David Timms shares some thoughts on becoming a disciple and the lack of focus on humility.
“Should you ask me: What is the first thing in religion? I should reply: the first, second, and third thing therein is humility.” – Augustine, 4th-5th century
“I am amazed at how little humility is seen as the distinguishing feature of discipleship.” (Andrew Murray: 12)
Most of us think of humility as just another virtue — much like patience, goodness, or kindness. It’s nice and we appreciate it when we see it, but we rarely discuss it and almost never pursue it. Yet, the Bible seems to indicate that humility may be the bedrock of discipleship.
Jesus humbled himself by becoming a man and submitting even to death. (Phil 2:5-8) He called His disciples to “deny yourself … take up your cross … be last of all … be slave of all.” (Mk 8-10)
James reminds us that “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (Js 4:6)
It’s an old biblical theme that generates little attention, especially in a culture devoted to achievement, recognition, status, and significance. But if pride is the root of our fallenness (1 Jn 2:16) then humility paves the way to our restoration.
Andrew Murray goes so far as to say: “Humility is the only soil in which virtue takes root; a lack of humility is the explanation of every defect and failure. Humility is not so much a virtue along with the others, but is the root of all.” (Murray: 17)
Marriages fail not when love grows cold but when pride trumps humility. Churches experience conflict not when unity is forgotten but when humility is lost. We grow least content not when circumstances are tough but when entitlement buries humility.
Of course, our definition of humility makes all the difference. It’s not about self-loathing or dejected defeat. Rather, “true humility comes when before God we see ourselves as nothing, have put aside self, and let God be all.” (Murray: 55)
Let God be all. Sounds simple enough, but the striving and fruitlessness of our lives suggests that we find it easier to let God be some.
The challenge of our day, as followers of Jesus, is not to rise to the top but to live faithfully among the least, because of who He is. It’ll change everything; our homes, our families, our churches, and our workplaces.
In HOPE –
In certain circles I continue to read/hear some things that disturb me. The way and tone and directness with which it is expressed is almost Pharisaical or Gnostical and neither of those approaches are a good marriage with the Way of Christ.
When I read/hear comments like:
“I’d rather have 500 sold out deeply spiritual people worshipping on the weekend than 5000 that are skin deep.”
“We need to focus on growing the one’s we have before we can go out and get more.”
“Knowing the Bible should be the priority right now.”
I cringe and in all honesty I tend to boil over with anger and passion.
If every church had focused upon “growing deeper” would any of the folks who make these kinds of comments have even come to a life saving relationship with Jesus?
We often forget that while people are lambs, most of the ones we are frustrated with from a spiritual growth standpoint are also adults. They have every right to exercise free will if only for the reason that this is the way that God wants it. They are not children who can be made to read their Bible, internalize the scripture, and be transformed by the knowledge. They can, and often do, choose not to.
None of us want a spiritually immature congregation. It sucks trying to lead people who choose to know very little, and obey even less. However, at the end of the day the Bible makes it very clear that the one responsible for the growth that we complain about, that we judge, that we often condemn is God.
God is responsible for the growth. The only thing we laborers are responsible for is planting and watering, but even then growth is God’s responsibility.
I’m thankful for the disunity in the Corinthian Church because if it were not for the problems that they faced we wouldn’t have what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1, “6
It is a death to life experience, and as an embryonic growth happens a rates unparalleled in the rest of a humans life so it is with our rebirth.
Waiting on the Lord…
Is not an excuse for inaction…
While your perfect situation
Your dream job
Is awaiting heavenly approval
Volunteer in the nursery…yes men I mean YOU!
Only drink water for two weeks and send the money you would have spent on beverages to Living Water International.
Might God be waiting on us
To just try to be obedient
Loving others and showing compassion
Before our dreams are realized
1 John 3:18 “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue but in deed and truth.”