Appendix IV: THE POWER OF HUMILITY
George Washington Carver was the scientist who developed hundreds of useful products from the peanut. Late in life, he reported:
“When I was young, I said to God, ‘God, tell me the mystery of the universe.’ But God answered, ‘That knowledge is reserved for me alone.’ So I said, “God, tell me the mystery of the peanut.’ Then God answered and said, ‘Well, George, that’s more nearly your size.’ And He told me.”
Jesus did say that if we seek, we will find (see Luke 11:9). George was initially asking for insight that was beyond his ability to understand. When he humbly scaled his request down to what he could understand and could be useful, God accommodated him.
Scripture compares humility with pride and identifies pride as the opposite of humility. Pride is a self-lifting attitude while humility tends to shy away from boasting.
Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before stumbling. It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud (Proverbs 16:18-19).
A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor (Proverbs 29:23).
Pride is not a bad thing in and of itself; a certain amount of pride is a good thing. When we consider how we are offspring of God, we become aware that we are something of value. Many of us are being trained by the Father as children who more closely represent His character, attitude, and personality (CAP). This places great value on our life, but it is not a reason or an excuse to be prideful.
John Flavel, a clergyman of the late 1600s once said: “They that know God will be humble and they that know themselves cannot be proud.” Too much pride can complicate humility and, in essence, complicate our lives.
Scripture equates humility with repentance. Pride entertains an unrepentant attitude of superiority while humility causes us to withdraw in modest reserve.
Remember all the way which the Lord your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you…In the wilderness He fed you manna which your fathers did not know, that He might humble you and that He might test you, to do good for you in the end (Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 16).
If…My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:13-14).
Hezekiah humbled the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem (2 Chronicles 32:26).
Humility is visible evidence of a repentant person. The humble heart will quickly apologize and in repentance, seek to change and make amends. A humble person also tends to recognize his shortcomings and is open to receive additional insight. God instructs and teaches His ways to the humbly repentant person.
Remember, O Lord, Your compassion and Your loving-kindnesses [forgiveness], for they have been from of old …Good and upright is the Lord; therefore He instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in justice, and He teaches the humble His way (Psalms 25:6, 8-9).
My soul will make its boast in the Lord; the humble will hear it and rejoice. O, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together (Psalms 34:2-3).
Thus says the LORD, “Heaven is My throne and the earth is My footstool. Where then is a house you could build for Me? And where is a place that I may rest? For My hand made all these things…” declares the LORD. “But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word” (Isaiah 66:1-2).
Humility assumes we are not as good as we could be while pride assumes we are better than we really are. Anything in the humble person that may resemble pride is really a respectful honor of another, generally of our heavenly Father.
When we are humble, we allow God to raise us into a more appropriate honor. When God elevates the humble, any sense of honor is quickly deflected to the one who allowed or caused the elevation.
God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you (James 4:6, 10).
Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:5-7).
To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit (1 Peter 3:8).
Humility is more than a powerful ally. Our humility is a powerful safeguard against many adversities.
4. Way of Repentance Releases Us
(All Scripture quotes are from the NASB version)
If you put a buzzard in a pen that is 6 feet by 8 feet and entirely open at the top, in spite of its ability to fly, the bird will be an absolute prisoner. The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of 10 to 12 feet. Without space to run, as is its habit, it will not even attempt to fly. He will remain a prisoner in a small jail with no top.
The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkable nimble creature in the air, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash.
A bumblebee, if dropped into an open tumbler, will be there until it dies unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top. It will persist in trying to find a way out through the sides. It will seek a way where none exists until it destroys itself.
In many ways, people are like the buzzard, the bat, and the bumblebee. We struggle with our problems and frustrations, continuing to act and do as we have always done. We fail to realize that all we have to do is look up and make an adjustment each time we find ourselves caught in a mess!
Repentance is the activity of admitting our need to adjust our attitude and actions. Our heart-felt repentance prepares us to adapt and learn to approach situations differently.
The eight ways of God we experience in the culture of Christ are the systematic processes that bring us into God’s intention for our life. These processes help us grow and transform so we can better reflect and resemble our heavenly Father’s heart.
In the last chapter we learned that God’s way of forgiving can restore us from our captivity to sin’s separation. We now understand that forgiveness is God’s open invitation for us to escape into the freedom of salvation’s transforming way.
An invitation, however, does not mean we automatically receive what God gives or that offspring routinely become children who are disciplined by Father. We must choose to partake of salvation’s transformations. We do so by repenting.
We Maintain Separation
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