It’s so humbling that we all struggle. Not one of us can say we’ve got it all together, and for that I’m grateful. In my last post, I talked about the power of being cognizant of weaknesses, viewing it as a positive instead of being destroyed by condemnation.
Today I’m covering humility, the hardest part of the process at times. Diving right into 2 Corinthians 12:6-10 —
“Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
I love that Paul states God’s purpose in giving us weakness. To keep us from becoming conceited. Are you ever on a roll with something, maybe you’re in the lead in a race, making advancement after advancement, and you start to become overly confident in your victories so much that you slip up or slow down? This is how we work! It’s even a psychological phenomenon studied across athletic performance. Coaches have to be extra careful in the amount of positive reinforcement given to their team during a winning streak so as to keep their players from going into the next play with a hot head. Being conceited and overly confident only leads to reckless mistakes, selfishness, and arrogance.
Trust me, you do not want to become conceited or vain. It disturbs me how many conceited qualities I possessed before I knew Jesus. Shallowly, I compared myself to others based on vain appearance or words, having little compassion for others except myself. I can remember the harassments my friends and I would place on others in grade school. So much as rolling up your jeans a certain way would have us ridiculing innocent kids left and right. We were monsters. Consumed by looks and materials, our hearts turn rancid, bleeding a cloud of arrogant delusion over our eyes and tongues.
But thank the Lord, that He turned my dark days into lightness, as fulfilled in Isaiah 29:18, “In that day the deaf will hear the words of the scroll, and out of gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind will see.”
How do we get there?
In being HUMBLE and NEEDY (for the Lord), highlighted in (Isaiah 29) the very next verse, 19, “Once more the humble will rejoice in the Lord, the needy will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.”
This entire chapter illustrates this flaw in us, beginning with our endless hunger and thirst that is never quenched by this world and cyclical living. To verses 9-12, exhorting a different kind of thrill that only the Lord can bring, a supernatural vision that provides a different kind of high. Where we just don’t know how to be called His children all the time, because we still struggle. To verses 13-16 recognizing our nature to try to serve our way to salvation through works and empty faith. But how God knows our hearts, will continue pursuing us and showing us His wonders, to verse 17’s introduction to a harvest ready to spring forth.
Only after being of need of the Lord, brought down to humility, the chapter wraps up (vs. 22-24) with the Lord opening blind eyes, cutting the evil down around them, bringing His people to joy, redemption, without shame, but with instruction (of how to proceed).
Every time I’ve felt Holy Spirit nudge me to take a more humble step with others, those relationships were strengthened. Humility allows us to become closer to one another through our honest vulnerabilities.
“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.”Psalm 37:23-24
In all things, God gives and takes away. So whether He decides I’m going to live with a certain weakness/temptation/tendency my whole life, I praise Him either way (gaining strength as I do. Seriously, worshipping the Lord is one of our greatest weapons). Even when I feel too weak to do so. Even when I don’t feel it or want to.
It could be a life sentence. But there’s hope in that it keeps me reliant on Him. The one who’s always with me through it1. The one who defines me as already given all that I need to succeed2, walking with joy and led with peace4, with promises to lead entire nations with valor5.
Prayer: Lord help us with Your strong courage rising up within us to be honest with ourselves and others to the point of humility. First humble to You, and then to others and ourselves. We can’t do it without You. We thank You for how much freedom and clarity this brings. Though the process may be hard, thank You for your presence within it, always by our side. No matter if the road has to get uncomfortable, quiet, or lonely. We praise you for knowing more and having greater plans than we know. We pray to trust You continually in that. Help us remember Your promises, revisiting them in Your word, knowing they are a light for our feet to stumble much less on this path of life. Have all the glory and honor Lord, we love You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
- Isaiah 41:13 / Psalm 23:1-6
- Psalm 36:7-9 / Isaiah 58:11
- Isaiah 55:12
- Isaiah 55:4-5