Tag Archives: humility

Don’t be shocked!

Are you shocked by the love that is offered by Jesus and His disciples? His grace transcends the barriers between those who are visibly sinful and His perfection. He longs for fellowship with those who know they are unworthy. 
Luke 15:1-2 “Now the tax collectors and dinners were all drawing near to hear Him. And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
Perhaps if you find yourself shocked by His love for the unlovely, you must repent of a Pharisaical attitude. Jesus loves a truly repentant former Pharisee too. 

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Luke 7:36-50

“36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.

39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.”

40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.”

44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say amongh themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.””

The religious leaders of the day did not show much honor to Jesus, even the honor that was custom in the culture at that time when you had a guest in your home! In contrast, this woman, a person from the street corner, recognized the greatness of Jesus and the darkness of her son. She as truly grieved for her sin, begged for His forgiveness through her humility, had faith that Jesus could forgive even the most vile sins, and honored Him as King with anointing.

Jesus tells us that she was forgiven of her sons because of her faith, but that the Pharisees who didn’t even honor Him with the most basic practices of respect, lacked the humility and faith needed in order to be forgiven of their sins.

Let us be more like the woman – recognizing God’s greatness and the magnitude of our sin, rather than only trying to appear religious to others. “For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7b)

“Humble and Kind”

If you’re a fan of country music, you’ve probably heard Tim McGraw’s song “Humble and Kind.” If we look at Luke 6:37-42, we see Jesus telling His disciples to stay humble and kind towards their brothers.

Humility and kindness often involves forgiveness, and often isn’t easy. It’s usually easier to find other’s faults, rather than to do some serious self-introspection. God asks us to first look at ourselves and see how we measure up to His commandments before we examine the faults of those around us.

Our standing before God, i.e. our personal faith, is more important than worrying about what everyone around us is or isn’t doing to honor God. We should also remember the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf, that makes us righteous, knowing that our salvation is “not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:9) This fact should make us truly humbled. Those who are humble should also be kind, since we at not any better than anyone else. Our good works do not attain our standing before God.

It is important, however, to kindly share the truth found in God’s Word. Sharing the truth is not a personal judgement – it’s telling how God judges righteously and does not tolerate sin.

Before listening to human preachers/teachers, we are commanded by God to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)

The Bible says that we aren’t to judge using a standard we aren’t willing to uphold ourselves: “For in be same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:2)

Glory in the Gory

As followers of Christ, it is imperative that our pride and our focus be in the blood of Jesus, that pays for our sin.

As humans, it is so tempting to focus on our own earthly accomplishments, or eve to glory in the religious practices we do, the number of prayers we pray in a day, or in our theological knowledge. While many of these are good and honoring to God, pride in the doing of them, or thinking we have everything figured out (i.e. spiritual arrogance) is sin. 

Our good works here on earth may honor the Lord, when done in the right spirit, but they do nothing to save us or justify us before Almighty God.

We should, instead of directing our attention and the attentions of others on ourselves, “glory in the gory” – focus on the death of Christ on the cross. His gruesome death, with the weight of our sin on His shoulders, and His glorious resurrection, are the only reason we are viewed by God as righteous and worthy to be present with Him, worshipping for all of eternity.
  

Healing: A Leper With Faith

In the story of the leper in Luke 5:12-15, we see several important qualities in this man of faith. 

He fell on his face” – this man had humility as he encountered the living God. 

“…(He) begged Him” – this man sought the Lord with an earnest request.

He called Jesus “Lord,” showing respect for His deity, and position of authority over mankind.

When he asked for healing, he said, “if You will,” recognizing that God does what He wills.

You can make me clean” – despite all the suffering that this man had endured, he believed in the power of God to heal and restore.

He knew the decision was ultimately up to God, not how he formulated his request, yet he still asked respectfully, in a way that focused on God rather than on himself.

For those of us praying for healing for ourselves or others, may we remember to ask God respectfully, with a humble attitude as we bring our earnest request before Him, while recognizing that God has the power to heal and restore, but the decision is up to Him, and we should have faith in Him no matter how He chooses to answer.

It is also important to realize that the Lord often uses different methods for different people – He knows our hearts like no one else. Often, He answers in a way that is different from how we expect Him to, or in a different way than He answered someone else with the same request. For example, in 2 Kings 5:11, Naaman was shocked that the prophet of the Lord didn’t even come to him directly, but rather sent a message to him telling him to wash in the nasty Jordan river. He didn’t come and heal him with a quick prayer or a flick of the wrist. At first, he was very upset that his expectations were unmet. “But Naaman went away angry and said, ‘I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the Name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot, and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?’ So he turned and went off in a rage.” (2 Kings 5:11-12)

Thankfully, his servants reasoned with him and he obeyed the Lord and experienced healing. “So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.” (2 Kings 5:14) Naaman’s healing was preceded by obedience to God, even though God’s will did not fall within his human expectations, and required humility. 

As we pray for healing, let us have hearts that are willing to comply with the will of God in humble obedience. Let us not try to fit God into our human box, limiting what He will require of us or limiting His power. 

  

Righteous Before God

“And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly  in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord.” (Luke 1:6)

How amazing would it be if God said this about you and me! How amazing would it be if this was what other people said when they saw us living our lives! After all, as we say in the catechism, “the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Our main goal in life should be to live in a way that brings glory and honor to God.

In our desire to be righteous before God, we are not to harbor pride in our hearts because of how we keep God’s law. We must remember that it is the righteousness of Christ that makes us righteous – without Him we are nothing. 

Jesus didn’t come for people who already think they have it all together on their own, but for those who admit their need for a Savior. “While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with Him and His disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked His disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ On hearing this, Jesus said, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: –I desire mercy, not sacrifice.– For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’ ” (Matthew 9:10-13) 

We must not look around at others and have a condescending attitude, making ourselves feel more righteous because we don’t sin in the same way as someone else. “The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like the other men — swindlers, evil doers, adulterers — or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:11-14)

When we come before God Almighty, Who sent His one and only Son to die as a sacrifice for our sins, we must bow before Him with an attitude of humility, grateful to Him for His work in our lives, not boasting and trusting in ourselves to earn any favor from God. Let us be found faithful in our righteousness that comes from the faithful righteousness of Jesus our Savior.