Christmas is a time for goodies, cookies, candies, pies and cakes. Have you ever eaten humble pie? This happens when, at a moment of self-pampering, we painfully become cognizant of our animal-like-behavior. We were moving along entertained, painting the town with our free wheeling, till —oh my goodness! Suddenly, we are stunningly shamed!
Humble pie exposes one’s pride. These two, pride and humility, taunt each other; they ebb and flow, tide high and low in soul’s ocean. They exist the in and out, introvert and extrovert, subjective and objective, above and below. One serves while the other reigns a god; one thrives self-consciously, the other one not so much. Pride thinks of itself more highly than it ought, or, more lowly than obliged. Humility considers never so much of it self.
God giveth grace to the humble, but he resists the proud. Satan giveth favor to the proud, but resists humble folks. Can we illustrate this? Yes, Moses stands on the mountain, hands raised, rod in his right hand. Becoming tired, the hands fall, rod sinking below. If the rod symbolizes a dividing line between pride and humility, then we discern how weariness effected things majorly for Moses. Now, as we shift our vision to the Valley, Joshua is winning or losing the battle depending on Moses’ hand fluctuations. What a rude awakening for Moses!
To fix the faltering problem, Moses seeks assistance to keep his hands raised and the rod above his head. Isn’t it humbling, when we have to ask for help? Not until we realize the impact of these soul’s fluctuations on external events, do we bend to fix things at any cost. We realize we must be biddable, or as the Bible says, “humble thyself under the mighty hand of God”. But how can we, how can we neutralize the tides, balance the ins and outs, proceed unfatigued; in the midst of battering abuse and sometimes pain? What is the secret, the calm, the repose?
The answer to that question can only emerge as the soul’s operating source shifts. In Philippians chapter 2 we have a word translated “lowliness of mind.” It spells out this way in the original; “think with grace.” If a person will be humble he must learn what it means to “think with grace.” Grace thinking has no lethargy attached, in fact it is the anti-thesis to weariness, worn-out, beaten down and forsaken. It antidotes also; big headedness, self exaltation, and the swollen ego.
See, grace eliminates the concept of worthiness’ attainment, and the emphasis attached to the internal watermarks and levels. It removes the obsolete measuring devices and the pre-occupation therewith. It creates a new ledger board, and this one focuses on the cross. What does that mean? It means that my up and down game has been placed in the sea of insignificance, crucified and discarded in order that the life of unmerited favor might shine forth.
Now all the things that formerly brought purport, that gave me approval, influence, and prestige; that brought me into acceptance, are no longer relevant. All of those things have been handled by God’s accepting and loving heart towards me unconditionally because of Jesus and his cross. So what is left? A daily agreement with God and His Word, a daily cross, a daily forsaking of the inward struggle, and a new daily focus.
Can we be lured back into caring about what we appear to be, or how we are perceived by others, or how things will make us look? Unfortunately we can. Many well meaning folks will still approach us thinking we care desperately how we appear. The darkness will try to make us regain its fallen relevance. The Cosmos will allow us to think no other way.
Nevertheless, the unconditional love and acceptance by God now becomes my new normal. Can I still be proud? Only if I jumped back into the anxious and worrisome angst, got worn out, or worse yet, discover a subliminal way of escape through alcohol, drugs, illicit activity, or even depression. This is the world of proud people who have forsaken meaning that is true, purposeful, and having true significance.
Finally, what is the price for humility? The cost is simply a choice, to first think only in grace, and then to have my steps follow. Jesus said, “if any will come after me, let him deny self, take up his cross, and follow me.” Friends first detatch yourself from that big need to find your worth in your natural strengths, abilities, and performances. Next, disown the very mechanism that operates that way. Last, follow, follow, follow only Him, who made Himself of no reputation, but became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Folks He suffered for us, let’s obey His glorious results. Amen and merry Christmas!