This morning as I woke and cleared the cobwebs from my head there were a lot of things just bouncing around in there. It was kind of like a crowd trying to get out of a single exit pushing and shoving a bit until the strongest thought finally edged out the others.
It started with pride, trust, faith, hope and finally, humility edged all the others out. It was the stronger thought this morning. A bunch of thoughts made that possible today, but the strongest was the way the Lord put all of them together for me. He began when the cloud was the thickest, and my vision was so impaired that I could barely see at all. He led me to the devotional, “Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers for today.
“Building on Atonement”
The base scripture for today’s devotional was Romans 6:13
Romans 6:13 (ESV)
13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.
Chambers only used the last half of the verse about righteousness, but I included the whole verse. The part of the devotional that started clearing this fog this morning was the beginning.
“I cannot save and sanctify myself; I cannot make atonement for sin; I cannot redeem the world; I cannot right what is wrong, purify what is impure, or make holy what is unholy. That is all the sovereign work of God. Do I have faith in what Jesus Christ has done?”
What an amazing thing God has done for me. There is nothing I could do to save myself that was God who did that
Ephesians 2:10 (ESV)
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
“Building on Atonement (part 2)”
Chambers went on to share the two key details that lead me to humility this morning.
“The greatest need we have is not to do things but to believe things. The redemption of Christ is not an experience, it is the great act of God which He has performed through Christ, and I have to build my faith on it. If I construct my faith on my own experience, I produce the most unscriptural kind of life— an isolated life, with my eyes focused solely on my own holiness. Beware of that human holiness that is not based on the atonement of the Lord. It has no value for anything except a life of isolation— it is useless to God and a nuisance to man.”
I read this passage from his writing and thought how easy it is to get caught up in my own deeds and neglect to give God the glory. Without what He did for me I would be lost. I am reminded of two passages in John.
John 6:44 (ESV)
44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
John 14:6 (ESV)
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
I look at these passages, and I cannot help but see that It is not what I do or how much I do it is what I believe and to whom belongs the glory.
I let these thoughts kind of ramble around in my head for a while, and all I could do was humbly pray a prayer of thanksgiving, praising God for all that He has done and continues to do. I prayed a prayer of thanks for the fire that he stokes in me with His word. I thanked Him for Loving me when I was submerged in sin. Loving me enough to call me out of the darkness into the light. Loving me enough to replace my heart of stone with a heart of flesh and take up residence there.
He showed me through His word that humility and love were the way to live rather than pride. And humility did not stifle boldness. I ended up in Philippians.
As I mentioned, in the beginning, there were a lot of thoughts battling for attention this morning and humility won. Oswald Chambers kind of lead the way but Philippians 2 opened the gate for humility. Verses 2-11 discuss “Christ’s Example of Humility,” and that, along with all that God had placed on my heart in prayer and study, just brought it together for me.
Philippians 2:1-11 (ESV) Christ’s Example of Humility
1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should 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.
I read this passage and contemplate Christ Jesus example and how can there be any room for pride in my life. How can there be any room for selfishness or greed? Just to think about this and I struggle to even grasp it all. What an amazing passage to define humility.
I look back at all this and reread the sources that the Holy Spirit placed in my path this morning, and I am overwhelmed with thanksgiving. I am reminded that Jesus died for me and He saved me while I was in my sin, and I realize God was in the middle of it from the beginning with John 6:44 and 14:6 and then I think of Ephesians 2:10 and realize I am the workmanship of God.
The other piece of this humility is obedience, and I cannot demonstrate my humility if I am not obedient. To be obedient, I need to trust completely in God and step forward every day on only what He gives me.
That is not always easy, and I would be lying if I said I was always obedient and I am thankful that when I rebel God has given me the gift of repentance and grace. Through these and with the help of the Holy Spirit I can correct my course.
Heavenly Father, thank you for your Holy Word and the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide us through the fog into the light every day. Lord, I pray you above all things. You are King of King and Lord of Lords, and I am thankful that you called me out of my sin and showed me the light. Lord, I pray that you might give all of us a hunger for Your Word and Prayer that we may listen and obey and share your word boldly, counting others more significant than ourselves. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen!