company of Love and Faith, and is recognized more by what it does or doesn’t do, instead of that it says, or doesn’t say. It is quick to yield to others, but can take the lead when necessary.

It can accept praise with a simple “Thank you”, or, “You’re welcome”, and not fret if the praise doesn’t come. It is secure in its relationship with love and truth; it never has to prove its ability by attempting to live larger than it really is.

It will embrace the weaknesses of others, adding its strength to the weak, without exploiting the weak or the fallen.

It is the key to a relationship with the Creator God, for it is the force that overcomes pride and selfishness. It submits to God, and the desires of God’s heart, even if it is uncomfortable at the time.

It will allow relationships to grow and become fruitful, for, like love, it is patient and kind, never seeking its own way.

Yes, it is the key to opening the windows of Heaven! Humility before The Lord and before one another is the key to seeing God’s power released like He desires.

The only way to enter the domain of the evil one, release the captives, and live to tell about it, is the way of humility.

Humility… The Key to unlock the city. Just ask Joshua…

There Is A Fountain

20130424-161102.jpgHere’s a song that is 241 years old. Not exactly contemporary, is it? Yet the message never grows old!

There’s something about a fountain, though. To enjoy its full benefit, one has to approach it in the correct manner. Since water flows downward, then the correct approach would be to put oneself lower than the fountain.

Call it humility.

“The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: “I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble
and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.” (Isaiah 57:15 NLT)

“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.” (1 Peter 5:6 NLT)

“For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 14:11 NLT)

“My hands have made both heaven and earth; they and everything in them are mine. I, the Lord , have spoken! “I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2 NLT)

There is a fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins,
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in His day;
And there have I, though vile as he,
Washed all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood
Shall never lose its pow’r,
Till all the ransomed church of God
Are safe, to sin no more.

E’er since by faith I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.

When this poor, lisping, stamm’ring tongue
Lies silent in the grave,
Then in a nobler, sweeter song,
I’ll sing Thy pow’r to save.

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though He was God, He did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:3-11 NLT)

%d bloggers like this: