SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT FOR TODAY (November 28, 2013)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another” Galatians 5:22-26.
“SINCE WE LIVE BY THE SPIRIT, LET US KEEP IN STEP WITH THE SPIRIT” Galatians 5:25 (NIV).
We have already made mention of the humility of Jesus Christ and emphasized that he MUST be our model. However, as Christians we can also learn something from the apostles who also learnt humility from Jesus and demonstrated it. One such person is the Apostle Paul. He was a well-learned man and very respected among the Pharisees. Academically and religiously, he accomplished a lot. Yet when Jesus found him and commissioned him, he did no longer boast in his accomplishments but in Jesus Christ and his cross. Paul also understood and taught that there is nothing we have which we did not receive from the Lord. Therefore, we should always boast in the cross by which we have been saved and blessed with all the heavenly blessings. When we develop this attitude, we will be able to humble ourselves before God and before all men.
It is also important to say that Paul did not only accomplish a lot outside of Christianity that he could boast of. He also accomplished a lot when he became a Christian. Yet he did not see it as his achievements, but what Christ did through him. He acknowledged the hand of God in everything he did and gave the glory to God. Paul could have boasted about the miracles he performed, the people he discipled and the many churches he founded. He traveled wider than all the Apostles as far as I know, and founded more churches than all the other apostles. Out of the Twenty-seven canonical books of the New Testament, at least thirteen (13) of them can be attributed to him. This makes him the most popular author of the New Testament. Just pause and think about what Paul accomplished. Yet in all these, Paul never boasted about what God did through him but rather on what God had done for him through the cross.
Just as God used Paul to accomplish a lot in his time, he is also using many people to accomplish much more in our time. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. His miracle power is still at work. He is still founding churches through many of his chosen ones. God is still using many more people in this generation to disciple a lot of people just as he used Paul for. The biggest difference between what happened in the past, especially in Paul’s ministry and what is happening today is the lack of humility or the presence of pride in the hearts of many people being used by God today. We are living in an era where people who are being used by God for great accomplishments tend to take the glory which belongs to God. Many people boast about what God has used them to accomplish as if they achieved them by their own efforts. When God uses someone to do something for another person, he expects to be praised as if it was by his own power. Sometimes we become angry when people fail to thank us for what God used us to do in their lives. These are all traits of pride. If God uses you to do something for another, and you acknowledge that God indeed did it through you, you would never expect that person to come back to thank you, let alone becoming angry when the person refuses to appreciate you. Why not encourage them to give the glory to God instead of taking or expecting the glory which belongs to God?
One dangerous thing many ministers of the gospel, especially prayer warriors and those with gifts of miracles, healing and prophecies are doing is the way they talk about what God has done through them as if it was by their own doing. Because someone was healed after our prayers does not mean we are the healers. Because someone had a breakthrough in life after we had prayed with them does not mean we are powerful. The fact that God used us to predict something accurately to a group or an individual does not mean we are able to predict all things. Let us not make the mistake of thinking that we can do anything without Jesus Christ. If we boast about what happened during our church meeting or crusade as if we were the people who caused those miracles to happen, we should remember that God does not share his glory with anyone and he will humble the proud.
“HUMBLE YOURSELVES, THEREFORE, UNDER GOD’S MIGHTY HAND, THAT HE MAY LIFT YOU UP IN DUE TIME” 1 Peter 5:6.
“HUMBLE YOURSELVES BEFORE THE LORD, AND HE WILL LIFT YOU UP” James 4:10.
“PRIDE BRINGS A PERSON LOW, BUT THE LOWLY IN SPIRIT GAIN HONOR” Proverbs 23:29.
Let us always remember that God is watching us and listening to us. If we put up the attitude of pride, he will not be happy with us, but if we humble ourselves even when he uses us to do things that cause people to shower praises on us, he will bless us.
It is very important for all Christians to learn to develop the right attitude toward humility. The first and foremost step to help us to develop humility is to develop the right attitude towards God. Humility toward God is much like the fear of God; it begins with a high view of God’s person. As we see God in His majesty, awesomeness, and holiness, we are humbled before Him. On every occasion in the Scriptures in which man is privileged to view God in His glory the result is humility. We cannot begin to experience humility in any other relationship until we experience humility in our attitude toward God. When we develop the right attitude toward God, we shall be humble before God even in our prayer lives. A humble Christ will not be giving God instructions during prayers. It is only the proud and arrogant Christian who can say: “God you better give me a husband/wife/job by the end of this year or I will stop going to church.” I wonder if such a person is even fit to be called Christian at all.
Furthermore, we can develop humility when we develop the right attitude toward God’s word. A person who is truly humble before God will also be humble before God’s Word. We should not treat the Word of God simply as a source of knowledge about Him. We must recognize that it is an expression of His will for our daily lives. As we search the Scriptures we must allow them to search us! If the Lord Jesus Christ were to appear to us today and instruct us concerning the importance to go into all the world with the gospel we wouldn’t hesitate to obey… if He instructed us on the importance of anything we would immediately obey Him… We must realize that He speaks to us every day of our lives through the Words of the Bible.
Finally, we must develop the right attitude toward the grace of God. When a believer is truly humble before God and His Word, he will also be humble about his own gifts, abilities, and attainments. He will realize and gratefully acknowledge that whatever he has or accomplished comes from the hand of God. We are quick to quote Ephesians 2:8-9 concerning our salvation saying that it is all of grace, but often we want to claim some credit for what we have accomplished for the Lord since being saved! Let us remember what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:10,
“BUT BY THE GRACE OF GOD I AM WHAT I AM…”
May the Lord help us as we ponder over his word and become truly humble!
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.