Thursday, April 27, 2017

True Humility

Easter gatherings with their celebrations are fast becoming memories as plans for Spring Break and summer vacations begin to fill the calendar. Before life fills our plates too full with other thoughts, I would like to spend the next several weeks sharing some of the insights I gleaned during these recent weeks of Lent.~dho
As Christians, the mystery of grace teaches us that as we lose ourselves in the overwhelming greatness of redeeming love, humility becomes to us the consummation of everlasting blessedness. Andrew Murray, Humility, the Preface 
One of the books I read during Lent was Humility by Andrew Murray, missionary to South Africa. Murray, Christian writer, teacher, and pastor, lived from 1828-1917. Many of his pithy theological and spiritually applicable writings are now available in reprint. Over the years, I have read several of his books, including Abiding in Christ, Absolute Surrender, and A Life of Obedience. Murray wrote, "True humility comes when before God we see ourselves as nothing, have put aside self, and let God be all."
The chief mark of counterfeit holiness is its lack of humility. Andrew Murray, Humility, pg 61
So often we struggle with our own importance, wrestle with obedience to God, turn from dependence on God. Humility is the antithesis of self-importance, disobedience, and arrogance. Even our pretentious religious words and good deeds lack humility and become the very definition of "counterfeit holiness."  Philippians 2:6-8, 12-16 from The Message give voice to the lessons on humility that Christ teaches:
Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion... What I’m getting at, friends, is that you should simply keep on doing what you’ve done from the beginning. When I was living among you, you lived in responsive obedience. Now that I’m separated from you, keep it up. Better yet, redouble your efforts. Be energetic in your life of salvation, reverent and sensitive before God. That energy is God’s energy, an energy deep within you, God himself willing and working at what will give him the most pleasure. Do everything readily and cheerfully—no bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night...
One Sunday worship service early in the Lenten season, we sang a hymn, and the chorus exclaims the only way we can have true humility, to surrender and be obedient to God: 
Jesus is Lord of all!
Jesus is Lord of all!
Lord of my thoughts and service each day; 
Jesus is Lord of all!
-dho