Friday, June 6, 2014

Humble Yourselves

Homeless Jesus
Timothy P. Schmalz
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty HAND of GOD so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your Anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. BE soBer-minDeD; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. RESIST HIM, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself ResToRe, ConFiRm, sTrengTHeN, and EsTaBLisH you. To Him be the dominion forever and ever. AMEN." (1 Peter 5:6-11)

Humility: a low view of one's own importance. That's what the dictionary says. The Bible says something quite different. Our Lord perfected humility when He came down from heaven, was incarnate by the Holy Spirit and became man (Nicene Creed).
"But we see Him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone." (Hebrews 2:9)
Perfect humility. Christ didn't think of Himself as less important. He became less important: less important than the angels, and less important than you and I. As for the rest of us, humility is a daily battle with sin, with incurvatus in se. St. Augustine and Martin Luther argued that it's the nature of sin to be curved in on itself. Nothing proves this fact more so than chronic pain, the result of living in fallen bodies. Our bodies constantly cry out to be the center of our attention. We would love to be able to focus on something else, anything else, but these bodies keep us in chains. They keep us confined, more than keeping us from thinking of others, they keep us from doing things for others.
"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me." (1 Corinthians 15:10)
We know how unimportant we are. Our phones never ring because friends gave up on us long ago. Our doctors have given up on us. Our spouses, our employers... Whoops, look who the center of attention is again. True humility, oddly enough, is NOT thinking about how unimportant we are. It's not a low view of our own importance. It's that our own importance isn't even in view.

Misery loves company, they say. So we compare problems. Whatever terrible thing we're going though, rest assured someone somewhere has had it worse. Humility begins to creep in, and maybe even a little guilt, as we go down the line of long-suffering sinful, fallen people in sinful, fallen bodies living in a sinful, fallen world until finally we end at Christ: He who suffered the fate of all so that those who believe in Him would be given eternal life through Him. No one has suffered more than He. Because of Him, we never, ever suffer alone. (See My Song is Love Unknown).

It's not that your problems are unimportant. It's that they've already been solved, and you know it. Talk to someone who doesn't know it. Resist the devil's urge to make you stare at your own belly button and humble yourselves. Do whatever it takes to step outside yourself. Go to church. Visit a friend. Think about Christ and what He did for you. Think about your neighbor and do what you can for them. You are stronger than your body because you have been made so by the grace of God.
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 2:9a)

Suggested verse to repeat if it's a difficult day is from Psalm 25:2a.
PRC buddies, remember to breathe!
"O my God, in You -------> 5 count inhale
I trust." -------> 5 count exhale

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