My daddy gave me some great advice that I still try to follow. He said, "Ashley, I don't want to hear you bragging about the good things you do, that's what I'm for." He went on to explain that nobody wants to hear someone talking about how great he/she is. He told me my actions would speak louder than my words, and that he would always be there to "talk me up". :) I've told my daddy how wise I think he is, but I still don't know if he knows the depths of the lessons he has taught me.
Humility. I love the word. When I see this in people, it makes me stop - literally. I want to study the person who displays this trait, and I want to know more. I want to be more humble. (and I do pronounce the "h" - do you?) The world is full of arrogance and arrogant people. I wonder if they ever get tired of themselves? I certainly do! I can't say that I am always act in humility. I've had an issue lately where my pride was invited to get in the way, and I didn't like myself. I was reminded today of the very first person in whom I recognized this awesome character trait. His name is Jesus.
He was GOD, and He never acted like He was better than anyone else. What power! Pastor Chris taught us today about the cycle we go through that steals our joy - and our humility. You know I have to share it with you! We have been in a series entitled "Baggage". Today he talked about the freedom we have in Christ, and how sadly, many of us go through a cycle where we let our freedom slip away. When we receive freedom, the next thing that usually follows is prosperity. What have you been freed from? Financial issues, marital issues, weight/health issues, job-related issues, relational issues? Have you gotten to the point where you experienced some prosperity - some success? Pastor Chris says most people don't know how to handle the prosperity with humility, which causes one of two things to happen. 1)We become arrogant. Look what I can do. I have come such a long way and I will NOT go back to where I was. I'm awesome! or 2)We become complacent. I'm good, I'm just gonna hang out and enjoy this. I don't have to work hard anymore - the Lord has blessed me. If we fall prey to one of these responses, the next step is bondage.
In my life, I have learned all too well that I am not the reason for any success I may have. Anything that is good in me or in my life, or any influence (favor) I may have is completely from the Lord! I despise arrogance so much that I believe it has thrown me more into category #2. I struggle with complacency. I would rather back down any day than to compete. I used to be very competitive - in my pre-teen and teenage years. That is when I struggled (more inwardly, than outwardly) with arrogance - trying to be the best, trying to stay on top. I decided when I gave myself completely to the Lord, at 19, that I was done with the competitive arrogant me.
I have to find some holy ground in all of this. I know the Lord doesn't want me to lie down and be complacent. I need to learn which fights are worth fighting - the ones that bring honor to Him. I do want to fight for his kingdom! So, Pastor Chris gives us three ways to stay free in Christ.
1)Humility "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgression. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin...The sacrifices (what God really likes)are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise." Psalm 51:1-2; 17
2)Honesty "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness,. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and His word has no place in our lives."1 JN 1 :9-10)
"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed." James 5;16
3)Holy Spirit "You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you." Romans 8:9
"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is FREEDOM." 2 Cor. 3:17
I hope this speaks to you tonight. It spoke to me hard today! I want my life to reflect the humility that comes from serving my precious Jesus! I don't want to be complacent with my freedom anymore! When I experience prosperity of any kind, I want it to be evident that it is because of Jesus Christ! Arrogance has no place in my life, and neither does complacency.
The good news is, as we live - and stay, in His freedom, He gives us a new STRENGTH, a new IDENTITY, and a new JOY! My prayer tonight is that we would all live in His freedom continually. If you struggle with either arrogance or complacency, you don't have to fight this battle anymore. Let's all give it to Him! In His freedom we can live!