Monday, June 14, 2010

Humility in Christ

"Oh Lord, it's hard to be humble...." It's interesting the things we remember from childhood, isn't it? I remember this song word for word from a play my sixth grade class put on in elementary school. (Don't ask me the name of the play or what it was about... I don't remember!)

I love to soak in the beauty of these flowers my husband planted in our flower bed. The colors are so bright, the aroma so sweet. Man has never made anything so beautiful and perfect. Plastic flowers simply cannot compete.

And so the question remains, why IS it so hard to humble ourselves before the Lord? More so, humble ourselves before each other? In Philippians 2, Paul writes about humility and how we are to imitate the humility of Christ: Do nothing out of selfish ambition... in humility consider others better than yourselves. Your attitude should be the same of that as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God.... made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross! (v. 3, 5-8).

As a good friend of mine often asks, are we truly second? Should we not consider ourselves last?

When I'm feeling down or overworked and exhausted, I venture on over to I read about women in underdeveloped countries where giving birth is often considered life threatening and prenatal care is non-existent. About those living in Gaza who are unable to receive the humanitarian aid they need due to a blockade enforced by Israel, designed to restrict weapons from reaching the area. Or simply to read the letters from Diego, a sponsored child in Brazil. One look around our living room makes our financial situation not seem so bad... our two young children have enough toys and books to keep ten small children entertained for the day.

What's the difference between Diego and our two small children? Between the women dying in childbirth in underdeveloped countries and myself, who has given birth twice without any fear of mortality? Between American citizens, with plenty of food and medical supplies within our reach and the citizens of Gaza, who rely on humanitarian aid?

Location. This might make us privileged. But it doesn't make us better. However, it does makes humility harder to come by. Who better to elaborate on this than Jesus himself....

"I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" (Mt 19:23-24).

"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money" (Mt 6:24).

Not to say that we're all filthy rich. But compared to the living situations of those abroad, we are far wealthier than we often credit ourselves as being. Not only does the possession of money potentially endanger our character, but also the desire for it. We tend to scramble our needs with our wants... we need a new car because the old one is looking dingy, but it runs fine. We need a new television because the one we have now isn't a flat screen or HD, but the picture comes through fine. We need to go to the grocery store although we have plenty of boxes of unused food in the pantry. I am particularly guilty of the third 'need' and not too long ago did we replace our huge five year old TV with a new slimmer, lighter model.

A friend of mine spent years living as a missionary in Indonesia. After having to return due to medical issues, they were able to find a home within their budget (it wasn't much!) that needed several renovations in order for it to become a safe living environment for herself and her family. The first time I saw her home, she went through and explained in detail where each and every piece came from. Who donated the cabinet doors, where they were able to find reasonably priced used cabinet handles. She even knew who had given them the wood needed to complete the siding along the walls. Because she had so little, she was that much more thankful for what she did have. Even if it was used and not in a new condition. I don't know about you all, but I often have to remind myself to be thankful for the little things!

We also must take into consideration what transpires within our hearts when we give freely to those in need. When we sponsor children in underdeveloped countries, donate funds to humanitarian relief organizations or even our used clothing to Goodwill. What happens when we give ourselves a big pat on the back? Or discuss how much we've given or what we've done, where we've gone, what we've sent to help others?

Not too long ago, a woman in our small group said "Lou, you seem to be a very humble person". I mentally puffed my chest out and thought, "Yea, I guess I am! Yay for me! I'm humble!". What great conviciton seized me at that moment!!!! Really humble of me, right???

I guess it's true what they say....... Oh Lord, it's hard to humble!!!

Lord, please make within me a truly humble heart. Teach me humility, not within the standards of the flesh, but consistent with humility in Christ.

Have a great week! Thanks for stopping by!


Ginger said...

Dear Lou,

Boy did I need to read your post today. How true! Why is it so hard to humble ourselves? I am so very guilty and fall so very short of this. Thank you for this beautiful reminder today~keeping Dave in my prayers.

RCUBEs said...

Thanks for visiting. Blessed by your profile. There is no chain that the Lord cannot break.

It's so easy to just "toot our own horn". Take credit for all the things. I'm glad that our Savior reminds us, everything comes from Him. Yes, it's hard to be humble but a daily surrender to Him yields that fruit. Blessings to you sister. May you have a blessed week ahead.

Beth E. said...

I know that song! My husband used to play it on his guitar and sing it when we were dating! ;-)

This is a great post, Lou. I pray for a humble heart, too! RCUBE is right...daily surrender to God is the key.

He & Me + 3 said...

I never thought of it that way...that we should be last. I just read a post which reminded me that Joy is Jesus others you. Which then makes us last. That is how we find joy..this is how we remain humble. Great post.

Beth in NC said...

Oh Lou, what a wonderful - convicting post!

Thank you for sharing this. There is nothing I can add to it.

Bless you!

Runner Mom said...

Lou, this was a great post and a huge reminder!!I remember that song too!! Thank you,sweet friend for being so open and obedient to Him!! Have a great day!

Lori said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. The flowers are beautiful. I am now a follower.

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

You are so right about how hard it is to be humble, especially when one is seen as successful! It is even harder when people think you are humble but you know that you are not, that you have SO FAR to go!