Monday, February 21, 2011
Lately the theme of self has been rising up strong in my heart. Self-righteousness. Self-justification. Last night was the first night at a small cell group that is springing up from a church whose doors have closed due to lack of a pastor, and I went with two other young men here from Nauta. To my shame, my first thought, my first instinct was pride. “Look what I am doing! Now I have something to write home about, now I have something to show to justify my existence here as a missionary. This is what missionaries are supposed to do, right? Bible studies, and cell groups, leading people to Christ and teaching and training others!” These are good things, but God sees our heart – and it is laughable to have such an attitude of self-aggrandizement. Naturally, f there is any growth, any revelation of Christ there to their hearts, it will come from the Holy Spirit, not from Holy Crystal. Why do we have this need, this hunger to look good to those around us, even spiritually, to justify ourselves in the eyes of men and not first to be pleasing in the eyes of God? I'll tell you. It's pride, which is straight from the sulfurous pit. Do we feel we are lacking? We look for a way to “prove” ourselves worthy. This is not the way of the cross.
Jesus continually said, “not my will, but Yours be done, Father.” Continually. Daily. Hourly. By the minute. This is humility and this is the opposite of the Satanic pride and selfishness that would devour us.
“We must seek a humility that rests in nothing less than the end and death of self; that gives up all the honor of men, as Jesus did, to seek the honor tha comes from God alone; that absolutely makes and considers itself nothing so that God may be all, so that the Lord alone may be exalted. Until we seek humility in Christ as our chief joy and welcome it at any price, there is very little hope of a religion that will conquer the world.” (Andrew Murray, Humility)
This means to take advantage of every opportunity to be stripped of our pride, to die to self, every opportunity to serve, especially the least of these, every chance to be humbled, even humiliated. If there is one thing that comes to mind that makes you say, “But I can't do THAT... what would people think? They would think that I am a fanatic, a lunatic, a misguided fool. I will look foolish, will be thought less of...” Praise God for that very opportunity and take advantage with joy of the chance to be made less that Christ might be made more. Does God call us to praise Him in a public place? Praise Him!! Does He call us to lay your hands on a sick person, on a dead person even – Lay hands and pray that the power of God may be seen and that He might be glorified!! What is the only thing we can lose? Pride. And praise God for its loss!!!! Let's believe that He who called is faithful, and let His glory shine. His. If there is something that comes to mind that makes us say, “THAT is too much for me – it is a work that is too hard, too dirty, too demeaning,” Praise God for such a chance to lose our sense of “rights” and “privilege” and to serve the only Living God with all your being. If there is someone who comes to mind that pushes our buttons or rubs us the wrong way, one who insults us, takes advantage of us or pokes fun at us, praise God!!! These are the people that we need to remind us that we too were loved by God even when we were rebellious, cruel and in desperate need of a Savior. How then did God treat us? With grace, love and truth. Are we accused? Let God be our defender. Are we misunderstood? Let God be the one who sees and understands us. Not that we might take pride in our humility, but that the glory of the Son of God might be seen in us and not ourselves. Not myself. Praise Him!