Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘lowliness’

As we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection today, we rightly think of the glory of our risen Lord.

We think, for instance, of how he was transfigured into a glorious new existence. Revelation 1:13-16 describes him in this way, “one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. . . and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.”

We also rightly think of his glory as he is seated at the right hand of God being honored and glorified above all.

But we need to remember what came before all this. First he walked a lowly path, without glory at all. And there’s a connection between this lowly path and the glory of the resurrection. And the connection is this, the one has to come before the other – lowliness before glory.

And this is something that we need to take note of all of us who have set our hope on being raised up on the last day. And in fact, Jesus calls us to this very thing – to take note of his teaching and example and to follow him on the lowly path that leads to resurrection. Let’s look at this.

First, before the glory of the resurrection, comes –

The way of humility

Jesus taught us to be humble. He said, “He who humbles himself will be exalted” – Luke 14:11. In context here, he’s talking about taking the lowest place at a banquet, that is, not seeking out honor or social status. This saying is also used in other places (Luke 18:14, James 4:10) to talk about recognizing our failures and sins and repenting of them. This is a part of what humility means.

So Jesus is saying that it is the humble who will be exalted by God to a place of honor. And this certainly includes on the day of resurrection.

Jesus also modeled humility. He gave up seeking out social status and honor and put himself on the bottom.

  • He became human. Although, John tells us, in the beginning he “was with God, and (he) was God . . . he became flesh and dwelt among us” – John 1:1, 14. As Paul said, “though he was in the form of God, (he) did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing” – Philippians 2:6-7.
  • He was homeless. As he said, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” – Matthew 8:20.
  • He was dependent on others for food and shelter.Luke 8:2-3 speaks of several women disciples “who provided for (Jesus and the 12) out of their means.”

Jesus took up a very low social place.

And just as he taught he was raised to a place of honor at the right hand of God. So we learn from Jesus’ teaching and example that first comes humility, and then comes exaltation – being raised up by God to a place of honor on the final day. And without humility we will not be exalted. For Jesus also said in Luke 14:11, “everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,” that is by God. If we are busy lifting ourselves up we will not be lifted up by God on the final day. It’s only those who humble themselves who will be exalted in the resurrection.

Also before the glory of the resurrection, comes –

 The way of serving others

Jesus taught us to minister to the needs of others. He said, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all” – Mark 9:35. He’s talking about lowering ourselves to the lowest place in order to serve the needs of others.

So Jesus is saying that those who make themselves last, are the ones whom God will make first on the final day.

Jesus also modeled being a servant to others. He placed himself below others in order to minister to their needs. As he said, “The Son of man came not to be served but to serve.” – Mark 10:45. He served those who were lowly in that day – women, children, outcasts and the poor. He sought to bless them and lift them up. He served as:

  • He taught people God’s way – He said, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God” – Luke 4:43.
  • He healed people – Scripture says he healed “every disease and every affliction among the people” – Matthew 4:23.
  • He set people free from demons – As the crowd said, “he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him” – Mark 1:27.

He became last of all and servant of all.

And just as he taught he was raised to the first place in all of creation, above all powers and authorities. He is indeed the first-born of all creation (Colossians 1:15). So we learn from Jesus’ teaching and example that first comes lowly servanthood, being last and then comes being first. And without being last, we will not be made first by God. For Jesus also said, “the first will be last” – Luke 13:30. If we busy putting ourselves first in this life we will find ourselves in the last place on the final day. It’s only those who serve others who will be given the highest status in the resurrection.

Another example, before the glory of the resurrection, comes –

The way of rejection

Jesus taught us that we will suffer for our faith in him. He said, “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.” – Luke 6:22-23. We are to accept whatever rejection comes our way because of our faith in Jesus.

So Jesus is saying that those who accept persecution will be “blessed.” Their “reward is great in heaven,” waiting for them on that final day.

Jesus also modeled for us righteous suffering.

  • He was slandered – being called a false prophet and a blasphemer – Mark 14:64.
  • He suffered injustice from the Jewish and Gentile authorities – Mark 15:15.
  • He was shamed – being spit on, mocked, ridiculed and taunted – Mark 14:65; 15:16-20.
  • He was beaten and scourged – Mark 15:15.

Jesus was severely persecuted.

And just as he taught he was blessed for his acceptance of rejection. He received his reward when God raised him from the dead. So we learn from Jesus’ teaching and example that first comes rejection for our faith, and then comes the blessing of God, an eternal reward from God on the final day. And without accepting persecution we will not be blessed. For Jesus also said, “Woe to you” speaking of those who compromise, so that they don’t have to suffer for their faith. He teaches us that the only reward and blessing such will have is what they get in this life. There will be nothing for them in the next life – Luke 6:24-26. It’s only those who accept rejection for their faith who will be blessed in the resurrection.

Finally, before the glory of the resurrection, comes –

The way of death

Jesus taught us to lose our lives. He said, “Whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it” – Mark 8:35. In context, to lose your life is to deny yourself, to take up your cross; to give up your life for Jesus. And we are to do this in smaller ways even daily – Luke 9:23. The phrase, “to save your life” comes to us in different versions: It means that you will “find it” – Matthew 16:25; you will “keep it” – Luke 17:33 on the final day. It means that you “will keep it for eternal life” – John 12:25. This is talking about resurrection.

Jesus also modeled for us losing his life.

  • He gave up his life every day. He denied himself to serve others, as we have seen.
  • He was crucified and killed –  Mark 15:34, 37.

And just as he taught, since Jesus lost his life, he saved his life. He found his life in the resurrection. So we learn from Jesus’ teaching and example that first comes losing one’s life, and then comes saving one’s life. And without losing our lives, we will not save our lives. For Jesus also said, “Whoever seeks to preserve his (earthly) life will lose it” – Luke 17:33. It’s only those who take up their cross and lose their lives in service to God, who will find their lives in the resurrection.

So for us who have set our hope, not on this life, but on the life to come, and the resurrection of the dead –

Jesus shows us the way

He is, after all, the Risen One. And he shows us the path that all must take. First comes lowliness, servanthood, rejection and death. And then and only then comes resurrection – new life, blessing, being first and exaltation.

May God strengthen us to take the lowly way, so that we may each find the glory that God desires for us.

Read Full Post »

Series: Clothe yourselves with humility

Today we finish up our series on humility. Remember with me these basics:

The proud are those who raise themselves up:

  • to be honored because they think they are better than others
  • to be above others; to be separate and in charge
  • to be served by others
  • to have what they want, what’s best and easiest for them

Notice how all of this is self-centered.

The humble, however, are those who lower themselves:

  • to forsake seeking honor
  • to be with others on the same level
  • to serve the needs of others and to lower themselves to do this
  • to sacrifice,  as they serve, lowering themselves still further

Notice how this is completely other centered.

Well, we have talked about what it means for us as individuals to clothe ourselves with humility, but today we ask the question, “What does a humble congregation look like?”

And we are working with the same four components of humility that we have just reviewed.

1. A humble church remembers its own lowliness

As a group we know that we are not better than anyone else that might come to our door, or any group of people that we reach out to.

Luke 18:9-14 says, “Jesus also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: ‘Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other.”

It’s easy to forget that we are forgiven sinners ourselves. And that God loves those who have needs and problems just as much as he loves us. And that if we don’t have those same needs and problems, it’s because of the grace of God. And it is this same grace that we are to share with those who come to us.

Paul had to deal with a church that had some who were proud. This is what he says in 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 – “For consider your calling, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.”

He calls them to remember their lowliness. And that God loves the lowly, and works his will through them – so why try to lift yourself up?

  • A proud church thinks it’s better than others.
  • A humble church knows that it is not better than anyone who comes to its doors or that it seeks to reach out to. It gives up lifting itself up, just as Jesus set aside his glory in heaven to come to us (Philippians 2:6-7).

2. A humble church is with the lowly

What I am trying to say here is that we don’t just relate to those who are like us, or those we are comfortable with, we also and especially relate to and are with the lowly.

Who are the lowly?

  • Those who are rejected. In Jesus’ day these were the sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors and lepers.
  • Those who have low social status. in Jesus’ day this included women, children and slaves.
  • Those who are weak. In Jesus’ day this included the poor, the unlearned, the sick, the demonized, the mentally ill, older people and the disabled.

Who are the rejected today? Who are those with low social status? Who are those who are weak today? I would suggest that the list is much the same. And we are called to be with them in relationship, not to pull away as if we are better.

Think about the example of Jesus’ ministry. He said in Luke 4:18 – “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed . . ..” He also said in Matthew 9:12-13 – “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

James talks about some who were proud in James 2:2-4. He rebukes those who favored the rich over the poor in their fellowship. He says, “if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ while you say to the poor man, ‘You stand over there,’ or, ‘Sit down at my feet,’ have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”

  • A proud church sees the lowly as beneath them. Sometimes it even pushes them away or treats them with contempt.
  • A humble church follows Jesus’ example and is also in relationship with the lowly.

3. A humble church serves the lowly

We serve by lowering ourselves to meet the needs of others and to lift them up. And what I’m saying is that we don’t just serve those who are like us, or those we are comfortable with, or just people who are already in our group We also and especially serve the lowly.

As he said in Matthew 9:12 he is the doctor who seeks to make the sick whole, not those who are healthy:

– Jesus’ preached to the lowly and invited them to receive God’s grace, forgiveness and acceptance. He preached “good news the poor” – Luke 4:18.

– He helped with their needs through healing and casting out demons. Through him the Spirit brought “recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed” – Luke 4:18.

– He included the lowly in his congregation of disciples, for instance Matthew the tax collector – Matthew 9:9.

  • A proud church wants to serve certain people, those like us, who will benefit our congregation, our programs, who fit into our social events, who make us look good.  If the lowly are served it is at a distance and not with personal contact.
  • A humble church serves the lowly, following Jesus’ example who “came not to be served, but to serve” – Mark 10:45.

4. A humble church sacrifices for the lowly

As we lower ourselves to serve others, it will cost us and to sacrifice means we are willing to do this for the well-being of others. And what I’m saying is that we don’t just sacrifice for those who are like us, or those we are comfortable with, or just people who are already in our group. We also and especially sacrifice for the lowly.

Jesus tells a parable about the lowly in Luke 15:4-6 – “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’” Hey, it’s way easier to hang out with the 99. It takes work to go a find those who are lost. It takes a sacrifice of time and effort.

But of course, the supreme example of his sacrifice for the lowly is when he laid down his life on the cross. And we are to lay down our lives and this includes sacrificially serving the lowly. Jesus gave up everything for the lowly. What have you given up?

  • A proud church wants what makes it comfortable and takes the easy road.
  • A humble church make sacrifices to serve those in need, following the example of Jesus who “came not to be serve but to serve and to give his life” on the cross – Mark 10:45

Now, congregation we have many opportunities to be a humble church. . .. May God help us to grow in our willingness to be with and to sacrificially serve the lowly.

Read Full Post »

Series: Clothe yourselves with humility

We are beginning a series on humility today. The title is “clothe yourselves with humility.” It comes from 1 Peter 5:5b which says, “clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another.” I like this imagery of being dressed in humility; of having humility all about us, and all over us.

Today the question is, ‘What is humility?’ And primarily we are looking at this in relation to others, as Peter says, “toward one another” or fellow believers.

The word humility in Greek (the ταπειν word group) means “lowly.” Our English word “humility” comes from the Latin “humus,” which means “earth.” It can mean dirt and thus carries with it the idea of being low, as in on the ground, not lifted up above the ground. So there is a spatial component here:

  • to be humble is to lower yourself before others (on the ground).
  • but to be proud or arrogant is to lift yourself above others (above the ground).

Let’s fill this out in some very practical ways by looking now at –

Four aspects of humility

– four specific ways to lower ourselves in relation to each other.

1. Humility means not seeking honor for yourself. First we look at Matthew 23:8. Just before this verse Jesus criticizes the Pharisees for doing things to be seen by others and he says, “they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplace and being called rabbi by others.” And then he says to his disciples in our verse, “you are not to be called rabbi (that is, honored teacher), for you have one teacher (Jesus the Messiah) and you are all brothers and sisters.” Unlike the Pharisees we are not to seek after titles, places of honor. We are not to try to be seen and acknowledged by others.

Luke 14:7-10 says this, “Now Jesus told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, ‘When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you.”

Jesus is saying, don’t choose places of honor or status; don’t go seeking after or claiming recognition by others. “Go and sit in the lowest place.” Let someone else lift you up, which leads us to our next verse.

Proverbs 27:2 – “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.” It is fine for great things to be said about you, just make sure it’s not your mouth saying it. Let it come from someone else.

And then finally, Paul says this in Romans 12:10 – “Outdo one another in showing honor.” It’s like a competition. Instead of seeking your own recognition, honor others. Can you give more honor to them than they can to you?

To be humble means you don’t have to lift yourself up by seeking honor, titles, status, recognition or by boasting. It means you lower yourself before others by honoring and lifting them up.  

2. Humility means putting yourself on the same level or lower than others. We already saw how Jesus said in Matthew 23:8 that we are all brothers and sisters. We are all on the same level.

In Colossians 3:16 Paul says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom . . ..” We are to receive teaching from others. Sometimes we teach, and sometimes others teach us. And also Paul mentions admonition here. This means being able to receive correction from others. Sometime we correct others, sometime we are corrected.

And then we have James 3:17. James talks before this verse about jealousy and selfish ambition. Then he talks about the wisdom that comes down from God, and a key characteristic of this is that it is “open to reason” or it can be translated, “willing to yield.” So James is saying, don’t be stubborn just holding on to what you think is right. We are to listen to others and receive their input.

Finally, Paul says in Ephesians 5:21, “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” This means that we are able to receive the wisdom and the leadership of others. We all have different roles and at different times and in different contexts of life we will need to follow the lead of others. Mutual submission means that when it’s our time to lead we lead, and when it’s our time to follow we follow.

To be humble means you don’t have to lift yourself up to be above others, always teaching, always correcting others, always holding to your opinions, always leading. It means you can lower yourself and receive from and follow others, your brothers and sisters in the Lord. 

3. Humility means serving others and their needs. Jesus tells this parable in Luke 14:12-13. “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” We are to do good to others, and bless those with needs. Here it is feeding the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind. And we don’t do this with strings attached, God can bless us in return.

In John 13:12-15 Jesus models being a servant. “When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, ‘Do you understand what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.’” Washing feet was slave work. And so Jesus models here that we are to lower ourselves to serve each others needs, even something as practical as washing someone’s dirty feet so they can come into a house.

Finally, 1 Peter 4:10 says, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another.” Each of us has a gift from God that we are to use to serve and bless others.

To be humble means you don’t lift yourself up to be served by others to have a feast for you, to have someone wash your feet or to be served by the gifts of others. You lower yourself to serve others and to care for their needs.

4. Humility means going without what we want for the good of others. 1 John 3:17 says, “if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” You give of what you have materially for those in need; you even go without what you want for the sake of others.

In Ephesians 4:2 Paul says, “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.” This means putting up with the annoyances or burdens of others in relationship. Instead of taking the easy way and not being in relationship, we stay in relationship because it is right and good to do so.

In 1 Corinthians 6:7 Paul talks about lawsuits between believers. He says, “to have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?” We don’t have to insist on getting our way or maintaining our rights. We can sacrifice for the good of another.

Humility means you don’t lift yourself up to insist on what you want or what’s good or easiest for you. You lower yourself to go without and sacrifice for the good of others.

And then I just want to point out that –

There is a downward progression in all this

– that is, these four aspects or components of humility. 1. You stop seeking to be above others lifting yourself up with status and boasting. Then, 2. You put yourself on the same level or lower than others. You come down to the same level as everybody else. Then, 3. You lower yourself further to serve others, coming up beneath them, as it were, to lift them up. And then 4. You do this sacrificially, giving up what you want and what you have for their good.

Finally, when we look at these four aspects of humility and the downward path that they present, let me say that –

This is the path of Jesus

 Turn to Philippians 2:5-8. This passage talks about Jesus’ lowering of himself.

1. He did not seek honor. v. 6 – “though he was in the form of God, (he) did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped.” He set aside his rightful glory at the right hand of God.

2. He came down to our level. v. 7 – he “made himself nothing.” He became a mere human being like the rest of us.

3. He came to serve us. v. 7 – “taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” He lowered himself below us to lift us up.

4. He gave up his life for us. v. 8 – “and being found in human form, he humbled himself to the point of death, even death on a cross.” He sacrificed everything for us.

So to walk in humility is to walk in the way of Jesus. And that’s because Jesus is humility. And the way he teaches and models for us is the path of humility. So we are really clothing ourselves in Jesus, when we clothe ourselves in humility.

Read Full Post »

Let me share with your briefly as we get ready to receive the Lord’s Supper. We talked last week about how each of us have power in different areas of our lives and at different times in our lives, whether it be physical, economic or social power. And the point was that how we use the power we have is a test that reveals what is in our heart.

  • When we use our power to take advantage of, dominate and put down the weak, it reveals that we are unrighteous.
  • But when we use our power to help, stand up for and honor the weak, it reveals that we are among the righteous.

Now, this all has to with various kinds of earthly power that we have; that God gives us and we are stewards of. But today we focus on another kind of power; what I am calling “true power” – which is the power of God working in us and through us.

Let’s start with –

How God’s power works

It begins in a place of human lowliness. We might be lowly because of our weakness; our lack of earthly power. Or we might be lowly because we use our earthly power to serve and sacrifice for those who are weak. Or we might be lowly because we refuse to use earthly power out of love for God and others – for instance in the case of loving our enemies. However we get there, it begins with lowliness.

Next, we rely fully on God in faith to take care of us. We pray, we trust, we look to God and we wait on God. And then God acts for us in power to raise us up and take care of us.

That’s it! That’s how God’s power works in and through and for us. It is as simple as this.

Now, it works this way, because this is how God works. 1 Samuel 2:8 says, The Lord “raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor.” But it goes both ways. Psalm 147:6 says, “The Lord lifts up the humble; he casts the wicked to the ground.”

So there is a double reversal. Those who lift themselves up are brought low and those who lower themselves are lifted up by God. As Jesus said in Matthew 23:12 – “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”

Let’s look at the example of this –

God’s power in Jesus’ ministry and death

1. Jesus lowered himself to serve and to sacrifice. In Mark 10:45 Jesus said that he “came not to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.”

Philippians 2:6-8 says, “Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of humanity. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” He made himself nothing first be becoming our servant and then by dying a shameful death on the cross for us.

Look at the table here today. The broken bread represents the broken body of Jesus. The poured out wine represents the poured out blood of Jesus on the cross. Here we see Jesus in all his brokenness and lowliness. He gave up his power and used it to bless in our weakness and need.

2. He trusted in God. He did this throughout his life and ministry as God worked through him. And when his time came, he trusted God with his life. In Gethsemane he prayed, “not what I want but what you will” – Mark 14:36. On the cross he prayed, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” – Mark 15:34. This is a quote from Psalm 22 and he is alluding to the whole of Psalm 22 which is one long prayer for vindication. Act for me God!

3. God acted for him. In his ministry God worked by the power of the Spirit in healings, miracles and casting out demons.

And he God acted in power after his death by raising him from the dead and seating him at his own right hand, vindicating him and glorifying him. Philippians 2:9-11 says, “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Since Jesus lowered himself and trusted in him, God raised him up. And this was a double reversal. Jesus was lifted up and those that opposed and killed him were put down.

So Jesus shows us how God’s power works; the power that God is using to make all things new. If God could have transformed the world and our lives by earthly power he would have. If God could have transformed the world and our lives without sening Jesus to the cross, he would have. No, Jesus went to the cross to show us that this is the way that God works.

Finally,

God invites us to experience this transforming power in our lives

The lowliness of the cross was not just for Jesus. He calls us to take up our cross and follow him – Mark 8:34. We are to follow in his footsteps, as we serve and sacrifice for God and others. He calls us to be lowly.

And then he goes on to say in Mark 8:35 – “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” If we cling to our earthly lives and the strength and power we have, we will lose it all. But when we give up earthly power and become lowly, we gain what only God’s power can give – true life; eternal life. God will act for us and raise us up.

When we do this, like Jesus, we will see God work in and through us. As Jesus said in John 12:24 – “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” We have to die! It is when we give it all up and become lowly serving and sacrificing for others that God acts in us and through us to bear much fruit.

Hear Paul’s testimony. He was one who knew about lowliness and also about having God work in power in and through him. He was dealing with a physical weakness and the Lord said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ . . . (so Paul goes on to say) For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. When we are weak and lowly – then God can work in power through us as well, to change us and to change the world.

Let’s remember this as we come to partake today.

William Higgins

Read Full Post »