Sunday, January 11, 2009

Choose Humility

My church pastor launched a new series today on the Beatitudes. He first helped us to understand what the beatitudes are... Simply put, the definition of Beatitudes is "blessed attitudes". As if Jesus has said, "When you take on these attitudes, I will bless you." An attitude is "a mindset; a pattern of thinking". Blessed means "God will honor". (Being blessed by God means to experience hope and joy regardless of outward circumstances... The blessings I'm referring to are not gigantic houses, an impressive bank account, or stunning good looks.)

The big idea for this series on the Beatitudes is that we can change our attitude by choosing a new way of thinking. We should not surrender to our attitudes, we should surrender our attitudes to Christ. We get to choose how we will respond to circumstances. Will we surrender it to Christ for him to deal with, or will we surrender to our emotions and let the circumstance control us?

"...we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ." 2 Corinthians 10:5b (NAS)

There are eight Beatitudes, and today's topic is humility.

The key scripture verse today comes from Matthew 5:3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

I've read this verse many times and have always felt that "poor in spirit" was a good description of me. I was beaten down and hopeless - what I would consider "poor in spirit". But today Dan taught that poor in spirit is something altogether different - it is humility (keep reading). The NLT translation says "God blesses those who realize their need for him..." That sounds more like humility to me - and makes it easier for me to see that "poor in spirit" means to think less of myself and more of Him. Very different from beaten down and hopeless!

Pastor Dan went on to define humility as "freedom from pride and arrogance"... Freedom from having to pretend, fake it, or cover up. Humility is a beginning step in recovery. You must first acknowledge that you don't have it all figured out and that you cannot do it all by yourself.

How can we choose humility?
  1. We must become totally dependent on God. Not just when we have a crisis, but in all situations at all times. We must be totally dependent on Him and invite him into all areas of our life.
  2. Become totally approachable by others. Most people tend to think they are better than some group of people - another race, another religion, another neighborhood, another school, another social class, co-workers who aren't as well educated, etc. We try to feel better about ourselves by looking down at others. We must remember that the ground at the foot of the cross is level.
  3. Become totally unimpressed with ourselves. Instead of being impressed with ourselves or others, remember that any gift we have is given to us by the Lord. I'll be honest, sometimes I write something and read over it later thinking, "man, I'm good!" And immediately after that thought, I remember that I am nothing without Him and his gifting. God is good. When people look at me, I want them to be impressed not with me, but with the Jesus in me.
I hope this entry does justice to Dan's teaching today... Thanks, Dan for a great lesson!

No comments: