Tuesday, May 06, 2008

To Be Humble

I am not a good person. In my life I have lied, stolen, gossiped, cursed, broken the law, disobeyed my parents, had lustful thoughts, hated, hurt people, and the list could go on. The wicked and evil that I have done in my life as well as the evil that has dwelt in my heart means that I am not a good person. Though I try to rationalize it and convince myself that everyone makes mistakes and that no one is perfect, it still doesn’t undo the sin that is in my life. I may seem good next Hitler or the murderer on death row, but the reality is that I am not good. Goodness is something that I have been unable to achieve since the very first time I sinned.

David in Psalm 14:3 wrote; Everyone rejects God; they are all morally corrupt. None of them does what is right, not even one! (NET) There maybe parts of us that are good. We may have done a lot of good in our lives, but that goodness doesn’t make up for the fact that we are sinful and under the penalty of that sin. It is impossible for us to become good once evil has entered our lives through sin.

The reality is that I am not good, but I am being made good. Let me attempt to explain. I am not good and there is no action that I can do that will make me good. Thanks to the wonderful grace of God becoming good doesn’t rest on my actions, but on what Jesus has done for me. I am righteous, not because I have kept the Law and have a pure heart, but because I have trusted in Jesus.The apostle Paul wrote:
21 So is the law in conflict with the promises of God? Of course not! For if a law had been given that could give us life, then certainly righteousness would come through the law. 22 But the Scripture has put everything under the power of sin, so that what was promised by the faithfulness of Christ might be given to those who believe. (Galatians 3:21-22; ISV)

I didn’t achieve the righteous standard that I have because I am such a good guy, but because Jesus gave it to me.

Here is the point I want to make: The reason that I should be humble about my position, the reason why I shouldn’t gloat about my righteousness is the knowledge that except for the grace of God I to am not righteous. I shouldn’t look down on people for not living up to my standard of morality, because I don’t even live up to that standard, let alone to God’s ultimate standard. Humility is the result of remembering our position in God’s Kingdom: it is a gift rather than something I have earned.

I think that it is important for Christians to remember this. It is not by following the Law that made us righteous in God’s sight, but it was our faith in Jesus Christ. What the world needs is not more law that they can’t keep but hope of a better Way to live. They need Jesus.

In Philippians the apostle Paul reminds us that one reason we should be humble is because Jesus was humble:
3 Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself. 4 Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but about the interests of others as well. 5 You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, 6 who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. 8 He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death - even death on a cross! 9 As a result God exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow - in heaven and on earth and under the earth - 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:3-11; NET)

The key here is humility. One way for us to be humble is by remembering where we came from and why things are now different. We were sinners until we trusted in Jesus Christ. By following Jesus the course of our lives was changed. A second reason that should help bring humility into our lives is to remember the humility Jesus demonstrated by leaving heaven and becoming a man. Since Jesus left heaven and came to earth to serve sinners I should be able to serve the people around me. Humility is essential if we are going to take the love of God to a dying world who desperately needs it.

  • Point to Ponder: The reason that I should be humble about my position, the reason why I shouldn’t gloat about my righteousness is the knowledge that except for the grace of God I to am not righteous.
  • Passage to Remember: Philippians 2:3-11
  • Question to Consider: Do you struggle with a superior attitude?

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