Today’s message text from Melvin Gaines:
There are moments when you are wrong about something and it would be wise to admit it openly. It’s times like this that you certainly wish that you were right, but everything points to you making a mistake (and hopefully it’s not a big one). Of course, you have a choice in this matter…you can readily acknowledge your mistake to someone, or say nothing, hide behind it and point the finger at someone or something else–in other words, play the blame game.
Have you ever been around someone who never admits when they have done something wrong? If you have, perhaps you remember the frustration that comes in having a relationship with such a person, especially if others around the person occasionally mess up. It can be very difficult to meet a person’s expectations if perfection is the only acceptable result. A person who readily points out that he or she is “mistake-free” will invariably do more harm in relationships than good, and it’s because human beings who make mistakes can never meet the standards of a “perfect” person.
It is rare when a person is seen taking responsibility for his or her actions, and perhaps even refreshing. In order to take responsibility, you have to check your pride at the door and humble yourself. This message is about the act of humility. Humility in action is the essence of godliness and the absence of pridefulness. Using the examples I have just provided, it takes little effort to exercise pride when claiming perfection or blaming others for your mistakes because both of these prideful actions are rooted in the flesh. Humility is in opposition to the desires of the flesh.
Humility is a character trait that must be learned and developed over time. It must be learned and developed because we are not, in our own nature, capable of humility. As a child, you were only capable of communicating your basic needs and desires with dependence on your parents to care for you. As you grew up, you had to learn about right and wrong, “please” and “thank you” and how to be courteous to others. Assuming that you have learned all of these things (chuckle), humility is something that we continued to learn as we got older, and we are still learning to master it.
There is grace in humility…both for you when you exercise it, and for the recipient who receives it. As we learn to master acts of humility, we are to be encouraged to grow in this area as it is a godly attribute.
But He gives greater grace. Therefore He says:
God resists the proud,
but gives grace to the humble.
The art of mastering humility will test six key areas of your life in your quest for godliness and living a Christlike existence. These are far from being inclusive of everything but these will say a lot about who you are and your growth in Christ:
1. Your honesty (trustworthiness)
2. Your kindness (generosity, compassion and forgiveness)
3. Your patience
4. Your perseverance
5. Your respect (for others, your self-respect, self-esteem)
6. Your self control (contentment, temper)
You may have picked up that these virtues make up a number of the fruits of the Holy Spirit:
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit. 26 We must not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Living a life of humility requires a believer crucifying the flesh. It is an ongoing struggle, but the Holy Spirit enables every single believer with the capability to overcome any fleshly influence or desires. By yielding to the Spirit, you will best be able to do the following:
- Rely less on your reasoning and rely more on your heart
Humility has a positive effect on your thought process. You will invariably take the approach that extends beyond your own reasoning, logic and understanding, and extend beyond the inherent barriers associated with human thoughts to those thoughts that can only come from the wisdom and knowledge of the Spirit:
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
and your ways are not My ways.”
This is the Lord’s declaration.
9 “For as heaven is higher than earth,
so My ways are higher than your ways,
and My thoughts than your thoughts.
1 Samuel 16:7
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature, because I have rejected him. Man does not see what the Lord sees, for man sees what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.”
- Trend less towards anger and more towards peace
In order to understand the nature of peace, you need to go beyond the obvious (for example: no war, no yelling or screaming, a quiet room — these are all correct but you must consider the influence of Christ in your efforts of humility). Jesus Christ’s influence on you in your efforts of humility will remind you of God’s grace to you and how that grace is extended to others. When you recognize God’s grace in your life, you will readily extend that grace to others–even during those times when you have every right to be angry.
7 Our guilt has been terrible from the days of our fathers until the present. Because of our iniquities we have been handed over, along with our kings and priests, to the surrounding kings, and to the sword, captivity, plundering, and open shame, as it is today. 8 But now, for a brief moment, grace has come from Yahweh our God to preserve a remnant for us and give us a stake in His holy place. Even in our slavery, God has given us new life and light to our eyes. 9 Though we are slaves, our God has not abandoned us in our slavery. He has extended grace to us in the presence of the Persian kings, giving us new life, so that we can rebuild the house of our God and repair its ruins, to give us a wall in Judah and Jerusalem.
This is especially true in areas where forgiveness is necessary. True forgiveness is not on our own strength and ability. It comes only from God Himself through the Spirit. As God has forgiven our sins through grace and granted us an eternity of fellowship with Him, we are to extend the same grace to others and put aside our anger.
1 John 3:16-22
Love in Action
16 This is how we have come to know love: He laid down His life for us. We should also lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has this world’s goods and sees his brother in need but closes his eyes to his need—how can God’s love reside in him?
18 Little children, we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and action. 19 This is how we will know we belong to the truth and will convince our conscience in His presence, 20 even if our conscience condemns us, that God is greater than our conscience, and He knows all things.
21 Dear friends, if our conscience doesn’t condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and can receive whatever we ask from Him because we keep His commands and do what is pleasing in His sight.
3 Be on your guard. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. 4 And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and comes back to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”
14 “For if you forgive people their wrongdoing, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. 15 But if you don’t forgive people, your Father will not forgive your wrongdoing.
Don’t let your harshness that comes from an unforgiving spirit ruin your testimony before Jesus Christ and others. This is an area that is a stumbling block to many believers because they are failing to grasp the immeasurable grace that God has bestowed upon them in forgiveness for their own sin. As you grow and learn more about God and this grace, you will be less resentful, less angry, and be more ready and willing to extend grace and forgiveness to others. It’s an area that all of us need to work on, and it starts with humbling yourself before God and before others.
This also applies to how well you esteem yourself before God. Satan will trick believers into thinking that they are forever inadequate before God, when God assures us that we are made righteous before Him when we confess our sin and trust that He is true to His Word:
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, 2 because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
- Know that it is not about you and that it is more about Jesus
Your relationship with Jesus Christ should be far more important than those things that would keep you from living a life of humility: your ego, your reputation, your adversarial relationships, your finances or anything that has an adverse effect on your relationship with Jesus. A humble person is a godly person who is secure and content in himself, in his relationships and acknowledges a dependence on Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 8:5-6
5 For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth—as there are many “gods” and many “lords”—
6 yet for us there is one God, the Father.
All things are from Him,
and we exist for Him.
And there is one Lord, Jesus Christ.
All things are through Him,
and we exist through Him.
12 I know both how to have a little, and I know how to have a lot. In any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of being content—whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need. 13 I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.
1 Peter 5:6
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
Above all, humility is necessary for a person to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
“Repent,” Peter said to them, “and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For Yahweh takes pleasure in His people; He adorns the humble with salvation.
9 If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation. 11 Now the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on Him will not be put to shame, 12 for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, since the same Lord of all is rich to all who call on Him.
7 Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, sinners, and purify your hearts, double-minded people! 9 Be miserable and mourn and weep. Your laughter must change to mourning and your joy to sorrow. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.
Copyright © Melvin Gaines