Archive | September, 2013

Thoughts about humility

28 Sep

This a re-post of a great article on humility written by Mel Wild and posted on his blog,In My Father’s House


Thoughts about humility

Posted on 9/28/13 by 

worms

“Oh, it’s not me, it’s all Jesus….I’m nothing…I’m just a worm in His sight… just a dirty old sinner saved by grace.”

Does this self-effacing posture sound like humility to you?  Do you embrace a “worthless worm” theology about who you are?

After all, isn’t our righteousness as filthy rags…”

Is it?

Actually, this is what often passes for humility in Christianity.  But closer inspection will reveal it’s really not.  In some ways it betrays a self-righteousness, even spiritual pride, because we’re placing our thoughts about ourselves above God’s thoughts about us.

I understand that the intent is to honor Jesus and accentuate the grace of God.  That’s commendable but dangerously misguided because it actually keeps us locked up in a tomb of doubt and confusion about ourselves, guarded by our own insecurities.  It blinds us from seeing who we are on this side of the Cross of Christ.

True humility is agreeing with what God says about you, nothing more, nothing less.  Anything other than this is not humility. It’s a subtle form of religious pride.

It’s not humility to make yourself out to be garbage or identify in any way with your old nature.  It’s actually unbelief, even the very height of arrogance through ignorance, because it dares to contradict God.  And it’s demeaning to your glorious nature through the finished work of Christ.

Degrading yourself also devalues what God has accomplished in the Cross of Christ.  For the Father values you the same as Jesus since He paid Jesus for you (Jn.3:16).  And He seems to think that you’re His masterpiece, His tapestry, His workmanship (Eph.2:10).  To say otherwise about ourselves would be like telling Michelangelo, Rembrandt, or Da Vinci that their paintings are just filthy rags.  Only worse, because you have much greater worth to God than a painting.

True humility is totally agreeing with your new nature and denying everything about your old nature.

True humility does not hang on to the past.  It knows our past belongs to God.  To hang on to it, or identify with it, is to think like a grave robber and a thief (2 Cor.5:17).  Humble people don’t live in the graveyard of their past.  They let it go.

You cannot be arrogant if you’re dead (Gal.2:20:Col.3:3).  Religious ideas of humility and what is arrogant come from insecure people who don’t know they’re dead.

As Bill Johnson has said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”

True humility is knowing that your righteousness apart from Christ was “filthy rags,” but you’re not apart from Him anymore.

True humility is declaring that your righteousness and holiness is exactly the same as Christ’s righteousness and holiness (2 Cor.5:21; Rom.11:16; 12:1).

Denying self is not trying to be humble; it’s being alive to God in Christ (Rom.6:11, 13).

True humility doesn’t compare itself with others,  or even try to “live up” to some standard of Christ.  Humble people know they are literally placed in Christ.  And, in Him, they know they are already complete, they have everything He has, and they are everything that He is in this world (Col.2:10; 1 Jn.4:17).

True humility reveals identity and facilitates purpose.

Again, Bill Johnson, “False humility will keep us from our destiny. True humility will take us to it.”

Beloved, let’s begin seeing ourselves, and talking about ourselves, the same way God sees us for a change.  That’s humility that honors Him.

God values you and I so much that He gave us free will, which means we have the freedom to stubbornly hang on to all our religious false images about who we think we are if we want to.  But just know, that’s not being humble.

Related articles

Quote: Which Righteous Man Do You Want To Be?

27 Sep

“Now Abraham was old, well advanced in age; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things.”  – Gen 24:1

The Bible says that Abraham was righteous.  But do you know that his nephew Lot was righteous too? (2 Peter 2:7–8)  Yet, both men lived very different lives.  Although they both lived under God’s grace some 400 years before the law was given, Abraham was very blessed, whereas Lot lost a lot!

Both men had large herds and flocks.  When their herdsmen started quarrelling over space, Abraham took the initiative to make peace.  He even let Lot pick the lands that he wanted.  Both men were righteous, but one was more gracious than the other.

Lot picked the well-watered plain of Jordan, where the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were.  He dwelt there and pitched his tent as far as Sodom.  Eventually, he lived in Sodom. Now, Sodom and Gomorrah in the Bible represent a sinful lifestyle.  Some Christians think, “Since I am righteous by faith and under God’s grace, I can live a sinful lifestyle.”

Well, let’s learn from Lot.  He first saw Sodom, then his feet walked toward it and finally he went into it.  I like what a great man of God said: “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay.”  What did Lot end up paying?

He was captured when four kings plundered Sodom and Gomorrah.  And even after Abraham rescued him with the help of God, he did not learn his lesson.  He went back to Sodom. Some Christians live from one bail-out to another.  God delivers them from, say, debt, and they go right back to borrowing money or gambling!  Sodom and Gomorrah were eventually destroyed.  Lot escaped with only the clothes on his back and even lost his wife in the process.

Beloved, you are the righteousness of God in Christ.  When you truly understand what Jesus did to make you the righteousness of God, it will cause you to fall out of love with sin and fall in love with God.  Then, it will not be hard to have a heart for God, as Abraham did, and like Abraham, be blessed in all things!

From Joseph Prince – Daily Grace Inspirations  (9/27/13)

To receive free daily Grace-filled posts from Joseph Prince’s ministry: http://forms.josephprince.org/forms/dgi-signup.aspx

From Mark:   It is interesting to note that the Bible calls both men righteous.  Abraham’s righteousness is easy to understand, but here’s what II Pet. 2:8 has to say about Lot:  “For that righteous man (Lot) dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;”  Lot was a man that probably had no less potential than Abraham to be a father in the faith, but ended up squandering it because he chose a life style and environment which sapped his spiritual vitality day after day.  Was he righteous?  The Bible says he was.  But his effectiveness and influence was rendered to nearly nil.  The wise take it to heart. 

Quote: No More Milktoasts!

25 Sep

Too long have we Christians thought we were supposed to be
self-effacing, withdrawn milktoasts;

we were not supposed to assert the glory of God;
we were not supposed to walk with our heads high;
we were not supposed to be what we were supposed to be —

kings,
reigning with Him even now, in life,
masters of our passions and our appetites,
masters of sin,
masters of satanic insidious attempts to invade our territory,

beating them off with royal flourishes,
not condescending to scuffle with him in the dust,
but bidding him to be gone in the name of Jesus,
rising to walk with dignity as those who are
kings and reign in life by One, Christ Jesus

— Ern Baxter

Quote: Communion = Marriage Proposal

16 Sep

The disciples must have thought Jesus was crazy.  Seriously. I can only imagine their faces.  So confused, so perplexed, uncomfortably glancing back and forth between each other, wondering if they had misheard, wondering if someone could help them understand.  Meanwhile, you got Jesus, unnerved, unfazed, just sitting there cooly, looking them dead in the eyes, asking them to marry Him.  Yes, you heard me right…marry Him.  With nothing more than a cup of wine, no less, the Lamb of God was proposing.  So you can imagine their confusion right?  “Wait.  What?  Come again?  Jesus, you feeling alright brotha?  I mean, I don’t think that I’m exactly what you’re looking for!  You want to think about what you’re saying for a minute?”

Of course, we don’t see it that way, because we’re not Jewish.  But they were, and they did.  See it that way, I mean.  “Drink from it, all of you.  This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”  We hear these words and we think Communion, Eucharist, Last Supper.  The disciples heard this and they’re thinking wedding bells.

Apparently, “In those days,” when a Hebrew man decided to take for Himself a Hebrew woman, he’d go to his father and say, “Hey, Dad.  I want to make little rabbis with her.”  So then the dad would go to her dad and they’d talk camels, or sheep, or whatever the payment was going to be, and after they’d settled on a figure, the groom would call in all his friends and family, set a table in the middle of a room, set the aforementioned girl down in front of said table, break out a cup, fill it with wine, and set it in front of her saying, “This is my covenant with you, take and drink it.”  And if she did, that was her answer.  With a simple gulp and swig, she was saying, “I do,” and that was it.  No rings, no fancy songs or dinners, just a cup and an invitation.  And oh yeah, all their relatives sitting in the room watching.  I mean, talk about pressure.  But yeah, that was it.  Her lips to the glass was the same as saying, “I accept your life, and I give you mine in return.”

Now, If the girl said yes, “in those days,” she would then go immediately back to her home, where she would be known as, “one who was bought with a price.”  It’s true.  That was her name.  Kind of long and tedious, and extremely hard to shout out in a game of soccer, but that was it.  And with her new identity, she would go back to her town, and start preparing for the wedding.  And really, she’d just start waiting for future husband to finish what he had to do and come and get her.  What was he doing?  Well, during the engagement, the groom’s primary responsibility was to build a mansion for him and his bride to be.

Now girls, before you get too excited, let me explain.  “Mansion” in Hebrew means, “apartment.”  And what’s even better is that this apartment was actually more like an addition, because the groom would build it onto his parents pre-existing house.  Yes.  You heard me correctly.  Their first home would be with the in-laws.  And right now, I can just imagine how many girls are thinking, “oh please don’t let me marry a Jewish boy.”  It’s true though.  He would build his “mansion” onto the family “insula,” which is what they would call the family dwelling.  You see, the entire family would just keep building on and building on until you had what was basically a city block, all comprised of one big bustling Jewish family.  (And you thought My Big Fat Greek Wedding was bad)  Crazy, but also true.

Well, as you can imagine, this process could take quite a while.  I mean, it’s a house for crying out loud.  Some scholars say it was six months, or even a year before the poor guy was finished.  And get this, the only one who could decide if it was finished was the father.  So he’d be working and working and working, and every day looking to his dad, saying, “Are we done yet?”  And I can just imagine the father messing with him.  Taking his time, looking it over, and then just saying, “Almost.”  Could you imagine?  Oh, the agony!  And to top it all off, the groom and the bride weren’t even allowed to talk to each other.  Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  They couldn’t see or speak to one another during the entire engagement, except for one outlet.  The best man.  He’d be the instant messenger if you will.  Taking notes back and forth between the doting couple.  And those moments were probably pretty funny.  “Here’s your note, ‘one who was bought with a price.’  Check yes, no, or maybe.”  Unbelievable.

But you know, how much more beautiful would that day be when the father finally approved?  That day when the groom was finally finished, and he could gather up his homeboys, or ‘groomsmen’ as we westerners would say, and imperiously march into his fiance’s town?  Oh it was sweet.  And that’s just what he’d do.  He’d get his bridal party together and they’d come to her house, and without any prior announcement or advanced warning, they would blow a shofar, which was a ram’s horn that served as a trumpet, and upon hearing it, the pining bride would come bustling out her front door and practically straight down the aisle, and into her beloved’s arms.  The period of waiting and wanting would be over, and the two would be united at last to consummate their long-awaited union.  Joy.  Happiness.  Little Rabbis…  You know, all the good stuff.

So then, back to the dinner table with the 12.  Can you sense where this is going?  Jesus breaks into this marriage proposal, cup out, wine-filled, offering his covenant with them.  They accept.  “I do” to Jesus.  Gulp, gulp.  “I accept your life, and I give you mine in return.”  So then, what does Jesus do?  He explains how they have to spend some time apart.  Naturally.  Only this is going to be longer than a year.  However, the best man was coming.  His name?  The Holy Spirit.  So when Jesus leaves, off to get busy preparing a “mansion” for them, (“in my Father’s house there are many rooms”) He doesn’t leave them alone, but instead sends His own mediator, the Holy Spirit, to keep the messages going between Himself and his Beloved.  Meanwhile, the bride is left behind in her town, keeping watch, day and night, not knowing the day, time or hour that the bridegroom will appear.  Until finally, after a long-awaited return, and we’re talking seriously, long awaited; centuries and milleniums waited people, after this much awaited consummation, the Father alone will announce that the time has come, and Jesus will be coming back for all His faithful, all who are His bride.  With a posse of angels and loud trumpet call of their own, He will take us home, to the marriage supper of the Lamb!  And we will share in ever-increasing joy and intimacy with Him forever and ever.  As C.S. Lewis so brilliantly articulated, “Further up and further in!”

And people still want to insist that Christianity is no more than a religion.

I don’t know about you but in light of this information, it puts Jesus in an entirely different light.  He’s no longer an ideal, or a belief system.  He’s a person.  And to put it more precisely, He is a groom in love with his bride.  And not just any bride, but a wayward, adulterous bride.  A bride who is half-hearted at best, chasing other lovers and other interests more than Him.  And still, He keeps on loving.  He keeps on being faithful, He keeps his promises.

In the Old Testament, He tells his prophet Hosea to marry an unfaithful woman, to show everyone the way He loves his people. (see Hosea 3)  In the New, He tells us that divorce will never be an option for Him. (Phil 1:6)  Over and over and over again, From Isaiah, to Ezekiel, to Ephesians, He tells us that we are not just his children, but we are his bride.  Faithless though we might be, we are His, and He is ours.

And like I said before, this changes everything.  It changes the way I view prayer.  It changes the way I view marriage.  It even changes the reasons that I obey.  As Donald Miller once said, “it’s a far different thing to break a rule, than it is to cheat on a lover.”  I only pray that it changes things for you.

From Mike’s blog – Tenth Avenue North

Quote: Religion has more rules than God has…

16 Sep

“When Adam and Eve ate the fruit from the forbidden tree, they felt guilty about being naked even through they were alone in the Garden.  The simple truth is that religion has more rules than God has.  When we leave an intimate relationship with Jesus, we begin the downward spiral into escalating rules that lead to increased guilt.  Most of us respond to this condemnation by working harder to feel better about ourselves.  This becomes a cruel hamster wheel and an evil ecosystem that can only be broken through the power of the cross.” – by Kris Vallotton 

From the book: Fashioned to Reign found at: KVMinistries.com

Are There Consequences For Sin?

14 Sep

I believe that ALL of our sins have been already forgiven – past, present and future. (“Christ suffered for our sins once for all time” – I Pet 3:18, Heb 9:28, Heb 10:10)   I also believe that we must believe and confess (believe with your heart and confess with your mouth – Rms 10:9) and we must repent (repent and believe – Mk 1:15) for us to receive forgiveness.  But, getting God to forgive us… and receiving forgiveness are two different issues.   God has ALREADY forgiven us through the one-time sacrifice on the cross.  It is now available to all.  We receive that forgiveness when we confess, acknowledge, receive.  I’m not saying that each and every sin must be confessed and repented of before we can receive forgiveness… but I believe we must walk in a humble heart posture of desire to walk clean. 

And regarding receiving forgiveness: Begging and groveling for forgiveness is totally inappropriate since Jesus already saw our sin and paid for it.  Not only that, but he did it with joy; “who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross” – Heb 12:2.  You see, in essence, God said, “Let’s make man for friendship… but he’s going to have a sin issue.  Jesus, would You mind remedying this… it’ll cost You Your life?”  Jesus then looks down through time and sees each one of us.  He is moved with great love and affection for each one of us, knowing full well ALL of the sin that we are ever going to commit.  That sin, which is so all-important to us, doesn’t even faze Him.  He loves what He sees!  He loves who He sees… and considers that His death on the cross is not a barrier to His love for us.  Rather, He is so smitten with love for us that it propels Him through the cross.  With this amazing realization, we must learn how to humbly but confidently (Heb 4:16) receive forgiveness in the same spirit in which it is offered, joyfully. 

There was a popular saying several decades ago: “Love means you never have to say you’re sorry”.  Well, I’m sorry, that saying is just not true.  Did it ever work for any married couple you ever met… how about in your marriage?  Just try it and we’ll see how it works out for you.  But the fact is even if our spouse didn’t demand an apology from us, if we’re truly in love, we’d want to remedy the bruised area in our relationship.  This is a no-brainer.  Likewise, even if Heaven wasn’t requiring repentance, our love for our Savior and Best Friend Jesus, should compel us to address the issues. 

With the emphasis on Grace, we’re in a new learning curve to understand how Heaven views sin.  But we all know what sin does to our hearts, souls and even our bodies… (not to mention our relationships and our circumstances around us).  Even if our sin doesn’t affect Heaven, it does affect us.  It desensitizes our conscience, it dulls our sensitivity to Holy Spirit’s stirrings, and it bruises OUR confidence with God.  It strengthens alliances with the devil.  It reduces our ability to receive and let Heaven’s anointing flow through us (I’m not saying Heaven reduces it).  Our hearts become encumbered with preoccupation with sin and the residual of sin, e.g. memories, wounded relationships, establishing of evil strongholds in our lives.  All these and many more no-brainer earth-side reasons make sin wrong… not if you want to excel in Heaven’s blessing (again, I’m not even saying the Heaven withholds the blessing).  The fact is, with all the excess baggage that sin incurs, we aren’t light on our spiritual feet anymore.

Maybe some aren’t concerned with this earth-side baggage… they just want a ‘get into Heaven free’ card.  Well, I’d have to ask whether they personally know the Man behind the Grace… or do they just know the theology.  It’s fairly easy to make relationship-less theology justify anything we want to justify.  But if we are related to the Man who really loves us and is our Bridegroom and is our closest Friend, then I’m pretty sure the fruit will be that we want to walk as free from sin’s baggage as we can.

And let’s just be honest, Jesus said it is possible that some will say “Lord, Lord….” and He’ll say, “I never knew you.”  For me, it gets down to walking with a tender heart before the One who knows us best and loves us most.  How long has it been since we had tears because of His tender love resting on our heart?  When did we last have an informal yet passionate heart to heart with Jesus… that lasted more than a few minutes?  Is He on our heart and mind during the day… or only at our ‘religious’ church meeting times?  The answers to these questions will help give evidence to what kind of relationship we have… or don’t have.

I believe true relationship will be evidenced by a deep desire to walk as much like the One we love, versus trying to get by with as much deviant activities as we can and hopefully not ‘max out the system’.  What a horrible commentary the latter one is!

These are just some of the many reasons that would cause Paul to ask the rhetorical question, “Should we sin more that Grace may abound more?”  (Rms 6:1)  Heaven and earth resoundingly respond, “No, way!!!”  Not if we’re truly in love with this wonderful Man Jesus who made Grace so awesome and so free.

— MLH

For more on this topic: Grace: For The Sin Issue… and So Much More

Quote: Christ Your Wisdom Gives You Good Success

14 Sep

“But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God…” – I Cor 1:30

It is believed that there has never been a wealthier king than King Solomon.  God gave him wisdom that not only made him wise in matters of justice, but also brought him gold and silver. (1 Kings 3:12–13)

According to a report by the Illinois Society of Architects in 1925, the cost of Solomon’s temple in terms of existing values would have been about US$87 billion!  The priests wore garments costing more than US$10 million!  These amounts only cover what Solomon spent on the temple and not his personal assets.

We can go on talking about the riches of King Solomon, but the Bible tells us that there is one greater than Solomon. (Matthew 12:42)  His name is Jesus, and He is the most prosperous Man who ever lived and who will ever live.

If there was a need to feed the hungry, He simply multiplied whatever food was placed in His hands.  On one occasion, He multiplied five loaves and two fish to feed 5,000 men, not counting women and children.  And incredibly, there were 12 baskets full of leftovers. (Matthew 14:15–21)

If any of His own faced lack, it was not long before abundant provision flowed to them.  Once, when His disciples caught nothing after a whole night of fishing, He merely spoke a word of command and schools of fish obeyed, swimming toward His disciples’ boat so that they received a net-breaking, boat-sinking load of fish. (Luke 5:1–7)  In another incident, He provided the money for the temple tax, even if it took a fish to bring it to them! (Matthew 17:24–27)

My friend, this same Jesus has become for you wisdom from God.  If you are a businessman, with Christ in you, you have wisdom that is greater than the wisdom of all the world’s business gurus put together.  And if you are a student, Christ in you will manifest wisdom that is greater than all the wisdom of the brilliant minds in the academic world.

Beloved, believe that because Jesus, God’s wisdom, is in you, there is no reason you cannot prosper today, and astound the world in the same way Solomon did!

From Joseph Prince – Daily Grace Inspirations  (9/14/13)

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