Let's go back to the time before even mankind was created, to the original sin of all God's creatures. Isaiah gives us a glimpse into the heart of the culprit: Isaiah 14:12-15. The contagious infection was easily spread to God's crowning creation. The core of the problem in the Garden of Eden was not about eating fruit. It was about thinking they deserved more. It was the sin of pride. Since that first sin in the Garden, every sin ever committed, has had the same core: a lack of humility= pride. The problem is, that most people in this room truly feel you don't have a major problem with pride, and that's a pretty arrogant thought: Luke 18:9-14.
The truth is that many of us (actually all) have areas of our lives that are seriously affected by our lack of humbleness, but like the Pharisee in this story, we truly feel we are doing well in God's eyes. We, like the Pharisee, like to remain dignified, but, the Publican who was humbled, was justified. You may even bristle up a bit at this statement that you are proud, but the Pharisee listened to Jesus less than anyone. Please just give your heart to God's Word and Spirit as we continue through this lesson together (don’t be a Pharisee). But He gives more grace. Therefore, it says, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." (James 4:6). “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.” (Proverbs 16:5).
Before we can show how a lack of humbleness is affecting us, we must first get a very accurate picture of what humbleness really is and is not. Most feel that humbleness is having a low opinion of yourself, thinking that others are better or more deserving than you. Is anybody better than Jesus? No. Is anybody more deserving than Jesus? No. And yet, Jesus was the perfect picture of humbleness and meekness on this earth: Jesus, the Image of the Invisible God (Col. 1:15).
Philippians 2:5-8: The key phrase in this verse about Jesus is, "... but MADE Himself of no reputation..." Jesus didn't think poorly of Himself. He simply saw such love and worth in others, that He made all thoughts and desires for Self become second to caring for them. His Will, His comfort, and His wants all became secondary and expendable in love for another. Humbleness, in its purest form then is to realize that your highest goal is not in having everything you want, everything you feel you deserve, or that you are even justly due, but rather in giving all that you are, with no thought of self or reputation, in recognition of the worth of others. Our culture, which almost always teaches the exact opposite of God's Wisdom, has taught us this way of thinking shows weakness and insignificance. That we deserve more, and we should take care of ourselves above others, and this lie has permeated our thinking, Christians included, until it has destroyed the kind of love God created us to have for one another, causing us to be miserable in our self-focused worlds and to devalue and hurt one another.
Listen, and watch, for the ways we have each allowed our own lack of humility to do great damage to ourselves and those we love in our lives. Remember, everything that brings sin, starts with a root of pride. 1) a look at our attitudes through humbleness: we have become a culture that is perpetually offended by everything. This stems directly from the fact that self is the primary concern in all matters. If we would truly focus on the worth of others, rather than how they are not meeting my needs and wants, we wouldn't have the desire, or time, to look for all the ways we have not been done right. We would stop being the perpetual victim. If we could see that caring for others is more important than self, we would stop using our freedoms as an excuse to offend, to sin, to speak in hatred, and to criticize. If we could learn to be truly humble, that would mean some of you stop making every moment, conversation, and act be about yourself, what you've done, what happened to you, how good you are, how humbly you serve, or what your opinion is on everything. Remember, to be humble means to think less of self and reputation and more about what needs to be done. It means you might spend more time asking and listening to other people's hurts and needs, rather than focusing on self in every conversation. It means you will stop making excuses and being irritated when you mess up or are corrected and simply agree in humbleness. It means that when you meet hostility or resistance, you will not write someone off, but continue to care and pray. It means you will look constantly at the reasons you have to be thankful and grateful instead of feeling everything is deserved. It means you will stop wanting more than you need. Most aren't concerned with having more, they are concerned with having more in comparison to others, and if everyone was at a lower standard of living, they'd probably be ok there as well. It means racism and social prejudice would end, because we see the true worth of others above self, and because no one owes me anything, I am a debtor to all. It means you will stop feeling superior for things given to you by God as a gift and you'll begin to use your gifts selflessly to help others. And in case I haven't offended everyone yet: here's more. 2) a look at our sins through humbleness. Questions: Do you think you are smarter than God? Have you been around longer than God? Do you know how to love better than God? Every time you choose a way of life that is contrary to what He has chosen for us, you are saying that you are smarter, or that you just don't care—both are rooted in total pride. Listen to the following Words of the Almighty God: Hebrews 13:4: Yet how many think as long as you love one another it's ok? How many have chosen to live together before marriage? Matthew 19:9: How many decide they have reasons for divorce that trump God's plan? How many marry someone they know is not divorced in God's eyes? 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: How many have decided that God's plan for homosexuality is outdated and non-applicable today? How about those who get drunk and high regularly? 2 Corinthians 9:7, 1 Corinthians 16:2: How many still give when they want, if they want, and how they want? And to ever speak of the subject, offends them? Hebrews 10:24-25: How many say, "Well I can worship at home just fine,"? How many give little to no priority to assembling together each week? Ephesians 5:22-25: How many women think this is for days gone passed, and wouldn't be caught dead following their husband's lead? How many husbands refuse to love and adore their wives? And to give themselves sacrificially for them today? And neither of those commands happened to say, "When they deserve it?" Job 40:6-8: In our pride, we think we can change God's Commandments, and His judgments. Well, He is a loving and merciful God, but, He is also a just and righteous God, who will not be ignored out of pride and selfishness. Just be honest, if you are purposefully living a lifestyle contrary to God—you have decided in your arrogance, that you are smarter, or more important than Him. You are standing in pride. 3) speaking of husbands and wives, what would our relationships look like through the lens of humbleness? How many relationships would still be flourishing, if we would live in humbleness with our spouses, instead of pride and selfishness? Some of our marriages would become phenomenal. A humble spouse doesn't live in constant frustration over what their mate won't do for them or does all wrong. They see the worth in their mate, and give selflessly even in times when they do not receive, asking God to change them, as they live them. They do not have to be right every time. It doesn't have to be their way every time. They will focus more on loving, growing and helping their mate, than on having the perfect marriage with perpetual good times, creating more love than the search for, "What they can do for me now!” will ever bring. And in our relationships with our spouses, ex's, parents, or anyone else who may have done us very wrong at some point, it is easy and natural to hold anger and resentment towards them, but humbleness helps us remember all that has been done for us undeservedly. Humbleness helps us see the worth of a broken, bitter, misled soul in need of healing. Do you remember when Moses' sister Miriam, disrespected and discredited him out of her jealousy? When she was stricken with leprosy, it was Moses' prayers that healed her. I truly believe the humble prayers of one done wrong, on the behalf of the one who hurt them, are the sweetest and most effective in God's eyes: Luke 6:27-28: What did Jesus pray as they crucified Him? “Forgive them Father, they don’t know what they are doing!” Only true humbleness, can ask forgiveness and healing, on behalf of one who caused them pain (will set you free). 4) without humbleness there can never be true worship. How unfathomably worthy is the God who would give everything He has to save us? Yet we feel He owes us, somehow. Listen to this picture of true, humble, worship: Luke 7:36-38: This woman, was probably a prostitute, and would be totally humiliated to even be in front of the religious Pharisees, much less at their house. She brought a gift that would probably have cost all she had financially, and there in front of those who hated and ridiculed her already, she used her hair, and her tears to wash His feet, kissing them, and anointing them with oil that cost everything (not supposed to let hair down, not supposed to touch Him, or especially kiss Him). She did all of this, while publicly crying uncontrollably in passion and brokenness. She gave all she had with joy, having no thought of self or reputation before others, to show worth and honor to the One she loved. If we can't show that kind of selflessness to the One who was first so humble, as God that He hung naked, ripped to pieces, tormented, ridiculed, mocked, and forsaken, died alone and feeling lost and forsaken in His soul to save us from the agony we deserve—when will we ever be moved to humbleness? We cannot have this kind of selfless love on our own. It requires trusting the Spirit of God that lives inside of you: Ephesians 4:1-3: when you humble yourself in love, servitude and sacrifice to Christ and others, rather than living for self as the world teaches us, Christ doesn't leave you there. He lifts you up in praise and honor: Luke 14:11.
Do you want to be much more content? Want to lose the depression and bitterness? Want to get away from the sin that holds you? Want to heal your marriage? Want to draw closer to Christ? It all begins with letting go of pride and living in humbleness before Christ. Do you want to be dignified, or justified?
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