Psalm 18:29 With Your help, I can advance against a troop; with my God, I can scale a wall.
In many of my courses in college, I often felt I was alone against the bloodthirsty horde of complicated equations and theories. I believed everyone except me got it the first time and understood the material. I thought they were successfully advancing against those looming homework assignments onto victory at test day.
Now as a teacher of those same formulas and scientific laws, I realize that my perception of everyone else was dead wrong. Only the rare gifted student grabs the concepts and connections the first go-round. Only the rare gifted student attaches application to theory without guided instruction.
In college and afterwards, I often felt that I was alone against an insurmountable list of do’s and don’ts of the Christian life full of expectations and examples from Scripture. I believed every other Christian except me got it and understood what it meant to be a Christian. I thought they were living lives filled with joy, contentment, and satisfaction while achieving daily victories against pride, greed, and envy.
Now I realize that my perception of everyone else was dead wrong. I had been deceived by my own arrogance disguised as insecurity.
Now I know there are no super-Christians; there are only humble believers who know Who God is and who they’re not. “Humility does not mean thinking less of yourself than of others, nor does it mean having a low opinion of your gifts. It means freedom from thinking of yourself at all.” (W. Temple)
It is the humility present in these rare gifted believers which gives opportunities for Christ to work out the miraculous through them for lives filled with joy, contentment, and satisfaction free of pride, greed, and envy. It is humility that drives them to pursue God with whole hearts which thirst for more (see Psalm 63:1-8 and Matthew 5:6). Humility gives courage to advance against a troop of doubt and scale the wall of disappointment.
And I want that. I want the courage only humility can give.
I am grateful that humility is not reserved for the rare gifted student (or teacher) of Scripture. I am delighted that humility is not confined to the exceptional prayer warrior or preacher. I am expectant that humility is not meted out only to those who can afford it.
Because I know that humility is available to any and to all who ask for it in repentance and full acceptance of mercy’s redemption all the while setting aside themselves… just like Jesus did in Philippians 2:6-11 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Do you want that too?
Then come with me to Jesus without letting anything or anyone stand in your way (including yourself). Come and find that He is indeed gentle and humble in heart and will teach us what it really means to be free as in Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Dear Father God,
Thank You that You call me to come and when I do, You give rest. Please give me the soul rest that only comes from humbling myself before You. Please give me the courage that only comes from finding myself in You. There is none like You, God, thank You for always being near.
in the strong Name of Jesus,
written by and copyrighted to Beth Madison, Ph.D., 2021
2 thoughts on “I want that.”
Thanks Beth! Wise words. Thanks for sharing!
I too always thought I was the thick-headed lout that didn’t get it. It was years before I realized that I was not alone.
When I first became a Christian, I was trained, over time, to be a formulaic one. Alone in the dark of my bedroom back in my college days I would listen to a pastor on Sunday nights. One of those nights I asked God to enter my heart and change me. Jesus was so compelling! I followed no formula, I just prayed honestly to God. I then joined a church and began to learn about the Bible. And there I was taught that one needed to “Repent, Believe, Receive” and the gospel became something of a recipe for salvation. (Actually, my second church was greater on a simple, cut and dried, formulaic aspect…)
Being much older now, I realize that the depth of God’s Grace and Wisdom are well beyond me. I don’t get it- and that’s okay! No formula captures what God is doing, and no one understands God’s Ways. Humility is indeed called for! I am a small, sinful, mistake-prone man. The new world to come and new life ahead will stun and amaze us. There will undoubtedly be many surprises!
The key thing is simply to hang on to Jesus…
I need to hush and wrap this up. I appreciate the W. Temple quote that you shared. One that blesses me that I have on my office door is by theologian W. Barclay. He says: “Our faith must be a first-hand discovery, and not a second-hand story.” That quote stays on my door to remind me that my relationship with God is just that—mine. It is unique, and God can love and work with each of us with all our differences.
Thanks again and thanks for enduring my rambling.
LikeLiked by 1 person
oh thank YOU, David, for taking the time to share this wisdom from a humble heart today! You are one of the first who come to mind as an example of humility in how you love Jesus and people deeply and openly!