Sunday, July 1, 2012

From a Point of Grace..

Sometimes I feel so proud of myself.  I look back at my “accomplishments” and I sense the tingle of pride in my chest for I think I have so many things figured out, way more than the average individual.  And just when I feel like I got it all together, something happens and my house of cards crumbles down leaving nothing but a pile of debris on the floor.  Just when I think I can tell others how to do things the right way or point them on the right direction, I hit a detour in my route and I get lost on my own way.  Just when I think I’ve been able to map out the road to happiness, unexpected suffering enters my life.  Just when I am ready to judge others on their missteps, I stumble and fall in the pit of my sinfulness.  Just when pride reigns, humility slaps me on the face.

It is at those moments when the Holy Spirits reminds me of the need to be humble before the Lord, for He will lift us up.  (James 4: 10)

Humility in the life of a Christian is an ideal state of being in which sufficient evidence of the gift of Grace has been poured into our lives to dissolve any trace of arrogance and self-centeredness.  It is such an ideal state that Psalm 149: 4 says that “The Lord takes pleasure in his people; He adorns the humble with salvation.” 

Walking humbly with the Lord goes hand in hand with our pursuit of a relationship with Christ.  When we let pride rule over us disgrace comes, “but with the humble is wisdom.”  (Psalm 11: 2)

Sometimes, however, we need a little “assistance” in our road to humility.  It is in those moments when the Lord is more than present to give us the “push” that we need in order to help us continue on our way.  The importance of being humble comes from the need that every Christian has to recognize that only by grace we are heirs in the Kingdom of Heaven

Human pride in our own self-worth and self-sufficiency may blur our vision and at times not let us clearly see how it is not by our own hand, power or actions that we achieve the status of adopted children of the Most High.  We have no hand in it, for we are chosen by God’s providence and predetermination through His amazing Grace which He bestows on us with Jesus atoning sacrifice on the cross.

False pride in our earthly achievements, however, may create an illusion of self-sufficiency.  That is why, when pride appears and misdirects us into a detour, the Lord brings us back.  The methodology employed by our Mighty God to re-route us back into our track often is a painful one.  He may prune us, and test us, and allow discomfort to enter into our lives with the purpose of making us humble before Him and before our neighbors and to make us know, “that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 8: 2-3)

Taking absolute credit for our accomplishments and deeds leads us to experience a sense of independence that may make us believe that we don’t really need a savior for we can save ourselves and others as well.  I speak by experience for it is very easy for me to think that I have it all together in my life, that I have it all figured out.  In His mercy, the Lord promptly removes the veil of my arrogance from my eyes and I see the vastness of my imperfections and the depth of my sin right in front of me.  He does this to keep me grounded and to bring me back to a point of humility from which I can move toward my neighbors from a position of grace.  He doesn’t do it to take me into a cruel guilt trip.  There is no guilt in His love.  He does it because we are supposed to “clothe ourselves with humility” especially when dealing with one another.  (1 Peter 5: 5)

There cannot be any pride in loving our brothers and sisters.  There cannot be any self-serving attitudes in serving others.  We love and we serve one another motivated by the grace that has been revealed and poured into us, for “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  (Romans 5: 8)  Humbly we love and we serve God’s beloved in honor of the fact that, “For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10: 45)

It is then, that clothed in humility we approach others from a position of grace. Grace is revealed to us often through suffering and painful situations for the purpose of reminding us that we do need a Savior. Grace is given to us abundantly and sufficiently for the purpose of passing it onto our neighbors whom may be caught in the deceiving web of worldly ambitions and pursuits. Grace is given to us freely so we can extend it to our brothers and sisters by the same price.

I pray that I remember this truth next time I experience a less than comfortable situation. I pray and hope I remember that there is purpose in pain, discomfort and suffering. The purpose is to develop an attitude of humility that allows us to acknowledge that we do need a Savior. The purpose is to realize that by grace we are chosen and saved. The purpose is to produce perseverance, character and hope. (Romans 5: 3-4)

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6: 8

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