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Posts Tagged ‘humility’

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“For [you seem readily to endure it] if a man comes and preaches another Jesus than the One we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the [Spirit] you [once] received or a different gospel from the one you [then] received and welcomed; you tolerate [all that] well enough!” Amp 2Cor 11:4

“Strip yourselves of your former nature [put off and discard your old unrenewed self] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion;” Amp Eph 4:22

“We have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus [the leaning of your entire human personality on Him in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness] and of the love which you [have and show] for all the saints (God’s consecrated ones).” Amp Col 1:4

“Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are enrolled in heaven.” Amp Lk 10: 20

 

We can never lose sight of the fact that on our best day we can quickly become a great liability if we wrest free from the moorings of Christ and the likeness of His Name, His Spirit, and especially His Word – His Gospel.

We are still living in a flesh container even while housing the Name and the Presence of God through the Spirit. But we must remain vigilant. 

Humility is how we do that.  Like the disciples when they saw the power of God working in them – were cautioned to rejoice because their names were written in heaven.  That is a practice of humility needed as we increase in the operation of the power of God and in the Spirit.

Think of the Apostle Paul – he was given a thorn in his flesh as he says: “…to keep me from being puffed up and too elated by the exceeding greatness (preeminence) of these revelations there was given me a thorn ( a splinter) in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to rack and buffet and harass me, to keep me from being excessively exalted.” Amp 2Cor 12:7

Though this thorn was described as a messenger of Satan, the fact was – it was providing an important function: it was deflating the natural tendency of the flesh to puff up and move Paul into error and pride (the opposite of humility).

Our flesh (soul and physical body) – all that we essentially had prior to salvation, must be continually yielded up to Christ as a living sacrifice. We daily reckon ourselves as dead to sin – but you see all our flesh has not engaged in sin. It is that part then which happily likes to the lead in walking out our Christian life. But it cannot!

We all have strengths and weaknesses. Natural passions, and proclivities. We are cracked pots at best that the Lord chooses to work through for His glory! 

However, I am called to not only continually reckon myself as dead to sin, but also by my faith in Jesus, lean my entire human personality on Him in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness – and to stay in His love. This leaning is me laying my natural life continually on the mercy seat as a living sacrifice. We are never to depart from that posture.

This becomes an anchor for my soul which otherwise has great potential to want to add, assist, help, interpret, and participate with the Lord’s work – but is always wanting to run ahead of God, to anticipate rather than obey, champion rather than submit.

This is why Moses had to be trained in the wilderness so long before being of use to God. I am the same way! But the blessing for us is that we now have the indwelling Spirit that provides another anchor of safety, another protection against spiritual drift.

So we see that we have an anchor for our soul (leaning it constantly on Christ). We also have an anchor in the Holy Spirit – Who constantly applies the work of the Atonement of the Cross to my life – bringing me to all Truth as He continues to reveal, disclose, and transmit to me the very life of Jesus Christ.

There is also the foundational anchor to which the other two are vitally linked and which forms the critical anchor of agreement – that is the Word of God: or more specifically here, the Gospel. These three in operation: Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Gospel are critical in keeping me from drifting into error or excess (which would all come from the liability of my flesh with assistance from enemy agents stirring up my flesh). James relates this liability as he comments: “But every person is tempted when he is drawn away, enticed and baited by his own evil desire (lust, passions).” Amp Jam 1:14

An important underscoring is needed here about the Gospel. It is written. It can be studied, reviewed, meditated on, and it can dwell in us richly with exactness that we ourselves employ to enforce truth. The Gospel and the word carry definitiveness that can renew our mind and protect us from drift. Like a runway provides safe landing and lights for an approaching aircraft, the word lights up our path – it is a lamp illuminating the way to proceed.

Here is the issue of concern. Without healthy vigilance and distrust of my flesh, and without a gracious dose of humility in recognizing that constant liability… exaltation, puffed up-ness can happen to the most committed saint (recall Paul here). We all can be vulnerable to the danger of drifting. We each have the same issue and liability. None of us are exempt!

So the question to be asked is: what is currently ruling over you?  Is what is ruling over you aligned with the Jesus of the word, the Spirit of the word, and the Gospel of Truth?

Romans 6:16 asks a probing question:

“Do you not know that if you continually surrender yourselves to anyone to do his will you are the slaves of him who you obey, whether that be to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness (right doing and right standing with God)?”

Check your six according to these three anchors: Jesus, the Spirit, and the Gospel.  Has exaltation crept in via your flesh that has become puffed up? Are the doctrines you are embracing and practicing in full agreement with the word? Or have you slid into receiving teachings for itching ears that mask themselves as truth but about which the word is silent?

While these three anchors are perfect and vital, they are only as good as your humility and submission to them will allow.

Take a moment. Submit yourself before the light of God’s truth: let the Holy Spirit reveal where you are “out of G” with Him.

There is a reason why the word is settled in heaven, and why the Lord has elevated it above His very Name.  It is the place where you can know and trust unequivocal truth. It is also the place where Jesus forever displays His own submission to the Father and the words the Father has given Him to utter.

Yes, it is by Jesus you are saved – but it is by the word spoken by Christ that spirit and life have gained entrance into you. Ps 119:130 says: “The entrance and unfolding of Your words give light; their unfolding gives understanding (discernment and comprehension) to the simple.”

Jesus and the Holy Spirit do not work exclusively, but cooperatively with the word, and in unity and redundancy – providing a three-fold anchor for your safety against the overreach of your flesh into things that are not of Christ, and against pride which has demonic likeness.

There is no good thing that is withheld from those who walk uprightly, but even your hunger and thirst for spiritual progress must be yielded to the Lord. It is indeed the tactic of the enemy to work in subtleties – convincing you that you are simply pressing in to all the Lord has for you when in actuality, you are pressing beyond the bounds of truth and doctrinal accuracy and are kindling a fire of passion and hunger that is in danger of burning down the house because it will not submit to God.

Be on your guard Saints… for the enemy is afoot like a devouring Lion… withstand him!

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“…in the true spirit of humility (lowliness of mind) let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself [thinking more highly of one another than you do yourselves].” Phil 2:3 Amp

“But stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being.”  Phil 2:7 Amp

“David said to Saul, Who am I, and what is my life or my father’s family in Israel, that I should be the king’s son-in-law?”  1Sam 18:18 Amp

“I will be still more lightly esteemed than this, and will humble and lower myself in my own sight [and yours].” 2Sam 6:22 Amp

 

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There is a great distinction between a state of humility and a state of oblivion. Humility is careful for others, oblivion is not only careless – is it self-focused to the point of being actually thoughtless about others.

Each of these states of mind exert a great deal of influence on us. Therefore it becomes beneficial to note to which frame of mind we tend to default.

The Lord’s frame of mind as He walked the earth was exceedingly humble concerning Himself: exceedingly bold as He lived for the zeal of the Father. 

The Lord’s frame of mind is not something we can counter-fit. It is something we submit to, over and over again. As the Lord’s redemptive life is given rule and place, and freedom in us, we grow closer and closer to the orbit of the Lord in humility concerning others. But this process of teaching and training, of making us what we ought to be is like spiritual orthodontics.

We submit and surrender, often in vagueness, not really grasping the Lord’s target or end game in us… Until we begin to feel the pressure of change in submitting to a new focus. You will notice when this begins to happen, you just may not understand why, or what it is. This is what this is!!!

It reminds me of having had braces and the pressure exerted upon teeth to move. Except this is in our soul – our very thinking and perspective that now is being called to shift once again. There is a great sense of destabilization as you are called to a different place, to live differently, to embrace humility on an even deeper level.

It calls to mind the life of Joseph, and the massive reframing work the Lord did in his life. Every encounter served to exert God’s changes in him until humility was fully established. Only then would he have forgiveness for his brothers and not seek their destruction. Only then would he qualify to be called “Zephenath-paneah.”

As Joseph languished in prison, convicted wrongfully…the jail served to immobilize Joseph like concrete needs a framing assist. But the final work was done when his own efforts to expedite his release (by interpreting the dreams of the baker and cup-bearer) failed.  It was as if the Lord was saying, “Don’t seek to prove your worth or establish yourself – it is I Who will establish you! Wait on Me!”

You see this is the tide-turner. This is the final bit of us that needs to be broken so the Living Water of the Fountain of Life can burst through into and through a vessel that has been refurbished in the Lord’s own likeness.

This process is not without discomfort and tears. But it is profitable, because the Life of the One Who made us can now have His way in us – delivering us from selfish agendas, small perspectives that may not have room for others, and attitudes that often are ultimately focused on self-preservation. The Lord will preserve you, by MOVING IN and LAYING CLAIM.

It is helpful if we wake up to the oblivion we have walked in. What or Who are our words declaring: ourselves; or the Son?Are you someone that is so focused on something (maybe ministry, worship, the great things the Lord has been showing you, great insights) that you walk without noticing the ones needing attention on the path before you?  Are you so self-focused that you are often inconsiderate and even unkind (even if only in your thinking)?

The word shows us that the fruit, the effect of walking in the light (or the Spirit) is every form of kindly goodness, uprightness of heart, and trueness of life. Eph 5:9  This is definitely not our normal disposition.

So cooperate with the Lord and His work in you. Be quick to notice the not so subtle tension as your spiritual furniture is being moved, pressed, re-upholstered, or perhaps sold into slavery (for the Lord’s purposes).

Be quick to notice, are you noticing others – or not. Lift up your heart now, in this moment, and listen to what He would tell you. He’s taking you out of oblivion, into the place of His likeness. Jail-time optional.

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Day Seventy-Three

Finding the Gate of Greatness — Through Humility

“Whoever exalts himself [with haughtiness and empty pride] shall be humbled (brought low], and whoever humbles himself [whoever has a modest opinion of himself and behaves accordingly] shall be raised to honor.” Mt 23:12 Amp

            Jesus Christ is our pattern, our example, and He is our way.  For that reason it is of great profit to look at Jesus through the lens of humbleness that He walked out from the cradle to the grave for our benefit, and realize – this should be our path as well.  So let us not just take note of that this season, but allow a full work of the word to change our thinking that we may be made low…

            The Greek meaning of humble in James 4:6 is tapeinos — #5011, not rising far from the ground, lowly, of low degree, low with grief, depressed, lowly in spirit, humble.  It is the same meaning used in Matthew 11:29 where Jesus tells us to come to Him to learn of Him — and describes Himself as gentle and humble and that we will find rest for our souls in Him.

            Now think of Christ’s entrance into this world – in a lowly manger.  In an animal feed trough even: born to Mary and Joseph in mean estate – having nothing as far as this world’s riches – but ushering into this world a way of knowing true riches of His Kingdom.  He made Himself so very low – so that you and I could become very rich – in Him (Phil 2:5-10).  He covered His glory in a tent of inglorious flesh and took upon Himself our image.  Then in that image went to a place of cursing – to be crucified on a tree – so that He could bear the sins of the world and the reproach due mankind for its disobedience.  But now even though He has been raised from the dead to glory once again, He continues to hold the frame of the Son of Man for all time.

            As I read through the Scriptures detailing the humbleness of Christ, I am not only connecting with Who He is, but how He is – for He changeth not.  It is an astounding thing that the Creator of all is so humble and meek.  For our sake He demonstrates power in restraint — not only so that we may know Him, but that we would recognize the profit of becoming subject to Him and thus like Him – even in this humility.  The gate to the greatness of Christ is indeed found through humility! In reference to Him – we should not rise far from the ground!

            I highly recommend you do a word study of “humble” in the Scripture.  Allow the word to come into your heart and wash away every notion of self-pride or high opinion.  Finally, end in your reading with this verse from 1Peter 5:5-6.  It is sure to open your eyes concerning humility.

            “Likewise, you who are younger and of lesser rank, be subject to the elders (the ministers and spiritual guides of the church) – [giving them due respect and yielding to their counsel]. Clothe (apron) yourselves, all of you, with humility {as the garb of a servant, so that it’s covering cannot possibly be stripped from you, with freedom from pride and arrogance] toward one another.  For God sets Himself against the proud (the insolent, the overbearing, the disdainful, the presumptuous, the boastful) – [and He opposes, frustrates, and defeats them], but gives grace (favor, blessing) to the humble.”

            Because the Son of God came as the servant of God, we now have the choice and ability to be humble ourselves, and serve in His Name.  He has both become the Way and made a Way for us – with Himself, not far from the ground… but also to be seated in heavenly places with Him.  To choose the one – we must receive also the other.  It is less about being clothed as a servant – it is about being clothed with Christlikeness!

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