Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Call To Humility

The Call to Humility

Dearly Beloved,

One of the most often quoted revival passages in the Bible is 2 Chronicles 7:14 which states “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” The whole key to this Scripture is the word “humble.” If there is no humility, there can be no revival or restoration. All restoration and revival is based on the willingness to humble oneself. It does not matter what the cause of the lack of revival or fall, it does not matter who or when it happened. It only matters that one takes the road of humility in order to restored and revived. The reason why many who are fallen, many who have gone astray and many who have either caused hurt or received hurt do not return to the Lord is one reason and one alone - the unwillingness to humble oneself before the Lord.

Humility is powerful. It brings forth complete restoration when one truly repents and surrenders afresh to the Lord. The test of a true man or woman of God is not when they are perfectly doing something right. It is when they have done something wrong and the path they take to bring it back to correctness. This does not mean that it is possible in this life to restore all things back to the way it was before as sometimes in human situations, restoration involves other humans and human organizations which renders it impossible when there is a self-righteous attitude of unforgiveness. However, God is not like man. God does forgive and forget. Thus the more important thing is restoration with God first and then restoration with humans who also walk in humility. It is never possible to restore two humans when even one walks in pride and self-righteousness. It takes two parties walking in humility to bring restoration to both. Where God restores those who humble themselves before Him, where it is not possible to bring things back to square one, God improves on the original situation by including even the failings in the restored ‘new’ situation.

David was a man after God’s heart not because he was perfect but rather because he was a humble man who sought God’s plan and purpose all the time. When he failed through his own pride, he was quick to repent completely and not just partially. In the case of Bathsheba, David spent seven days laying himself before the Lord to ask for forgiveness for himself and for the life of his child (2 Samuel 12:16-18). God would have forgiven him in less than one second when David, in fact God immediately forgive David upon his acknowledgement of his sin (2 Samuel 12:13), but it was David who wanted to be totally cleansed and healed of the root causes of his transgression and sin (Psalm 51:7-12). That is true humility. It is not just repentance from the acts of sin but truly repentance for the root of sin and wanted it to be taken out from one’s life (Psalm 51:10). David was truly humbled and broken in spirit in regard to his sin (Psalm 51:17).

When David realized that it was his pride that had allowed the numbering of Israel, he was quick to repent (2 Samuel 24:10). The key to success is not just the ability to make the right decision; it is also the ability to recover from a wrong decision. No one in the world succeeds without making mistakes along the way and improving themselves. The path of all successes is paved by many failures which do not deter those who press on to fulfill their dream or vision. The difference between a successful person or business and one that is not successful is not that only the successful did not make mistakes or experienced failure. The difference is that although both have experienced failures and mistakes, it is the one who can learn from and overcome their mistakes that succeed. The true secret of success is the ability to learn from all failures and mistakes and improve oneself each time. And the quickness to recover from wrong turns and failures is based on the fact that one remains humble and teachable.

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). No toddler learns to walk without experiencing some falls. The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and He delights in his way; though he fall he shall not be cast down for the Lord upholds him with His hand (Psalm 37:23-24). The Lord does not delight in us because we are perfect. He delights in us when our character and nature are inherently good because we truly love Him and want to do His Will. There is no shame in failure. Only shame when we have never tried to do His Will. Thus God is not so concern as to whether we are perfect or have great abilities; He is only concern whether we are humble. For the humble will always learn to depend on God when they fail; and depend on God when they do not have ability; and depend on God when they are stuck. As long as humility is there, success is assured even though mistakes might occur. However, no matter how much ability or knowledge a person has, success cannot be guaranteed because somewhere down the line, pride will come in and cause the failure.

The great restoration stories of the Bible are those that show forth how God can turn a bad situation good; of how God can turn defeat into victory and ashes into beauty. After all, He did turn the fall of Adam and Eve into the greatest story of redemption for all eternity. He turned the failure of Moses into a redemption story of Moses whose life became a testimony of 40 years of self-glory, 40 years of humility in the wilderness, and 40 years of glory in God. As long as a person remains humble, their story will end with great restoration of the grace and the glory of God. And since no one in this life or world can claim perfection, it does one well to learn the art of staying and walking in humility all the days of our life if we want our life stories to be a glorious story of restoration to be told for all eternity.

The importance of humility cannot be under-emphasized. Since all of the power of God and the abilities of God are dependent on our ability to receive them; and our ability to receive them is totally dependent on our humility before God; then it is of utmost importance that we learn the secret of humility. Humility is not powerless; it is the most powerful character of all other characters one can acquire. For being truly humble puts one in the position to receive all things from God. Thus God calls all to humble themselves before Him. Yet not all respond to the call to be humble:

1. Pharaoh rejected the call to be humble and let the Israelites go and he lost everything including his own son (Exodus 10:3).

2. The Israelites in the wilderness neglected the call to be humble and they all died in the wilderness (Deuteronomy 8:2, 16).

3. Nebuchadnezzar rejected the call to be humble and was turned mad into a beast for seven years (Daniel 4:32).

4. The pride of the Pharisees blinded them to the reception of Jesus and Jesus said that they are sons of hell (Matthew 23:15).

God has made it clear in His Word that He will not tolerate pride. He actively resists the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 5-8). It is pride that will destroy the novice leader (1 Timothy 3:6). All who have the pride of life can never receive the love of the Father (1 John 2:15-16). God seeks those who are humble and makes His presence with them (Isaiah 57:15; 66:1-2). The call of God in our modern world is the call to humility. The true message of Christianity is the gospel of humility. Jesus humbled Himself and took upon Himself all our sins (Philippians 2:8). We are now called to be like Jesus, to have a servant heart like Jesus did (Matthew 23:11). Jesus has given us an example that we are to do as He did by having a servant heart like Him (John 13:12-17).

We could even contrast all the things that separate us from God the Father and His blessings as follows based on 1 John 2:15-17:

The Proud The Humble

Love the World Love God

Zero love of the Father in him Love of the Father in him

Lust of the Flesh Denial of the Flesh

Lust of the eyes Eyes only for God

Pride of Life Humility in Life

Self will Will of God

There is also a true humility and a false humility. True humility is born out of love and is non religious. False humility is born out of pride and will lead to false worship, pride, religiosity and idolatry. True humility is born out of the brokenness of a deep love relationship with Jesus and God our Father. How can humility be born out of a love relationship with God? The character of humility comes through tribulations (Romans 5:1-5). All tribulations test our love for God. It strips everything out of our life that does not have the love of God in it. The love of God cannot dwell in a heart that is worldly (1 John 2:15). We either love the world or we love God. When we love God, we no longer become part of the world system and the world hates us and persecutes us as it did Jesus (John 15:18-20). And even worldly Christians will persecute godly Christians. One of the things that is the greatest puzzle to me is why Christians would want to persecute Christians? Haven’t we all got the same Father God and born of the same Spirit of God? The answer is pride. It is pride and self-righteousness that causes Christians to persecute Christians. It is pride and self-righteousness that causes Christians to make life difficult for other Christians. A true Christian helps another Christian. And such help is given not because the object of one’s help is perfect in doctrine, character or lifestyle. For if such were perfect, they would not need help. It is religious pride that causes Christians to persecute other Christians. Be warned. All pride will lead to destruction. It is only a matter of time.

Thus the call is to all Christians that we must all walk in humility and love. Our pride has divided us and such will not be tolerated by God. For God hates pride and will resist it no matter whether one lives in the palace or in the poor house; no matter whether one is well known or unknown; no matter whether one is powerful or powerless. It makes no difference to God. He seeks to exalt the humble and will resist the proud.

Therefore let us all humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God and learn to eat the bread of humility. Let us allow our love for God to be so great that it overflows to all who are around us. Let us beware of the leaven of the Pharisees - the root form is pride.

We humble ourselves before You, O Mighty God and Father.

In Christ Jesus

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