God Just Doesn’t Get It

He does not see how wonderful we are
He does not know how intelligent we are.
He does not listen to our opinions.
He does not consider our good deeds.
He does not understand our boasting.
He is not impressed with our accomplishments.

            He is doing His own work.

            He is upholding all things by the word of His power.

            He is managing the universe.

            He is ruling and defending His kingdom.

            He is holding back His enemies.

            He is preventing wars and destruction.

            He is keeping a light on in the world.

            He is providing for our needs.

            He is working in the hearts of the humble.

            He is preparing a people to share His eternal glory.

As high as we can jump is the power we have to get God’s attention.
We would do better to fall flat on our faces, confess our weaknesses, inabilities and failures; and repent of our sin of pride. Then He would see us, raise us up, and bring us to Himself; provide for us, lead us, assure us, and nurture us as His own children.

0002Ue“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
  And do not return there,
But water the earth,
 And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
 And bread to the eater,
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; 
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
 And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”   Isaiah 55:10-11

Abba, Father, we need you.  Rend the heavens and come down, as the melting fire burneth, and make your name known to the adversaries.  Shine into our hearts the knowledge of your glory in the face of Jesus Christ.  In His name I pray.  Amen.

Humility and Death to Self ~ Chapter 10

In this Year of Humility we have been learning from Andrew Murray’s Humility (PDF) the meaning, the means, and the working of humility in the Christian life. In this tenth chapter we come to the aim of humility, the end goal, and that is, death. Let us remember where humility originated, and follow its course to the effect it has in our own lives.

Humility began in heaven with God. In Jesus He condescended to the human level, so that He might save us from our sinful state. Christ, in humility and obedience to the Father’s will, with no plans of His own, gave up His position of glory to live a life here on earth, a life that He would share with us. For Him to accomplish this act for our salvation He had to humble Himself in order to die.

climber_offering_help_h_27770948_stdWhat if, in a very strategic situation, you need help? Someone offers, but you refuse, because the terms of the one who is able to help you are not to your liking. You die because you refused what could have saved your life.

What if, in a life-threatening position, you have the opportunity to live, but you cannot let go of something that you are holding on to.

These are both cases that are analogous to refusal of the salvation that is offered in Christ.

Again, think of life that is promised if we not only let go of things that we hold dear in this life, but to give up our own life. Death to self is the only means of true life. And humility is the only means of coming to the end of self. Without humility there is no promise for life.  True humility leads us to die to self. In all this we see that the true life is the humble life that is ours in Christ; now and for eternity.

“Whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”
Matthew 16:25

Revelation, Desire, Prayer, Reality
I speak from experience, as I say that humility is not a human trait, but that gift from heaven, through the Spirit of Jesus Christ, given to men for the abundant life that He promised those who come to Him. As much as I desire to live the humble life it seems still a supernatural life that I look forward to and pray for. As soon as I think I have a little humility, the oppressive spirit of the enemy assaults, and pride rears its ugly head.
(Oppression is a subject that I am studying and hope to write about.)

In Paul’s letters to the Romans and the Galatians he teaches us that the flesh and the Spirit are at war against each other. The hope (another gift) that we are given keeps us in prayer and more watchfulness against the wiles of the devil. He wants us dead, but not to self.

These truths are revealed to us by the Spirit, regenerating us with a new heart and a new spirit; so that we, seeing our ignorance and pride come to repentance and faith, our first step of humility toward growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. One step leads to another as we desire this humility, pray for it, and by His working, humble ourselves, deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him.


God Uses All Things for Our Humbling
Every time I read this book I come away with the same impressive statement Murray makes in this chapter. It is similar to Romans 8:28-29. It has made a difference in my life to see everything under God’s sovereignty working through everything whatever He wants to do in my life.

“Accept every humiliation, look upon every fellow-man who tries or vexes you, as a means of grace to humble you. Use every opportunity of humbling yourself before your fellow-man as a help to remain humble before God. It is by the mighty strengthening of His Holy Spirit that God reveals Christ fully in you.”

“But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”
Romans 8:25

Dear Father, you knew when you started all this, that we would need everything from you to make it work to your glory. All that you expect from us is supernatural and beyond our doing; but you have put it into our hearts and promised us, that you are exceedingly abundantly able to do more than we can ask for or imagine, by the power of your Spirit working in us. Thank you for coming down to us that you might bring us up to yourself. Enable us to die to self; to raise up by your divine power to live in praise unto you.
“Of your great goodness make known to me and take from my heart every kind and form and degree of pride; and awaken in me the deepest depth and truth of that humility which can make me capable of your light and your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

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Humility and Faith ~ Chapter 9

Who of us, born of flesh and blood, could honestly say that we don’t care what other people think of us? There is a healthy attitude of how we ought to appear to others as far as our manner and conduct. Our desire should be to reflect the image of Christ. In this chapter of Andrew Murray’s Humility (PDF) he is speaking of the pride of man that seeks the honor and glory of men, instead of the glory of God. This concern is not for what God thinks or approves, but what makes us look good to other people, winning their honor and praise. He even goes so far as to say that a lot of our service in the church is good, but done for the wrong purpose.

Again, he gets to the point of pride, especially as it concerns our faith.

True faith cannot manifest itself where there is pride, but is birthed in humility; and so, does it live and grow. The higher Christian life that is spoken of here is out of reach to those who continue in their pride. He uses the illustration of this life as “compared to objects in a shop window — one can see them clearly and yet could not reach them. If told to stretch out his hand and take, a man would answer, “I cannot; there is a thick pane of plate glass between me and them.” Likewise, Christians may clearly see the blessed promises of perfect peace and rest, of overflowing love and joy, of abiding communion and fruitfulness, yet feel that there is something in-between hindering the true possession.”   Pride keeps us from reaching or grasping the blessings that God has provided for us in Christ.

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In Jesus’ words, “How can ye believe which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?”  He is showing the limitations of faith while we are seeking honor from other people instead of God.

Faith is described as what grace bestows in our dependency.Humility is simply the disposition which prepares the soul for living on trust. Even the most secret breathing of pride —in self-seeking, self-will, self-confidence, or self-exaltation—is just the strengthening of that self which cannot enter into the Kingdom or possess the things of the Kingdom, because it refuses to allow God to be what He is and must be—the all in all.”

Seeking to See
Can we, without humility,  even see what is in the window?  Nicodemus came to Jesus privately because he had heard Him speaking of the kingdom.  He was looking for something from Jesus.  Jesus told Nicodemus that he had to be born again to even see the kingdom. We all must be born of the Spirit, receiving the new heart, spirit, and life of Christ with new eyes to see Christ and the kingdom.

 “Faith is the organ or sense for the perception and apprehension of the heavenly world and its blessings. As long as we take glory from one another, as long as we jealously guard the glory of this life, we cannot receive the glory that comes from God. Salvation comes through a cross and a crucified Christ. Salvation is the fellowship with the crucified Christ in the Spirit of His cross. The cross, the death, and the grave, into which Jesus humbled Himself, were His path to the glory of God. And they are our path.

 As we learned in previous chapters the nature of humility in us is the same as in Jesus. He told His disciples that they would have to take up their own crosses daily if they would follow Him (Luke 9:23).   The reality of His humility in us brings us in faith and repentance to sacrifice all that we are and have for the name of Christ and His kingdom.
He is the pearl of great price; which when we find will sell everything else.  Humility is the only means of seeing Him; and it is the means whereby we not only see, but we receive and enjoy the treasures that are stored and displayed in Him now and for eternity.

 “Let us gladly accept whatever can humble us before God or men — this alone is the path to the glory of God.”

 “Brethren ! nothing can cure you of the desire to receive honor from men, or of the sensitivity and pain and anger which come when it is not given, except giving yourself to seek glory of the all-glorious God to be everything to you. You will be freed from the glory of men and of self, and be content and glad to be nothing. Out of this nothingness you will grow strong in faith, giving glory to God. You will find that the deeper you sink in humility before Him, the nearer He is to fulfill every desire of your faith.”

“That the trial of your faith,
being much more precious than of gold that perisheth,
though it be tried with fire,

might be found unto praise and honour and glory
at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”

1 Peter 1:7

Dear Father in heaven, only you know our need. Open our eyes to see Christ, give us a new vision of the treasures of heaven which you have prepared for those who love you. Enable us to seek your honor only ~ for your glory and our joy.
“Of your great goodness make known to me and take from my heart every kind and form and degree of pride; and awaken in me the deepest depth and truth of that humility which can make me capable of your light and your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Humility and Sin ~ Chapter 8

To benefit by all that Andrew Murray wrote on this subject we must each read this for ourselves. What I am attempting to do with this review of chapter 8 of Humility (PDF) is to combine this with Romans 5:12-21 after the preaching of our pastor’s August 31 sermon.

After studying Murray’s concerns for our humility we see the main purpose for his writing the book. He is trying to get us past our sin in Adam to our relationship with Christ in His gift of righteousness and grace.

We can never forget that we are sinners saved by grace but we do not continue in our sin, nor do we habitually draw attention to ourselves seeing only the sin side of man. If we understand Paul’s writing in the letter to the Romans we are reminded of the depravity of man by which the sin of Adam plunged the whole human race. But more, and far above this reality, is the continual teaching of the greater work and nature of the last Adam, Jesus Christ, in whom we are raised from death in Adam to life in Him.

Disobedience, sin and death came through the first son, Adam, even before the law; before God told other men what they should and shouldn’t do. We who live, after the fact and since the law was established, share in the life of another Son, an obedient Son; through whom forgiveness, and righteousness is ours. But do we believe this and by faith receive this gift; and after it is received know and live this life that is in Christ?

Grace and Humility
As Murray points out, using Paul as the example, true humility is not being humbled because we sin. True humility is living in light of the grace that has saved us from our sinning, while still remembering that we are sinners, saved by God’s grace. We are not saying that we never sin, but that we are no longer under its power. We do not continue sinning as if Christ has not saved us from it. When we understand this we will increase in faith and the humility of Christ.

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“The very essence of grace is to deal with and take away sin, and it must always be so. It is not sin, but God’s grace showing a man and constantly reminding him what a sinner he was, that will keep him truly humble.

I fear that there are many who have sought to humble themselves by strong expressions of self-condemnation and self-denunciation, and yet have to confess with sorrow that a humble spirit, accompanied by kindness, compassion meekness, and forbearance, is still as far off as ever. Being occupied with self, even amid the deepest self-abhorrence, can never free us from self. It is the revelation of God, not only by the law condemning sin, but by His grace delivering from it, that will make us humble. The law may break the heart with fear. But it is only grace that works that sweet humility which becomes a joy to the soul as its second nature.”

Many I talk to are struggling in their faith and growth in the Lord. They seem not able to overcome their doubts and fears.  Some say that they are “hanging in there:” others say, “I am surviving.” Many are depressed and anxious about life.

Where grace abounds there is life, abundant life that overcomes sin and humbles us as we look to Christ, seeing His victory for us over sin. We should be thriving, even in the middle of the madness in which we live. I understand where these are. I too have struggled over the years, prayed, and waited. I am now, at the age of 75 seeing a tremendous growth of the power of God’s grace in my own life, more than I ever asked for; and it is astounding and phenomenal. As Jacob said to God, “I have waited for thy salvation.” It is ordered in His timing and in His way through His everlasting covenant for His people, who are brought to Him through Christ.

A New Level
A few days ago a friend made reference to her daughter’s piano teacher who is taking her daughter “to a new level.” Music students rate themselves as “beginner, intermediate, or advanced.” Not many go from beginner to advanced, but from one level to another as they are trained and practiced in what they are being taught. This can be applied to our lives as disciples of Christ. Does not our Lord Jesus Christ challenge us to a new level of wisdom and understanding of His grace? If so, we will find ourselves more humble than we can imagine. We will be filled and enabled to thrive on the abounding grace and the abundant life that He promised.

As we continue to see our need, to desire this abounding grace, to pray and believe as we wait on Him, He will not fail to fulfill His promises to us, in us, and through us.
Growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we now live, should be an ongoing process as we pray, read, study, meditate, and wait. We should be advancing in our faith to higher levels of knowledge and holiness. This is a process working in us that will not exalt us, nor of which we can boast, but rather one that will humble us more and more.

“It is the sinner dwelling in the full light of God’s holy, redeeming love ~ in the experience of that full indwelling of divine love, which comes through Christ and the Holy Spirit ~ who cannot be anything but humble. Not to be occupied with your sin, but to be occupied with God, brings deliverance from self.”


Dear Father, you, the God of all grace, have called us unto your eternal glory through Jesus Christ.  You do not leave us to grow by ourselves.  You know what we need ~ grace and more grace.  Work in us according to your own good pleasure that we may witness of the abundant life in Christ that humbles us and glorifies you.
“Of your great goodness make known to me and take from my heart every kind and form and degree of pride; and awaken in me the deepest depth and truth of that humility which can make me capable of your light and your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus’ name I pray and praise you.   Amen.  

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HUMILITY AND HOLINESS ~ Chapter 7

imagesIn this seventh chapter Andrew Murray brings us to the heart of his message, the original title of Humility ~ the Beauty of Holiness. (PDF) He reminds us that humility is the fruit of holiness; the inward impression and the outward expression of holiness. He has written in previous chapters that humility is the root of the Christian life. It is both root and fruit of the working within the Christian heart; and the express truth of our relationship in Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit working within us. From beginning to the end of this life it will always be Christ in us; His love, His mercy, His grace, His humility. It is in this working that we find no place for pride; either at home, in the workplace, or in our public worship.

Murray speaks to the Pharisee and the publican here, warning of the work of pride even in our worship. Without saying it we are in danger of thinking that we may be holier than others. Pride creeps in where we least expect it.

“Self find its cause of complacency in that which is just cause for thanksgiving, in the very thanksgiving which we render to God, and in the very confession that God has done it all. Pride can clothe itself in the garments of praise or of penitence.”

 Praise or Love
Often wondering which is easier ~ to praise God or to love Him ~ I think the question may apply here.

It is easy to stand with others each week in public worship, joining others in singing and praise. But when the worship time is over, and praise is done, we return to our usual dispositions and conversation. Love and humility toward others outside of worship is the true testing of holiness.

 “You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy
and have separated you from the peoples,
that you should be mine.”
Leviticus 20:26

What is Holiness?
It would be beneficial to us to take a few minutes (at least) to look at the meaning of holiness. The suffix “ness” means “a state of” or “condition.” Put this together with the meaning of “holy” (set apart; sacred, righteous) and we see that holiness is the state of being holy, set apart unto God for His righteousness to be displayed in us. When we live in the reality that this is the work of God’s Spirit for us and in us ~ not our own doing ~ we are in awesome wonder of His state of holiness into which He has brought us.

“For the Lord takes pleasure in His people;
He will beautify the humble with salvation.”
Psalm 149:4

In His own mercy He has saved us and brought us from the state of sinfulness into the state of holiness. (Colossians 1:12-13) His mercy then is coupled with humility in our hearts to live humbly and in service to God and others.

True worship then has no thought of others in it; but only our recognition and praise of His holiness and mercy to us. Together with others in worship and service we live in fellowship remembering where we were before He brought us to Himself in Christ.
Where others may be weak in their faith we seek to encourage and serve them in their relationship with Christ.

“The power of a perfect love forgets itself and finds its blessedness in blessing others — in bearing with and honoring them, however feeble they may be. The power of this love is given where the spirit of love is shed abroad in the heart, where the divine nature comes to a full birth, and where Christ, the meek and lowly Lamb of God is truly formed within.”

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 “Come and let us flee to Jesus and hide ourselves in Him until we are clothed with His humility. That alone is our holiness.”

Dear Father, we are so prone to the work of the flesh; to pride, even of holiness. Do your work in us to keep us close to you, that we may be ever watchful against self and our own thoughts. Keep us focused on you; our hearts centered in Christ and Christ in us; and our lives ordered according to your everlasting covenant in all things. Keep our thoughts by the power of your Spirit on that which is true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, of virtue and worthy of praise. Let us serve today wherever you have placed us. In Jesus name I pray. Amen

(In Note D there is a blessed suggestion for our practice in the state of humility. )

Related articles:
A Year for Humility  ~ The Preface

Images: Holiness
Psalm 96:9

HUMILITY in Daily Life ~ Chapter 6

Growing up in the church I often heard of symbolisms of the cross of Christ. The one I remember was the vertical post as representative of the relationship between God and the believer; the horizontal bar representing the relationship between believers. Christ and His sacrifice there are seen as the center of both relationships, working in both directions.

In this sixth chapter, as in other chapters of Humility (PDF) there is an emphasis on relationships and power within relationships.

Love and Humility
Reference is made to the book of 1 John regarding love as God means it be. Though we say that we love God it is not the love of God if it is not evident in our relationships with others.

The same thing is true of humility. As both love and humility are His attributes, revealed in Christ and His work on the cross, “humility before God is nothing if not proved in humility before men.”

These are both the work of Christ’s life possessing us, working by His Holy Spirit of love and humility in us.

In particular Murray points in this chapter to our relationships within the church; to those in fellowship with Christ. How difficult it seems to serve and worship together with a heart of humility. Like children of “little faith” there is a lack of compassion and gentleness. Have we not all experienced this ~ from both sides?   I have been the brunt of sharp words. These do not grieve me as much as knowing that I have spoken things that were not necessary, nor to the glory of God. These cut more than any others. When I think of the cross I am reminded that Christ’s sacrifice was to deliver me from my selfish nature; and to show His love to others.

It Is Hard For Those Who are Rich to be Humble
“The humble man seeks at all times to act on the rule, In honor preferring one another; Serve one another; Each esteeming others better than himself; Submitting yourselves one to another.”
“It is often asked ~ how can we count others better than ourselves, when we see that they are far below us in wisdom and in holiness, in natural gifts, or in grace received?”

Some who are more knowledgeable in the truths of the Bible lord it over others. This is the nature of all men who are without Christ; and to be delivered from it must be the power of the Spirit of Christ working His nature in us. We are rich in the things of God not to be “puffed up” in our knowledge, but to “reveal the humility of Jesus to our fellowmen.

Without realizing it we, in our wisdom and knowledge of God, are sometimes promoting ourselves instead of Christ.

Many have the “virtues of boldness, joy, contempt of the world, zeal, and self-sacrifice while the deeper and gentler virtues are scarcely thought of or valued. ~ the more divine and heavenly graces, more distinctly connected with the cross and the death of self.”

Repetition and References
There is much repetition in this chapter, as well as in the whole book. This is true of the whole word of God. We keep seeing the same things over and over. As you read this chapter you will notice those statements and references. Pinpoint the particular statement that you want to remember. If we take time to meditate and memorize what we read, we can as we continue to pray for it, receive understanding and the authority of it working by the power of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and lives.

“Let us be content with nothing less than taking each of these texts as the promise of what God will work in us.”

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels,
that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
2 Corinthians 4:6-7

 The Main Point
The main verse repeated in this chapter is good to remember; to pray for; and anticipate.

“Put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, forebearing one another, and forgiving one another, even as Christ forgave you.” (Colossians 3:12-13)

In this verse is the symbolism of the whole of the cross of Christ. Where He stretched out His arms and died to forgive us we too are clothed in His righteousness, love, and humility; and enabled to reach out, not only in fellowship to our brothers and sisters in Christ, but to all men. It is to those with whom we live daily that are the witnesses of our humility. Caring for my mother and Jerry has been and continues to be a means for God’s working in me; but I still fall very short of this grace, and long for His working the love and humility of Christ within me.

Prepared and Waiting
At this point we are halfway through the book. So far we have a knowledge of true humility, the conviction of our need, the desires and the prayers for the humility of Christ. As we are now in preparation we continue to pray and wait for the “supernatural, heavenly, divine, spiritual, reality” (Waiting on God by Andrew Murray).

“Have full assurance that where He is enthroned in the heart, His humility and gentleness will be one of the streams of living water that flow from within us.”

imagesDear Father, you have brought us to the point of fervently praying and diligently seeking to have the nature and disposition of Christ, the power of His love and humility poured out from heaven into vessels that you have chosen for your honor. We desire this sweet and lowly gentleness that is the mark of the Lamb. We relinquish all to you for the work and power of your Holy Spirit in us. Enable us to look on every brother or sister who tries or vexes us as your means of grace, as your instrument for our purification.

“Of your great goodness make known to me and take from my heart every kind and form and degree of pride; and awaken in me the deepest depth and truth of that humility which can make me capable of your light and your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus’ name I pray.   Amen.

A Year for Humility  ~ The Preface

Image John 7:38

Humility in the Disciples of Jesus ~ Chapter 5


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If you have been with me from the beginning of this review on Humility you know that we have gotten into something that is beyond any of our speculations. We have learned that humility is not just another commodity that we can add to our purchases in this life.

For a long time I have observed that Christ in Christianity is not just another order that we place before God, but a supernatural work of God in our hearts, minds, and lives, as He is preparing a people with whom to share His kingdom and His glory.

I am now concluding that no one will be a part of His glory without the preparation for it, and this includes the humility of Christ. Yes; are we not learning that humility is the first, the chief, and the root of all His gifts of grace? “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” Ephesians 2:8

Is it not His mercy that brings us to Christ in a supernatural new birth of His Spirit (John 3: 3, Romans 8:1-9) to grow us in grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ?
(
2 Peter 3:18)

His purpose for His grace and our faith is given in Romans 8:29 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

As we see this development of God’s grace in the lives of Christ’s disciples in this chapter in Andrew Murray’s Humility (PDF) we are encouraged in the thought of “how real our participation can be in the perfect triumph of Christ’s humility over the pride Satan had breathed into man. “

As we remember key words from this book we see in this chapter the repetition of the word power. We understand that just as we have no power to birth ourselves, whether physically or spiritually (this is the supernatural work that we referred to earlier) we have no power of our own to cast out the power of pride and self; or to grow and to conform ourselves to Christ’s image.

Three points keep us on track in this chapter.
1. How much there can be of earnest and active Christianity while humility is still sadly wanting.
2. How weak all external teaching and all personal effort are, to conquer pride or give the meek and lowly heart.
3. It is only by the indwelling of Christ in His divine humility that we become truly humble.

There were times when Jesus used the expression “O, ye of little faith,” knowing that his disciples were not yet mature in their understanding of His calling. We, like them are eager to serve in our roles as newborns, yet we are not developed in our faith. For most, we leave off the study and devotion that is needed to grow and learn what we need to know. And even with our study and prayer and earnest seeking of the kingdom of God and His righteousness we cannot by these acquire this power of humility.

During this year’s desire for the humility of Christ there has been a continual reminder of our limitations. We are limited by our lack of knowledge, understanding, and power; but more by God’s own will, His choosing, His timing, and His good pleasure.

We see this limitation in Jesus’ disciples. They spent three years with Him, in His presence, seeing His example, and hearing His teachings. They had a limited knowledge and understanding until the supernatural power of God came upon them at Pentecost.

pentecostThose years with Him were only for preparation. The power of the Holy Spirit that came after Jesus’ ascension was the fulfilling of Jesus’ words of the promise of the Father, (Luke 24:49, Acts 1:4) after He had finished His redemptive work. It was to establish their leadership of the church, through which the work of Christ would be known, where believers would receive the teachings of Jesus; grow in their knowledge and understanding; and be conformed to His image; and by which others would be brought to follow Christ.

Other Reminders From Jesus’ Ministry
We remember Jesus’ words to Simon Peter before he understood what Jesus and His kingdom was about; “ And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Was this not the change that would come after His ascension?
In his pride he responded; “Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death”. (Luke 22:31-33) Then he denied Jesus three times.

Jesus’ words in Luke 11:13 reveals the place and need of the Holy Spirit; “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?”

“The law of the Spirit of life in Christ has delivered us from the law of sin and death,” (Romans 8:2) bringing us to the knowledge and understanding of this life in Christ; to experience His nature and disposition in us.

As in all of life we want things immediately, but as this life in Christ is totally different than any we have ever known, we are learning that it does not all come at once. Jesus at one point told His disciples, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” (John 16:12)

The Preparation
From this chapter we see the work of Christ and His Spirit in our hearts and lives for this necessary grace of humility.
1. The teaching (revelation from the written word and the Holy Spirit) and example.
2. Our convictions, our desires, our prayers and our vain efforts.
3. The reality of the Spirit of Christ living in us and producing His own nature and disposition.

“Nothing can avail but that the new nature, in its divine humility, will be revealed in power to take the place of the old. It will become as truly our very nature as the old ever was.

“Pride is ours, from Adam, and rules in us with such terrible power, because it is ourself—our very nature. Humility (from Christ) must be ours in the same way; it must be our very self, our very nature.   As natural and easy as it has been to be proud, it must—it will be—to be humble. The promise is, “Where,” even in the heart, “sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Romans 5;20)

How long must we pray, desiring what is promised in His word. It is not for me to say. I pray and wait, even as the disciples did for the promise of the Father. I know that He is doing His work, for I desire to desire what He desires. I live each day in anticipation of His will and His work, grateful for a crumb from the master’s table; waiting for the feast, and telling others about it. I pray this humility of Christ for me and all His people, so that we may receive all that He has promised to us and prepared for us ( 1 Corinthians 2:9).

All the Work of Christ
In whatever category we find ourselves listed at the end of this chapter we can in His timing understand, desire and pray for; and eventually experience the deliverance and victory. Even so, we will always need to expect more of the fullness of Jesus, our Lord, our Savior, our Redemmer.

Jesus life and death was all for this purpose ~ the abundant life that is rooted in His humility. From heaven to earth; from earth to heaven; from heaven, by His own Spirit, to the hearts of His people Christ has come, and continues to live and reign in our hearts and lives ~ in our preparation for His eternal glory.

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord,
are changed into the same image from glory to glory,
even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
2 Corinthians 3:18

 Dear heavenly Father, we wait on you, desiring the fulfillment of the promises that are ours in your Son, for His humility to be revealed in us, for our conformity to His image; for the abundant life that is in Him alone.  Forgive us for our impatience, and anything that may prevent our receiving all that you have prepared for us.

“Of your great goodness make known to me and take from my heart every kind and form and degree of pride; and awaken in me the deepest depth and truth of that humility which can make me capable of your light and your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus’ name I pray.   Amen.

Related Sermon:  Al Martin ~ The Indicatives of Grace

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Humility in the Teaching of Jesus ~ Chapter 4

How important are the teachings of Jesus in the world today?

The writer of the book of Hebrews began with these words, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
Hebrews 1:1-3

On the mount of transfiguration Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” (exclamation point!)
Matthew 17:1-13

How often are we like Peter, thinking of what we can do for God. He wants us to listen and hear and obey. Like Peter, our human nature of pride excludes our paying attention when we should.

Jesus is quoted in John 6:63; “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”
He was the Word of God in human flesh speaking the words by which we needed to live. He was that seed planted in the ground, to die, to bring forth new life in us. That seed must be planted in fertile soil. The heart filled with the humility of Christ is the only medium in which His life lives and grows.

As important as Jesus’ example of humility are His teachings on humility. We skim over the things that seem less important, especially when they are not a main emphasis of the churches teaching. Andrew Murray points to this in his writings in Humility. (PDF)

In the fourth chapter we have the doctrine of humility spelled out very clearly by Jesus; and it behooves us to study these, to memorize them and to meditate on these until they are part of our daily lives. We will see that these teachings are not the usual things that we learn, even in church.

From last month’s study and our meditations on Isaiah 53 we should come into this chapter with grateful hearts for Jesus’ humility, His suffering and His sacrifice for us. We should be willing to daily look to Him as the author and finisher of our faith. If He is our Lord and Savior, having died to take our sins upon Himself, to make us righteous before the Father, we should be continually studying His words and His teachings. As is the master, so is His servant. If our faith is real we will be seeking His kingdom and His righteousness first and foremost in this life.

As we remember in previous chapters we are talking about relationship ~ relationship to God through discipleship in Christ.  Humility, as we have been learning, is the root of our life in Christ. Without it there is nothing to be gained by what we say and do. We must read, and we must remember what Jesus still teaches today through the written word of God.

The Doctrine of Humility
Jesus is the only true teacher. We cannot look to man for this doctrine, but only to Jesus Christ. Let’s examine the main teachings from Murray’s nine points in this chapter.

From Matthew 5:3-5 we understand that the “poor in spirit” may be poor physically, but the meaning has to do with the heart and the spirit of a person. This person knows that there is nothing good in him. He, unlike Simon Peter, (before He understood Jesus’ teachings) has nothing to give, but must constantly look to God for all things. The “meek” are not looking for anything for themselves, but all for God and others. God will give heaven and earth to these.

There are two examples that Jesus uses.
1. In Matthew 11:29 He is the example. It is in His own Spirit of meekness that He gives us rest for our souls. Peace with God is through our humility in Christ.
2. In Matthew 18:4 Jesus uses the example of a little child as the “greatest imagesin the kingdom of heaven.” This “little child” would have been quiet in the middle of these proceedings, listening; in awe of Jesus. “This little child” was still dependent.

There are examples of those who needed humility.
1. His disciples often disputed about and asked for the prominent places in His kingdom. The “chief among” them, and the “greatest among” them would be the “servant. Even as the Son of Man came to serve.”
His teachings were those of the kingdom of heaven. We who are His, His children, His people, are His servants. Our glory is to be His servant, as we practice servanthood here on the earth.

2. The Pharisees were used to the chief places. In Matthew 12:11 Jesus was emphatic; “He that is greatest among you shall be your servant.”   And in Luke 14:7-11, in the parable of the guest who would be invited to come up higher He said, “He that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” He spoke the same thing after the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. (Luke 18:14) “In our worship of God everything is worthless that is not pervaded by deep, true humility toward God and man.”

The doctrine of humility is all about the kingdom of God. Unbelievers live in their own worlds, but we are called with a holy, high, and heavenly calling to live with and for God, not for ourselves. The new heart that is ours in Christ is the new wineskin that receives the new wine of Christ’s life and His humility.  (Ezekiel 36:25; Luke 5:38)

Murray points out that we don’t think low enough; perhaps, that one may think humility is not becoming to a man. Can we be too humble? We must receive Christ as He is and live by His teachings here if we are to live with Him eternally. We understand by Jesus’ teachings that true humility is the only way and means to heaven; the reality is by being the servant of all.

Humility, as it is the mark of Christ the heavenly, will be the one standard of glory in heaven. The lowliest is the nearest to God.” If we think of any glory at all, it will not be until we enter the portals of glory with Christ; and then it will be the glory of being His servant.

“See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:” Hebrews 12:25

 “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”

Jesus Christ is not only the mediator but also the means of all life. In Him we see our lack and need of humility; and more than this we see and receive from Him what He is and teaches us to be. God’s word came to us in Christ, and does not return to Him void, but fulfills in us His servants all that He planned in our creation and redemption. As we long and pray for His spirit of humility we look for its precious fruit according to His promises.

word-will-not-return-void“For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)

Dear Father, I praise you for your commands of what you planned for us to be, and for the promises that come with them. Rule in our hearts and give us such a longing for Christ and His teachings that we discipline ourselves by His words; knowing the authority of your word commanded in us by your Holy Spirit. Make us to know the joy of humility. In our service to you and others let nothing be too menial or vexing.

“Of your great goodness make known to me and take from my heart every kind and form and degree of pride; and awaken in me the deepest depth and truth of that humility which can make me capable of your light and your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus’ name I pray.   Amen.

 But drops of grief can ne’er repay the debt of love I owe;
Here Lord I give myself away; Tis all that I can do.
(Alas!, and Did My Savior Bleed ~ Isaac Watts 1707)

Related Article: Humility in the Life of Jesus ~ Chapter 3

 

 

 

Three Views of Me

Jerry drove 30 minutes to our daughter’s house after sitting in church two hours. When we got there he took off his prosthesis and sat in his wheelchair for two more hours. As is the routine, he suggested (letting me know that our time together was coming to an end) that we needed to think about leaving for home. Enjoying the time (and honestly not wanting to go) my response was, “I’m thinking about it.”

At first, I didn’t understand why our family laughed. Our responses to each other at home are sometimes humorous , making our circumstances a little easier. We are used to our manner of communication, and laugh with each other.

After Lee said that I was being “sassy” I realized that others have a different view of us than we do. They see and hear differently than we do.

This incident was an example and an illustration for this article that I had wanted to write.

There are three views of me:
1.  how I see myself
2.  how others see me
3.  how God sees me.

I can only see myself if I go to a mirror; 2011-05-15_1645and then I have only one dimension. Either I look at my frontal view; or with another mirror see a back view. There is a strict limitation. When I leave the mirror I cannot see me at all.

Others have a continual and more rounded view when we are with them. They have other angles that we never see. Yet, they are limited to what they see or hear at any one time.

God has the perfect view, from His own creation and power of dimension; not only from the outside, but inside, seeing the heart, and knowing our thoughts, always.

 “For the Lord seeth not as man seeth;
for man looketh on the outward appearance,
but the Lord looketh on the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7

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Seeing What I Need to See

I don’t need to spend more time in front of the mirror. It is not the outside that I need to see.  I see enough of me.

I would do well to ask and to know what others see and hear; and in humility desire
to change what needs to be changed.

The only means of knowing the truth about myself, with the knowledge and power to be what I should be, is to seek the Lord’s view; to pray for and live in humility. This is His working when I daily seek His kingdom and His righteousness through His word and prayer.

Though there is never any intention of being disrespectful to Jerry I realize that how others perceive our relationship may be different than what we want to portray.
The Lord has made it a joy for me to serve Jerry as his wife and caregiver.
Jerry is always gracious to allow me time with the family whenever we can be together. I need to remember that this is a sacrifice for him as he continues to deal with his discomfort and the soreness in his leg.

Dear Father, forgive me for what seems disrespectful to others, although Jerry does not take it that way. Help me to be more aware of how long Jerry has been sitting, and the rest that he needs; to be immediately responsive, instead of just “thinking about it.”   Work in me the humility of Christ that I may be the caregiver that you want me to be; that others may see your working in me ~ for your glory and our joy.
In Jesus’ name I pray.   Amen.

Image Sources:  Baby,  X-ray 

HUMILITY in the Life of Jesus ~ Chapter 3

“Are you clothed with humility?” Andrew Murray leaves us with this question in the third chapter of Humility. To understand what he is asking we must look carefully at this most important chapter in his book.jesuslavalospiesasusdiscipulos1 PDF
I am led to ask another question, “What does real humility look like?”
We find the answer to both questions when we look into the inner life of our Lord Jesus Christ. If we seek something of the Lord wholeheartedly we find and experience the blessedness therein.   In Jesus’ state of mind and heart it is this beauty and blessedness of heaven that we see.   His nature and disposition was that of the one who came to serve the will of His heavenly Father and the men he came to save; so that He might work in us the same mind, heart and disposition.

Isaiah 53
I suggest that during this month we read Isaiah 53 ~ the prophecy of the promised Messiah. A daily meditation would help us to understand this as the prophecy of Jesus Christ. His life, His humility, His actions were lived with the recognition that He was to fulfill this prophecy.

“He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Isaiah 53:11-12

….From His childhood Jesus knew He “must be about His Father’s business.” Luke 2:49
….In His baptism He was identified as both servant to the Father and to man, “to fulfill all righteousness” in obedience to the Father and to take on the ministry of our redemption. Matthew 3:15
….In the calling of His disciples to testify of His character and His mission of the Father’s will and kingdom he showed them, “I am among you as he that serves.” Luke 22:27
“For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45
….To witness of the purpose and power of His life He said, “My meat is to do the will of Him who sent me, and to finish His work.” John 4:34
….As the good shepherd He said, “As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.”  John 10:15
….His constant direction to the apostles was toward the destined hour; And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem.” Luke 9:51
….At the last supper He washed his disciples feet, and, as he shared a cup of wine, said, “This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” Luke 22:20
….In the garden of Gethsemane he struggled in his flesh with sweat drops of blood and prayer; and then in the state of humility said, “Not my will, but thine be done.” Matthew 26:39
….In surrender to the authorities that spit upon Him, reviled and questioned Him he fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 53:7, “he answered him nothing.” Luke 23:9
….On the cross “he was numbered among the transgressors.” Luke 22:37
….In His final words, “Into your hands I commit my spirit,” and “It is finished,” we see the will of the Father and our redemption accomplished through His life and His death. Luke 23:46; John 19:30

I have always heard that we should exclude the pronoun “I” from our writing and our conversation. It is interesting that Jesus’ statements include a lot of these pronouns; but they are all seen behind the words “not” and “nothing.”  

“I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will” (John 6:38)

“I do nothing of Myself” (John 8:28)

“I seek not Mine own glory” (John 8:50)

Description of True Humility
You will find in this chapter the following descriptions of the humility of Christ and His people. Look for and underline these and note how these relate.

Consent   ~ to let God be all
Surrenders ~ Himself to His working alone
Entire subordination
Essential nature and life ~ of redemption
Resigned Himself
Given myself
Entire self-renunciation
Absolute submission and dependence   ~ upon the Father’s will
Giving everything to God ~ honor and glory that is due to Him
State of mind, spirit and disposition
Self-denial ~ to which our Savior calls us
Empty vessel ~ which God must fill
Being and doing nothing by ourselves   ~ that God may be all
Perfect resignation
Full consent ~ to be and to do nothing of ourselves
Death to sin and self
A channel ~ through which the living God can manifest the riches of His                                                wisdom, power and goodness
Life yielded to God ~ that He might work in it.

The Relationship and the Power
This relationship that we see between God the Father, and God the Son is the example of our relationship with Jesus Christ. This life he came to live and to give us. The redemption that He purchased by total obedience to the will of the Father is His means of restoring us to a life of humility ~ the only true relationship between man and God.

We learn from Jesus’ life that humility for His followers is not a one time response to the good news of our redemption, but like him, it is His heart, mind, spirit, and nature working in us always.
Jesus was one of a kind, the only begotten of the Father. No other person will have the same purpose that He had; but we have the same Spirit working in us, the same power, to bring us to die to ourselves, so that we may experience a true relationship with Him.

What does real humility look like in us?  The reality of humility is first, our being overwhelmed with the greatness of His redeeming love, (Preface) and what He went through to save us.  Only then can we sacrificially offer ourselves to God for Him to accomplish His purpose in us.  It is giving up our own plans so as to be His servant to men; beginning where He has placed us; continuing to seek His kingdom and His righteousness, His guidance and plans.

If we cannot yet see this in ourselves let us focus on the example and the power of this heavenly nature in God, the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ. We must continue to study God’s word and the life, the love, and work of Christ.

We may ask ourselves if we are clothed with the humility of Christ. Beyond this we must ask fervently for his nature and disposition.  Even if we think this life of humility is too high for us we must remember that it is His work in us, not ours.

“It is the indwelling Christ who will live His life in us, meek and lowly. We must long for this, above everything, seeking this holy secret of the knowledge of the nature of God as He works all.
We must set aside our ordinary religion to secure this, the first and chief of the marks of Christ within us.”

“And begin to praise God that there is opened up to you in Jesus a heavenly humility of which you have hardly known, and through which a heavenly blessedness (which you possibly have never yet tasted) can come into you.”

What in Jesus’ words or life has overwhelmed and humbled you?

Dear heavenly Father, we praise you for condescending to us in the person of Christ your Son, revealing His humility, without which we would never have received your forgiveness and reconciliation. In your love for us and your desire to bring us to yourself you gave us your Son, who willingly gave Himself to you and us. Thank you for making us your own through your plan of redemption. We praise you for your marvelous grace; and pray that you would continue by the same power of your Spirit that was working in Jesus to work His humility in us, conforming us to His image.
“Of your great goodness make known to me and take from my heart every kind and form and degree of pride; and awaken in me the deepest depth and truth of that humility which can make me capable of your light and your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.