This week, Michael writes that the world's definition of success mirrors the old Army slogan: "Be all that you can be." The American ideal is to be "self sufficient- Self" However, the Bible says, "not that we are sufficient of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God" – 2 Corinthians 3:5. The devil uses the same tactic today that he used to seduce Eve in the Garden of Eden, telling us: "You don't need God. Go ahead and indulge your natural flesh desires, disobey God's commandment and eat of the forbidden fruit. Then you shall be as God, knowing good from evil." The fall of mankind was when Eve doubted Creator Father God and believed the devil's lie that "God is not God; you are." Mankind has had a problem with pride ever since the fall in the Garden of Eden. The antidote to pride is humility.
Let's review the five reasons to be excited about Jesus Christ. The first is forgiveness. The second is purpose: for we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works which he has prepared in advance for us to walk in them Ephesians 2:10. The third is character: when we became Christians we were born again not of the flesh but of God's Holy Spirit ... we have received a new nature. Jesus Christ is the vine and we are the branches ... He in me and I in Him. The fourth is security … for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that spiritual deposit which he's committed unto me against that day of judgment – 2 Timothy 1:12. The fifth is peace … for Jesus said, "My peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid" - John 14:27.
Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Humility is the prerequisite to forgiveness. Before we can be forgiven, first we must realize that we are poor, broken, and unworthy in light of His righteousness. Sin is the nature of the carnal flesh that we inherited from Adam ... However, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly – Romans 5:8. Even you hath he made alive who were dead in trespasses and sins – Ephesians 2;1 ... for Jesus Christ who was without sin became the perfect sin sacrifice on our behalf that we may be made the righteousness of God in him.
Humility means that we maintain a spirit of deference, willing to place ourselves in a lowly position so that we can put others before ourselves ... ultimately so that we can receive from God, that which we are lacking. Humility is giving up the right to ourselves, because ... we must decrease that he may increase – John 3:30. Jesus Christ himself was an example of humility. He was born, not in a palace, but in the stall of a lowly barn. He was not esteemed of men. He had none of the worldly credentials that normally accompany greatness. Humility is freedom from the prideful need to impress others and freedom from the perceived need to compete. Humility never puts itself first. Jesus said that the one who is in the deepest darkness is the one who mistakenly thinks that they are in the light, but are really in the dark. Jesus said, blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth – Matthew 5:5. The world tells us that our goal is to be "self actualized" with the emphasis on self. However, “true” humility is the opposite of the world's definition of success. True humility says "blessed are they when men shall revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake, for great is your reward in heaven" – Matthew 5:11. As Rudyard Kipling said in the poem ‘If’... “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, and treat those two imposters just the same... then you shall be a man, my son.”
Let's continue Michael's message on humility tomorrow.
In Christ, Brian