Archives For humility

Proverbs 10:19 says, “When there are many words, sin is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is wise.” As someone who writes thousands of words each week, this is especially relevant and convicting to me. However, you don’t have to be a writer to need to learn this lesson. If we don’t measure our words, odds are we’re going to say things dishonoring to God, hurtful to others, and regretful to ourselves. Usually, it will be all the above.

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Jesus’s brother James warned our tongues could not be tamed and could start great, destructive fires (James 3:5-9). Paul instructed us to only speak words of encouragement, never saying derogatory or inflammatory things (Ephesians 4:29-32). In a world enamored with social media, it has never been more important to measure your words.

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We are not, by nature, a humble people. We desire to be praised and honored. At times, we even seek it. At the very least, we maintain a deep and sometimes hidden desire to be recognized and known. Our tendency to pursue selfish pleasures over the needs of others is rampant. God forgive us for having our focus on ourselves instead of others. Forgive us for not keeping our eyes on You.

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Our preoccupation with self is destroying our lives, our purpose, and our sense of peace. If we would put Jesus first in our lives, if we would live lives looking like Him, we would be fulfilled and joyful. Alas, we are not a humble people. Humility seems to always lay just beyond our grasp.

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I was talking with a friend recently who was wrestling with figuring out “which Jesus” she should be in given situations. She was asking, should she be the gentle Jesus, the humble Jesus, or the Jesus who overturns tables? It’s a great question and one we all encounter regularly. Put more plainly, we must constantly ask ourselves, “How can I most look like Jesus in this situation?” The good news is there is only one Jesus.

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So regardless of our actions, as long as we are making our decision based on the character of Christ, we will look like Jesus in that moment. While this is good to know in theory, the challenge comes in determining how this plays out in practical ways in our day to day lives.

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In the United States, on the day this is being published, it is Memorial Day. It’s a day to remember the brave soldiers who have given their lives so those in this Country can live in freedom. Thanks to their sacrifice, we are free to worship as we choose, free to speak our minds, and free to do with our lives what we will. We can debate the travesty of violence and the suspect definition of a “just war” another time.

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For today, all those living in freedom would be well-served to thank a veteran and remember those who have passed away. With that said, none of this means anything if not for the ultimate sacrifice paid by one man over two thousand years ago.

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Almost forty years ago, Keith Green recorded a song called, “Make My Life a Prayer to You”. While we could argue about how well the music has held up over time, the lyrics are timeless. “Make my life a prayer to you / I wanna do what you want me to / No empty words and no white lies / No token prayers no compromise”.

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What if we lived our lives as if they were prayers to Jesus? What if we kept Him the center of our focus in every moment we lived? Shouldn’t we all desire to live with no token prayers and no compromise? After all, this is the life Jesus called us to live.

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Who is it you want to be? More importantly, who is it God wants you to be? If the answers to both questions are not aligned, you are setting yourself up for a life of frustration and emptiness. No matter how far you advance on your dream of becoming who you want to be, if it isn’t the person God wants you to be, there will always be a gnawing hole inside. There will be an ache none of your success can fill.

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We were designed and created to serve and love God, to live in relationship with Him. Our thoughts were meant to be as His thoughts, our actions and motivations the same as His. Until we reconcile who God wants us to be, we will never become who we truly desire to be.

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In his book, “Together is Better”, Simon Sinek writes, “We can start a revolution when we know what we stand against. To create change that lasts, however, we need to know what we stand for.” (emphasis mine) This advice is great for our lives as disciples. It’s easy to tell the world what we’re against. Doing so may even gain us a following of sorts. But if we look at the way Jesus lived, He spent His time demonstrating what He was for.

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In doing so, he caused a change so radical it split time in two. We now refer to dates based on those before Jesus came (B.C.), and after His birth (A.D.). The followers of Jesus in first century Israel were looking to Him to denounce all the Roman Empire was doing. They were looking for a revolution. Jesus brought something better. He brought a glorious change to their lives and to our world.

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I’ve always loved Colossians 3:23-24, and have aspired to live my life according to its instruction. “Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ.” It’s both a challenge and a frustration because I know too often I fail to live out this simple command.

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Yet, if we take it to heart, it has the potential to reshape our perspective, our attitude, and every interaction we have throughout our day. How might our lives be different if we determined to do everything we did with enthusiasm and as an act of service to God?

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Jesus is love. For many of us, this goes without saying. But do we really know what it means? Recently I was reading the famous “love” passage in I Corinthians 13, and it struck me I was reading about Jesus. For years, I’ve read this passage through the lens of how to better love my wife and others. As I read this time, it suddenly occurred to me this was more than a description of what love looks like in action. It was a description of Jesus Himself.

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As the embodiment of love, I Corinthians offers us a perfect description of who Jesus is. I’m confident I’m not the first to have this revelation, but even if you’ve heard this before, take a moment to re-read the passage, substituting the word, “Jesus” every time you see the word, “love”.

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Becoming a disciple of Jesus can seem like a lot of work, but upon closer examination, we see work has little to do with it. Instead, following Jesus as a true disciple is about doing just a few things well. As I’ve continued my journey to discipleship, I’ve come to realize there are three keys to spiritual success. Craig Groeschel summed these up well in his latest book, “Divine Direction”.

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He wrote, “It’s the faithfulness to do mundane things well, develop productive habits, and to remain faithful that eventually leads to success.” These are three simple concepts, all of which have the potential to unleash incredible results in our quest to live a more Christ-like life.

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