“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” - Jonathan Edwards -

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Humility

I wanted to go back a bit and discuss some of the things that I learned through the blindness that struck me for a few months.

The first thing I wanted to address is humility. When I was struck with my blindness, I had just preached on Matthew 6 where Jesus states that we should not pray to impress others, but go secretly into our secret place and pray to Him.

What is interesting about this was that I had been praying for humility, but I now look back on that and realize that I was probably asking for the humility that is recognized by others -- You know, that "What a humble guy Ray is..." type of praying. Now, I did not consciously pray in that way, but when God finally humbled me, I found myself asking a lot of hard questions.

First, I would not hesitate to say that most of us who pray for humility have no idea what true humility is -- if we did, we would not pray for it! What we are usually requesting is a spirit that is SLIGHTLY humble, just so that we can be recognized, as I stated earlier. In reality, true humility is often beyond anything that we may grasp.

Let me give some specifics: I am not the best husband in the world, and there are times when I think I know it all -- ask my wife. And so, there are many things that I do, or have always done, around our home that I simply KNEW I did better than her. Yet, when the blindness struck, my wife had to pick up the ball and run with it. You know what I found? She does a much better job at a lot of things that I thought I had 'mastered'. An example -- our bills are more organized and promptly paid than they ever have been with 'the boss' (me) running the show! So, I began to realize that I am not the end-all, be-all when it came to that.

Then I found that the church ran just fine without me. Oh yes, people missed me, but the Word was preached, the bills were paid, the kids were taken care of, etc. Now, I had many times said that I did not want our church to 'stop' should something happen to me, but in my heart, I had hoped there would be a hiccup (again, not consciously, but subconsciously), yet there they were moving forward. Another prideful chunk of my being was exorcised!

And I found that work just continued on, with people picking up the slack and keeping the ball rolling. This was no surprise to me, but as I surveyed my life, I found that.... GASP, I was NOT IRREPLACEABLE! And then I heard it -- "You prayed for humility, is there a problem?"

"YES, I didn't mean LIKE THIS!!! I meant the kind of humility they write about in the Banner of Truth Trust books, that humility that is ascribed to great, saintly men of old!", I found myself silently screaming. And the Holy Spirit illuminated the Scriptures for me, and I began to see, albeit imperfectly, just what was meant by humility. Wow, did I NOT want that!

But, now that I am here, at this place, I realize that the deep-seated pride in my heart was shaken by the Potter as His hands lovingly removed my sight so that I might, for the first time, see what humility meant.

Let me provide you with an illustration -- Here is humility: When you sit next to your wife and ask her to trim your fingernails as you cannot even see them. Or you ask her to walk you to the bathroom. Suddenly, you are filled with a deep and abiding sense of humility. And what is frightening, is that this is simply humility in the presence of other humans; imagine Isaiah -- Isaiah 6:1 - 5 -- In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory! And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!

Oh prideful man that I am, how my heart will melt when I stand before the King of Glory -- I will then say, with Paul, [Romans 7:24,25] -- Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

No comments: