One word is enough, “humility”

1humilityHumility

I don't know where I picked up the following words…all I know is that they were in my devotional folder on my computer. Maybe they are there anonymously because I needed to be blindsided by this topic in the future…maybe they are there because somebody "inserted" them into my computer without my knowing as a "hint"…maybe they are there for some other unknown reason that is ONLY known to God. No matter what, I need, better yet, YOU and I both need some encouragement on humility.

Most Christ-followers that I know are more likely to joke about humility than they are to pray for it. In a culture that tells us it's normal to be selfish to the point of excess, humility almost seems like some kind of personality disorder. Overtly humble people are deemed worthy of medication in some circles. Even so, people who follow Jesus are unavoidably confronted with humility in the teaching of Jesus. One of the basic problems with many of our "versions" of a faith journey is that we talk a great deal about Jesus but we don't want to be like Jesus or live in imitation of Jesus. We need to answer the question of why Jesus tells us to humble ourselves and that that command is so often ignored.

Why is humility important in the Kingdom of God, in our relationships and families? Jesus' words about humility are ALWAYS pro-active. Jesus doesn't talk about a humility that we adopt when we've been humbled. That kind of humility is valuable in life, but it isn't the kind of humility Jesus is teaching. He is teaching us to choose humility when there are other options. He wants us to believe in a Kingdom where the humble are exalted by the One who humbled Himself for us. Jesus wants us to choose humility now. Humility needs to be a prevailing value in our lives as Christ followers. Yet, and you know this to be true, it smacks inconsistent with how many of us feel on a day to day basis. Do a gut check…how can you be happy if you aren't the center of attention? How can you be satisfied if people aren't making much of you? How can your life have significance if you aren't on the front row and your picture on the front page?

You see, Jesus is asking us to make a different choice in regard to happiness, satisfaction and significance. He asks us to begin subverting the world-system that's taken root in our minds, homes and bank accounts. Perhaps the best application for this point is to stop right now and ask the Lord, "What is the step of humility that is in front of me now? Show it to me." I do not doubt that if you pray that way, and meditate in silence open to the answer, God will show you what you've seen and passed over many times. Some move in the direction of humility that you've simply avoided, but Jesus is pointing to as the place where humility begins for you.

To wrap up our devotional today, here's a prayer for humility, and frankly, it's a hard prayer to pray. Trust me, as you follow along you are going to feel the resistance in your mind and emotions. But PRAY IT ANYWAY…let the Holy Spirit guide you NOW in saying this prayer (even if you have to say it with a debatable amount of sincerity). It will give you a clue about humility…it will give Jesus a foothold in your heart that will make a difference…it will invite the Holy Spirit to do what the Spirit does best, transform you and me into the likeness of Christ. So, here we go:

O Jesus! Meek and humble of heart, hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, deliver me Jesus
From the desire of being loved, deliver me Jesus
From the desire of being extolled, deliver me Jesus
From the desire of being honored, deliver me Jesus
From the desire of being praised, deliver me Jesus
From the desire of being preferred, deliver me Jesus
From the desire of being consulted, deliver me Jesus
From the desire of being approved, deliver me Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me Jesus
From the fear of being despised, deliver me Jesus
From the fear of suffering rebukes, deliver me Jesus
From the fear of being calumniated, deliver me Jesus
From the fear of being forgotten, deliver me Jesus
From the fear of being ridiculed, deliver me Jesus
From the fear of being wronged, deliver me Jesus
From the fear of being suspected, deliver me Jesus
That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
Amen.

May the Lord Jesus grant you GRACE as you learn to live in His nature of humility and love.

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