Archives For humility

We’ve made Jesus too nice in our attempt to get more people to put their trust in Him. Our measure of success is now based on numbers rather than commitment. Once again, I defer to the wisdom of A.W. Tozer to say it best: “The meek and lowly Jesus has displaced the high and holy Jesus in the minds of millions. The vibrant note of triumph is missing in our witness…

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[The early Church] never presented Him as Savior merely. It never occurred to them to invite people to receive ‘peace of mind’ or ‘peace of soul’. Nor did they stop at forgiveness or joy or happiness.” The Jesus of modern Christianity is the least offensive person in history. This is a far cry from the way Jesus lived and taught.

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Christine Caine wrote, “For the joy set before him [Jesus] endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2) For the joy set before Him . . . that’s us! When Jesus was on the cross, the joy that kept Him going—the passion that fueled His endurance of pain—was knowing the freedom His death, burial, and resurrection would produce in our lives.” That’s so beautiful.

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What kind of love is this God has for us? He has always been thinking of you. When He came to earth as a baby, He was thinking of you. When Jesus walked the dusty streets during His ministry, He was thinking of you. And when He hung on that gruesome and horrifying cross, Jesus was thinking about you.

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I love this line from author Alicia Britt Chole: “God was not absent. The challenge was self was so very present.” I cannot count the times I’ve heard people say (and okay, I’m in this group as well), “I feel like God is so far away”. God is never far away. He is always here. Wherever ‘here’ is, God is there. You cannot outrun God, so don’t bother trying to run away. Despite all our ingenuity and technological innovations, we cannot hide from God. God is never far.

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We couldn’t push Him away if we tried. His Spirit guarantees His presence with us always. The problem is not His presence, the issue is we have allowed our selfishness and pride to subtly erode our awareness of Him. To put it bluntly, we can’t get out of our own way to see God is not absent.

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The wisdom of A.W. Tozer continues to confound me. I wish I would have had the opportunity to learn directly from the man, but his books and sermons have left a rich legacy. Hear this from the wise preacher: “The faith of Christ will command or it will have nothing to do with a man. It will not yield to experimentation. Its power cannot reach any man who is secretly keeping an escape route open in case things get too tough for him.

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The only man who can be sure he has true Bible faith is the one who has put himself in a position where he cannot go back. His faith has resulted in an everlasting and irrevocable committal, and however strongly he may be tempted he always replies, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life’ (John 6:68).” How often do we respond to the call of temptation (idolatry) with the words, “To whom shall we go?”

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In her wonderful Lenten devotional, “40 Days of Decrease”, author Alicia Britt Chole writes, “We are duly thankful, challenged, and inspired by Jesus’ forty-day fast from food in the Judean wilderness. Perhaps we should likewise be grateful, awed, and humbled by His thirty-year fast from praise, power, and potential in Nazareth.” We don’t often consider everything Jesus gave up during the thirty years before we read much of Him in the Bible. We know a little about His first two years of life, and then get another brief glimpse when he was around twelve years of age.

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After that, it’s pretty much silent until He steps onto the scene eighteen years later. Through it all, this man was at the same time the almighty Creator of the Universe. He chose to set aside all His power, all His potential, all His right to be praised and lived in the poor and dusty town of Nazareth. This was the ultimate fast. He gave up everything, and He did it for you and me.

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I confess much of what Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote is so deep it eludes me. I wrestle for hours with some of his instruction. Every now and then I come across something he wrote which is plain, simple, and at-once life-changing. One of those statements I read recently was, “My life is put to shame when what I rely on fails.”

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It prompts one to reflect on their own life and ask, “On what am I relying? On what am I building my life? What is my foundation?” So, I will ask you, “What is your foundation?” One thing I know, Christ is reliable without fail. He is fail-proof. No one and nothing else can make this claim.

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Regular readers know I love the teachings of A.W. Tozer. I love the way he pulled no punches and possessed deep insight into the character of God. It’s uncanny how often his writing seems so relevant for today, but in truth was mostly written fifty or more years ago. Here’s something from him which I read recently: “There is something better than being comfortable, and the followers of Christ ought to find it out-the poor, soft, overstuffed Christians of our time ought to find it out!

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There is something better than being comfortable! We… have forgotten altogether that there is such a thing as discipline and suffering.” Along the same lines, he also wrote,” We do not want the cross. We are more interested in the crown.” To put it in simple terms, one could say Christians are “all crown, no cross”.

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One of the most amazing things about God is the way He allows us to choose the way we will go. He doesn’t force us to love Him, to serve Him, to follow Him, or even accept Him. He says, “Here I am. What will you do with Me?” Such humility from anyone is admirable, but from the Creator of all things is incomprehensible. In Philippians 2:5, Paul urged those seeking to follow Jesus to “Make your own attitude that of Jesus Christ.”

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Every day, you get to choose; you get to make your own attitude. Nothing is preordained. Nothing is prescribed. The God of love and freedom leaves the choice to you. He will accept your decision, but He longs for you to come to Him.

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This is the 1,000th post here on EvenIfiWalkAlone.com. That’s over half a million words, and I admit, a little crazy. When I wrote the first post, I didn’t envision writing 999 more. As I realized I was approaching a thousand posts I had to ask myself, “What’s the purpose of it all?” I don’t write to hear myself talk; I have no delusions of being so interesting. I don’t do it for the money; I’ve never attempted to make a single penny off this site (and never have!). So why do I keep pushing new thoughts out there every Monday and Thursday?

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The answer is, perhaps anti-climatically, because of Jesus. Christ told us to take His Word into all the world. The Internet seems like an efficient way for me to follow His mandate. Beyond that, it’s in hopes of making a difference in a single life. I’m grateful for all of you who read this blog, but I feel I would continue even if there was only one. I would because God gave me the ability to write, the gift to encourage, and the command to share His mission. He’s given a similar assignment to you.

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There are days, when I take the time to notice the blessings bestowed upon me, I cannot help but be overwhelmed. Looking around the world, it’s ridiculous how incredibly blessed I am. Chances are, if you are reading this blog, your circumstances are similar. We have much for which to be thankful. To our detriment, it seems we spend far more time complaining about what we don’t have than allowing ourselves to be overwhelmed with what we do.

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For starters, if we have Jesus, what else could we possibly need? Anything other than Christ is just a temporary salve for a temporary wound. We are made complete in Jesus. Yet, God didn’t stop with the most incredible blessing ever. He continues to pour out His goodness into our lives.

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