Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Humility, Hard Work, and Hanging On
Humility . . .
I thought that God led me to Advanced Excel to learn speaking, writing, and discipleship. In the five weeks that I was in Dallas, Texas, I found that humility was what God really had planned for me. But, of course, I learned humility in Dallas, so when I got home I could actually learn writing and discipleship. The truth is, I learned something about humility in Dallas, but God brought me home to turn up the heat.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus says, "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." (John 15:5) YE CAN DO NOTHING.
"Nothing?" I think to myself, "I don't believe it. I do all sorts of things without Him. I will only ask for His help when I really need it; I do okay by myself most of the time."
Why do I think this way? Pride - "An unreasonable conceit of one's own superiority . . . which manifests itself in lofty airs, distance, reserve, and often in contempt of others." (Webster's 1828 Dictionary) Did Mr. Webster know me? When I look at this definition, I originally think that it does not apply to me. I do not put on lofty airs in my relationships with people, distance or reserve myself from them, or stand stand in contempt of them . . . not often anyway.
Then I look at my relationship with God. Every day, possibly every hour, I commit these sins against God. I put on lofty airs toward Him, using Him as a neat little tool to get fulfillment. I distance and reserve myself from Him, sometimes He is most important, sometimes He is not. Does not my neglect of Him show my contempt for Him?
He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to . . . walk humbly with thy God?" (Micah 6:8) Humility is: "Having a low opinion of one's self . . . before God." (Webster's 1828 Dictionary) Humility is not thinking that you are worth nothing; God says you were worth the death of His son. Humility is not low self-esteem, as the world sees it. A humble person does not feel sorry for himself. True humility is recognizing that apart from God I can do NOTHING, while I can do all things through Christ.
I always remember the part of the verse that says, "I can do all things" forgetting the qualifier, "through Christ." (Pilippians 4:13) I recently heard someone say, "God does not help those who help themselves; God helps those who humble themselves."
Hard Work . . .
I like to think of myself as an above average teenager, and an as-close-as-you-can-get-to-perfect Christian. (I am being really honest here.) I look around at other people, not usually specific people, just . . . you know . . . them. I come to the conclusion that I am a pretty mature person, and (I wish I were blushing) I cannot remember any real faults that I have.
I obey my parents. I do not put myself into compromising situations. I have pretty good relationships with my siblings. I reach out to other people. I plan on becoming a missionary . . . . I'll stop there before you grab your trash can and empty your upset stomach. I do know my major faults. I just hadn't had to deal with them lately. I wasn't in a situation that brought them to the light.
I procrastinate, and I am lazy. I can force myself to face anything that I fear, but I do not force myself to meet a deadline, or (the originality of the thought) get my work done ahead of time. These habits worked out okay for my first two AE assignments, but on the third, well, it didn't work out so well.
God brought it to a stop about as fast as my little brother stopped in front of me on his bike, right before I crashed into him. We will just say that only half my assignment was ready to be turned in on time, and half of that was only half way done. So much for my "very mature person" image.
Hanging On . . .
So what now? What have I learned? I'm afraid to tell you, lest you start looking for the fruit of it in my life. I am still in the very slow process of learning: that I cannot do anything, Any Thing, ANYTHING, without Jesus. He does not mind me asking for His help, but He really wants me to live in His help.
Jesus deserves everything I have got. I think of the movie Facing the Giants, when the coach tells the team, "At the end of this game, I want you to know that you left everything on the field." I want to come to the end of every day knowing that I left everything I had to give in that day. I want to be satisfied at the end of every hour that I had nothing left. I want to save no reserves for myself, but to spend it all on Jesus. I don't want to pace myself, I want to burn out for Him.