Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Understanding Grace: True Humility by the Grace of God

18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18

 Humility, this principle is spoken of many times in God's Word. This is one area where we all can agree fruit should abound. That is without question. However, understanding what it actually means to be humble has alluded so many believers. The heart of the matter is defining humility and understanding its place in the life of the Believer.

 The Word of God plainly instructs us to clothe ourselves with humility 
You younger men, follow the leadership of those who are older. And all of you serve each other with humble spirits, for God gives special blessings to those who are humble, but sets himself against those who are proud. If you will humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, in his good time he will lift you up. 1 Peter 5:5-6
 Stated the same in other translations
...“God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time 1 Peter 5:5b-6
 It is quite clear we need to embrace humility. There is obvious benefit to remaining humble and not prideful. He gives freely His grace to the humble but resists the prideful. He promises to lift us up when we remain humble.
 What would cause God to resist someone? Is God just an egotist who demands we remain lowly and despise ourselves but exalt Him? This is the furthest thing from the truth. He stated in the Word He will lift up or exalt those who humble themselves. God has no issue with exaltation, its self exaltation He resists.

 Grace the secret ingredient to "humble pie"

When we lift ourselves what are we actually doing? We are essentially stating "God, I got this". "God I don't need you"."God I can do this by myself." Most of us would be quick to say I'd never say this or have that attitude. Yet when we reject grace for works and performance that is what we are saying.

 When we understand our salvation, our righteousness, our new life is all because of what He did and not by our works or striving, then we will be walking in true humility. The idea that salvation begun with Him but is completed by us is rooted in pride. We are lowering ourselves in a good sense to accept by faith what He accomplished in the Finished Work. This is what it means to humble yourself. 

True versus False Humility 

 Admitting a need or that you require help is a sure sign of humility.  When you come to realize you can't do it alone or haven't got the full ability to fix everything that is a sure sign of being humble. When you see yourself as God sees you and are not saying I am better than so and so you are walking in humility. 

 When we have a healthy self image but not thinking to highly of ourselves we are abiding in humility. Whenever we reject the notion that "it's all about me" then you're displaying humility. Placing others needs over your own is being fruitful in humility. 

 Humility then is not a bad word. It is love in action. It is not having the inflated ego. It is readily accepting what God says about you. What then is false humility? Let the Word of God define it for us
 How then can man be righteous before God? Or how can he be pure who is born of a woman? If even the moon does not shine,
And the stars are not pure in His sight, How much less man, who is a maggot, And a son of man, who is a worm?” Job 25:4-6

 This is false humility. Bildad the Shuhite stated these words. These are words uttered that God accurately recorded to reveal how men try and understand the things of God without having full knowledge of God. In simpler terms this was truly stated and recorded in the Word but its not a statement of truth. 

The worm syndrome

 This is the "humility" religious tradition wishes us to embrace. They proclaim "we must be meek and mild, so realize you are nothing!" False humility rejects the truth that we are the righteousness of God apart from works. Religious humility wants us to hold our heads down in lowliness continually feeling bad for our sins.  

 False humility embraces what I call the worm syndrome. "You are so unworthy." "You are nothing." "You are lowly and so insignificant in God's eyes." "Our life is just a vapor." It demands we debase ourselves. Self is now the enemy of our souls. 

We must decrease so God can increase?

 This is a loaded question. If we can say fleshly thinking, such as selfishness or taking advantage of others or tearing down others should fall away from our thinking, certainly we can agree with that. However, when religion cries we must decrease they are not just referring to the flesh but our self. As if our self, our personalities and interests are in themselves wrong and need to be removed for God to show Himself stronger. 

 Here is some good news Believers, self is not the issue. You see we who have received New Life in Him have a new self. Our personalities are who God made us. God said the treasure from Heaven is in Earthly or "clay" pots. Our self is not hindering God. 

 God celebrates us. He made us unique and wonderful. "Oh, we need to die to self brother." That is religious tradition. Our old self is already dead. We are remade new in His image and He lives and abides in us now. Sin and flesh are our enemies not our self. 

 What then is the flesh? The flesh is not our bodies. Our bodies are the temple of God. Flesh is a mindset. Flesh is a way of thinking contrary to God's Word. It is the policies of the "former administration". We used to be dominated by a sin nature now we are free and made new. 

 When the thought comes God won't forgive me for this sin. Realize you're in the flesh. That is wrong. The Word declared you are already forgiven of all your sins. If the thought comes God is displeased with you, again that is flesh not the Word. It is flesh not self we oppose. 

 True humility is not debasing ourselves. It is not hanging our heads in shame. It is not groveling before God to receive from Him. It's not begging God to "take us back" when we blow it. It is not trying to decrease our self or God given personality. 

 True humility is placing ourselves under God's mighty hand. It's us putting all our hopes and trust in His Finished Work. It's accepting the reality we can't save ourselves or change our circumstances without His hand of favor. It is agreeing with who God says we are.

 We are washed and forever cleansed by His blood. We are forever forgiven of all our sins. We exchanged our sinfulness at the Cross for His perfect righteousness. We are the righteousness of God in Him apart from performance or Law. We identify with our righteous new nature within. We can come boldly before Him and confidently fellowship and commune with our Father. We rejoice knowing He has purchased for us perfect redemption. 

 Reject false humility and embrace the true. Stay with His hand of favor and let Him promote you. Let go of schemes or attempts at people pleasing or influence and trust His timing and favor. We are loved, accepted and forgiven. Rest in your true identity. 


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