Passage for Study: Acts 18: 1 - 17 … Acts 18 linked for study …
2nd Passage for study: 2nd Corinthians 11: 22 – 28 … [self search and study in 2nd Cor. 11 required]
My Journal for Today: Okay, we’re back to the quality of HUMILITY again. If you’ve been following me during my 2009 devotional journal entries, using Chuck Swindoll’s book Great Days with the Great Lives, you would have seen that each of the “great lives” I’ve studied has, in one of the focus studies, centered on humility. For Joseph, Moses, David, Esther, Job, and now Paul, they all either had this quality in their inborn character or, more likely, God led them through life to a place where humility was honed and shaped into their character.
And this should not be a surprise to anyone who has studied the life of our character model for life, … our Lord and Savior, Jesus. In our study of Paul, we’ve already read how Jesus was the prototype of humility (go back and read Phil. 2: 5-11) with Paul exhorting all Christians in that passage to have a mind like that of Christ (see verse 5). Here, in our passages we’ve been using for the last few days, the Apostle Paul would declare that he would never want anyone to point to his (i.e., Paul’s) strength in the face of imprisonment or danger. No, he would rather point to his humiliation or weakness, which allowed God to pour His empowering grace into the life of this humbled warrior. Paul had come to a place in his life where he understood the principle of Prov. 3: 34, that God rejects the proud but gives grace to the humble.
But we, especially today, live in a world which lauds just the opposite. Swindoll quotes J. Oswald Sanders, from his book, The Leader, who wrote, ”We form part of a generation that worships power – military, intellectual, economical, or scientific. … Men everywhere are striving for power in various realms, often with questionable motivations.” And I don’t think any of us would debate that position.
However, Swindoll, also quotes a counterpoint from the Scottish preacher James Stewart, who wrote, ”It is always upon human weakness and humiliation, not human strength and confidence, that God chooses to build His kingdom; and that He can use us not merely in spite of our ordinariness and helplessness and disqualifying infirmities, but precisely because of them.”
Wow! Do we get it, my beloved?! What a freeing and empowering principle this is for all of us who pursue Christ as our leader in life. Because of this great principle, espoused in God’s truth so often (see Isaiah 41: 10 and most certainly from all the passages I have referenced today), we, in humble recognition of our weaknesses, can receive God’s enabling grace and be empowered to make a difference for God’s kingdom and for His glory. And as we’ve gone through these great lives along with Chuck Swindoll, we’ve seen that these men and one woman became strong when they recognized their weaknesses and allow God to give them the empowering grace to do exactly what our Lord instructed in Luke 9: 23 (a verse I certainly hope you have internalized by this point in your Christian life).
HUMILITY, my friend. That’s where were the action of our hearts should be focused. For when we realize that God honors humility, never pride, we’ll be on the road to denying self and following Christ.
My Prayer for Today: Lord, I know the risk in praying for humility. But if it takes Your shaping ministry, Holy Spirit, to humble me so that I can receive Your grace. Bring it on! Amen