Humility, part three

Philippians 2:3 

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves. 

This humility series helped Bob understand what humility is all about and how to put it into action in his life. Now Bob has a question. He wants to know if anyone can see the fruit of his efforts. 

How do you see humility in people? 

Myth #3: Humility means letting others crush your self-worth. 

We can take a lesson from King Solomon who didn’t have a self-worth problem, but was the wisest person who has ever lived on this planet. When God told him to ask for anything, he could have asked for money to spend on earthly pleasures, but he didn’t. His humility helped him ask for the wisdom to serve God’s people well.

Once you’ve humbled yourself and asked God for wisdom, start acting like you’re wise by respecting others and valuing others above yourself. That is how Solomon treated those he was in charge of when he asked for wisdom from God. He knew the people he would govern were valuable to God. He felt responsible to God for their good treatment. 

You can be a great leader and serve in humility.

If you have any wisdom in you, you have enough humility to ask for more wisdom. Treating people with kindness is showing wisdom. And when you act in wisdom, people see your humility. 

Thanks for seeking God with me.

Humility, part two

1 Peter 5:5 

In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

Last week, we tried to help Bob learn what humility is all about. Now that he understands the concept, he wants to take action. 

How do you humble yourself? 

Myth #2: Humility means letting others smack you down.

No, you don’t have to get smacked down.

Humbling yourself takes place as a willing and voluntary act of leaving the place of honor in your own life. When you lift God to your heart’s high place of honor, you have to step down. 

There are those who have held tightly to their place of honor, making it their own throne, only to be smacked down by life’s humbling surprises. When they see the light of truth, they realize they had no business making themselves the king of their heart’s high place of honor.

Better to step down, than be smacked down. 

In Colossians 3:12, we read, "Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." We’re supposed to be surrounding ourselves with these positive character traits. We're supposed to be proactive and put them on. 

Humility is something you dress yourself in. You already pick out clothes to wear each day that make you look nice. You can also pick out which character traits you want others to see you wearing. You can choose humility over arrogance every time you speak, act, or are tempted to show a little attitude. 

Humility, part one

Proverbs 22:4

Humility is the fear of the Lord; its wages are riches and honor and life.

Bob has been accused of not listening and being a know-it-all. Bob might be a good candidate for a lesson in humility. Why is this a good idea for Bob? Because it’s better for Bob to humble himself, rather than being surprised when someone else teaches him a lesson in humility.

Bob needs humility. How can we help Bob humble himself? First, Bob needs to know what humility really is.

Myth #1: Humility is putting yourself down.

It’s not about self-criticism. It’s not about attention-getting, over-the-top, fake submissiveness.

Humility is the fear of the Lord.

I don’t believe the Bible teaches us to be afraid of God. To me, the fear of the Lord is about bowing from your heart in reverential respect. You experience the fear of the Lord when you’re so devoted to God that you want all of your thoughts and actions to honor him.

It’s about knowing that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords and being aware that all authority in heaven and on the earth has been given to Jesus. If Jesus is the ultimate authority and you don’t show him honor and respect, then you don’t have humility.

Next week: Humility, part two

Unexpected Blessings

Ruth 3:10

“The Lord bless you, my daughter,” he replied. “This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier: You have not run after the younger men, whether rich or poor.”

Boaz wasn’t a handsome young Prince Charming. He was a kind man who noticed a foreigner working in his fields with his servants. He fed her and told his employees to be kind to her also. When she followed her mother-in-law’s instruction to visit him later at the threshing floor, he was happy to see her.

Boaz saw her beauty when he noticed her in the field. But he had to come to realization that she was his happiness. She made him aware that night when she came to see him that having her for a wife would be pleasant enough.

Sometimes it takes a man a while to see that honoring a woman and being respectful are just the first steps in a long-term relationship. Usually a man is focused on his business and has to adjust his perspective to see what God has given him.

It is so beautiful when a family comes together. Many times that blessing blooms from the seeds of honor and respect.

Waiting for the Day

Genesis 29:18 
Jacob was in love with Rachel and said, “I’ll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel.” 

Talking to Rachel’s dad, Laban, was tricky for Jacob. Isn’t it always nerve-wracking for any guy to talk to his potential father-in-law? But Jacob figured Rachel was worth whatever he had to do to win her father over.

Jacob and Rachel had a long love story. He had to be patient. He had to work to earn the opportunity to be her husband. This reminds me of a few movies I’ve seen. It’s a common theme in romantic movies. Sometimes love isn’t simply a date/proposal/wedding situation. There is usually a lot to overcome before the marriage can begin.

So how do we spend our time while we’re waiting for that next step, the wedding? Jacob stayed in close connection to his beloved Rachel and her father. When he finally married her, all that waiting time seemed to be a distant memory. Isn’t that how it is when you’re in love?

Time floats away on clouds when you’re in love.

I’m sure this is because God is bigger than time. God invented time. He allows it to seem different to us depending on our perspective. Lovers see time one way, but employers see it another way. Children think three months of summer seems like years, but the parents experience it as just weeks.

Even the decades on the earth that we call our lifetime are just a small part of the timeline that God sees. Our time perspective changes according to what we focus on. When we focus on God and his will, our chances of seeing the big picture improve. Focusing on love helps us to be more patient and more generous with those around us.

Have a happy Valentine’s weekend, and thanks for seeking God with me.

Keeping the Marriage Together

Esther 1:12
But when the attendants delivered the king’s command, Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became furious and burned with anger.

Let’s say you’re a wealthy and generous king who has spent a lot of time sharing the wealth of the kingdom with the people of your city. On the last night of the banquet, you want to show off not only the beautiful things of the kingdom, but also the beautiful people of the kingdom. The first person who comes to mind is your wife, the queen. You send someone to get her so you can brag about how beautiful the queen is.

However, she rejects your invitation to appear at your banquet. She’s having a little banquet of her own and won’t leave her party to join yours.

First, it’s bad form to disobey the king. Second, it wasn’t like you were asking the queen to come clean up all the empty beer bottles. You simply wanted to impress your friends with the rich treasure of beauty found in the kingdom. You were asking her to be adored by her fans. And third, you were concerned about the possibility of her banquet turning into a man-bashing party after she refused to leave her friends.

You knew something had to be done to prevent the spread of the disease called disrespect, so you asked a friend for advice. He said to replace her with someone more deserving.

Today, that’s called divorce.

Sometimes we don’t see that coming. We don’t see the little hints that we’re headed in the wrong direction in the marriage. Both spouses feel they deserve better, but each one isn’t willing to accept that change must begin with himself or herself.

The best way to keep the marriage together is romance.

I don’t mean buying gifts for each other. I mean the humility of romance. Having consideration for the other person must be at the forefront of the relationship. Each must honor the other. Romance always begins with one person being kind and thoughtful. When one is energetically and enthusiastically helpful to the other, having listened to the needs before jumping into action, the other one usually reciprocates.

Romance is always give and take. You are patient with their faults, and they’re patient with yours. You celebrate their strengths, and they celebrate yours. When each one shines the spotlight on the other, selflessness takes a bow. When you shine your spotlight on yourself, selfishness starts a storm of greed and self-destruction.

In the first chapter of the book of Esther, Queen Vashti was shining the spotlight on herself. With that bright light on herself, she couldn’t see well. The bright light in her own eyes blinded her to what could’ve been a marriage-affirming moment. Instead, she let her lack of humility steal not only her position as queen in a prosperous kingdom, but also her position as wife of a generous man.

Queen Vashti was a beautiful woman. However, if the beauty is only skin deep, it’s forgettable.

Marriage requires both spouses to think of the other person’s needs. You can keep your marriage as your happy place if you stay in the humility of romance.