Humility now, exaltation later

Likewise you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you (1 Peter 5:5, 6 ESV).

Pride and selfishness are the besetting sins of mankind. Always lurking nearby, ready with an enticing word that plays to our vanity and to our self-importance. Many have fallen victim to the siren song of self. Few find the strength to resist.

The answer to these sins is pure love exhibited in humility. Augustine is reported to have said, “Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues, hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist, there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.” Continue reading “Humility now, exaltation later”

How humility acts

Humility is not often in the news. The trait is barely recognized in society, not at all by the media. Ours is a power society.

To find humility, one must go to the pages of the Bible. There, it finds plenty of space. And it is there that we will find an answer to the question: How does humility act?

Humility is a mindset that produces distinct actions which distinguish it from the world. Here are four of them. Continue reading “How humility acts”

Humility is the way to peace

Why do Christians at times struggle with each other? Why does it seem we sometimes have more patience and understanding with those outside of Christ rather than with our brothers and sisters in Christ? Could it be that we have our focus on the wrong person?

“What is the source of wars and fights among you? Don’t they come from your passions that wage war within you? You desire and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and wage war. You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and don’t receive because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.” (James 4:1-3 CSB)

Why do we fight with other Christians? James identified the problem for us: it is because we are focused on ourselves. We cannot have peace with others if we are self-centred. Continue reading “Humility is the way to peace”

Humble Mary

In the United States, we are entering the season in which we will elect a president. What this means is that for the next year and three months we will hear politicians tell us why they deserve the favor of our vote to elevate them to high office.

Before all the hubbub starts in earnest, it might be refreshing to hear another voice, the voice of Mary, the future mother of Jesus, in Luke 1:46. She so humbly said, “My soul magnifies the Lord.” This statement begins what many call the “Magnificat.” Let’s view it for what it really is: a hymn of thanksgiving, the object of which was a poor maiden’s desire to make God larger than herself. Continue reading “Humble Mary”

Jesus the model of humility

Name the most important, most powerful position you can think of among the world’s top people. President of the U.S.? The richest man in the world? The world’s most popular entertainment figure? Imagine them giving up all that they have and the position they enjoy to live in a run-down apartment in one of the most dangerous poverty areas. How hard would that be?

Such a change of lifestyle doesn’t even come close to what Jesus did. He is God. He enjoys all the glories of heaven. But he gave up his divine position and stepped down to become a lowly human being — a poor man from a podunk town. Even further, he suffered the most horrible torture and death, as an innocent man, in one of the greatest wrongs of all time. On top of that, he bore the sins of mankind on his shoulders.

Jesus is the very definition of humility. The dictionary’s entry is dry next to Jesus’ demonstration of it. Continue reading “Jesus the model of humility”

We Must Be Blind

“You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:5, ESV).

If you own a smart phone with facial recognition technology, it is designed to see what it wants to see: your face.

Your brain does something similar, but less distinct. It seems hardwired to sees faces. It sees faces everywhere: clouds, a grilled cheese sandwich, Mars, the Moon. Your brain is designed to see faces, so it sees them. Continue reading “We Must Be Blind”

Meek and lowly in heart

When I think of meekness, I think of Jesus.

Meekness is misunderstood. It is considered weakness by many. The picture of Caspar Milquetoast comes to mind. Caspar, a 1950s comic strip character created by H.T. Webster for his cartoon series entitled, “The Timid Soul,” was known as a person who “speaks softly and gets hit with a big stick.”

That description does not fit the Creator of heaven, and earth Paul described in Colossians 1:16-18. Jesus was meek, but he was not “timid.” Continue reading “Meek and lowly in heart”

When the glory of God returned

The day the temple was dedicated, God’s glorious presence filled his house (2 Chronicles 5:14; 7:1-3). It was a momentous day filled with praise, sacrifice, and feasting. God was with his people. But times would not always be so good. In a preview of Israel’s fickle ways, God promised that if they would humble themselves, repent, and pray, then God would forgive them.

God’s glory would remain in his house through many difficult days. But a time came when no repentance was forthcoming, and a cleansing needed to occur. The last resort, a carrying away of the people into captivity, had already begun. Soon the house would be toppled by foreign invaders. Continue reading “When the glory of God returned”

He was not mentioned but he was there

By Johnny O. Trail — Esther is a small book found in the Old Testament that many have read throughout the millennia. It is interesting to note that the word for “God” is not found in this ten-chapter book. While God is not mentioned in the book of Esther, one finds him providentially working in the lives of his people.

The book of Esther and the lives of the people mentioned therein illustrate some powerful biblical principles. Some of them are:

  1. Esther demonstrates how the prideful reason about themselves.
  2. God providentially works in the lives of those who are his people—in Esther’s age and ours too.
  3. Obedience is necessary to effectuate the salvation of God’s people.
  4. Hatred and racism are age-old problems that all generations of people have had to face.
  5. The prideful will fail whereas the humble will find refuge and protection in God’s care.

Continue reading “He was not mentioned but he was there”