Sunday, January 09, 2011

January 9, 2011 … Humility ... Essential for Christlikeness

Passage of the Day: Ephesians 4: 2a – Be completely humble and gentle; …

My Journal for Today: Here early in the year in my morning devotionals, we’ve been dwelling, from John MacArthur’s Strength for Today on Eph. 4: 1. Now we move on, as Paul begins his instructions on the qualities of a Christian life that is a walk “worthy” of Christlikeness. And it is of interest to me that the first two characteristics of Christlikeness Paul chooses to describe are HUMILITY and MEEKNESS [or “gentleness”]. Interestingly enough, these are the only two character traits that Jesus ever used to describe Himself (see Matthew 11: 29 below).

>>> SCRIPTURE: [Jesus speaking] Matt. 11: 29 “Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle [also translated “meek”] and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

In his devotional, MacArthur concentrates today on the quality of HUMILITY, which is a quality of Godliness that is often referenced in the book of Proverbs [see below Prov. 3: 34; 15: 33; and 22: 4] . Therefore, humility obviously is a quality for Christians to pursue as we grow in Christ, desiring to be like Him.

>>> SCRIPTURE: Prov. 3: 34 He [God] mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble.
>>> Prov. 15: 33 The fear of the LORD teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor.
>>> Prov. 22: 4 Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life.

And … both James (in James 4: 6) and Peter (in 1Peter 5: 5-7) also support the importance of developing humility as a Christian, with both authors quoting Prov. 3: 34 in those passages, even declaring that humility is the key to God’s grace (see statement from 1st Peter 5 below).

>>> SCRIPTURE: 1st Peter 5: 5 Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. 7Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

Pride, we know, and as we can read in the above scriptures, is the exact opposite of humility; and we know from Genesis 2 that pride was the “birth mother” of all sin. Satan, in fact, was expelled from heaven because of his anti-humility (i.e., pride) – see Isaiah 14: 13-14, where the fallen angel Lucifer says “I will” several times before God said “No, you won’t” and expelled the prideful angel from heaven. And so, since all sin has its root in pride; and since sin is defiance of and separation from God, humility becomes the attitude that is essential for both salvation and sanctification.

As to salvation, no one will ever enter God’s Kingdom without coming, to God’s throne of grace to receive God’s gift of salvation by HUMBLY declaring that Christ is that one’s Lord and Savior. And no one can be sanctified and walk in the power of God unless he/she can be HUMBLE enough to receive God’s grace, which God is so freely and willingly doles out through His Spirit to his humble servants.

It is when we walk humbly, as did Christ (see Phil. 2: 5-11), and when we have a Christlike attitude of humility (and meekness) that God can lift us up (again, see 1st Peter 5: 6) and give us His power so that we can be His witnesses on earth (see Acts 1: 8).

So we choose … humility or pride; and when we do, God promises – and will supply - all the grace we need for eternity and for our walk with Him here in this life as well.

So, … what is our choice today?

My Prayer Today: Lord, I tremble to pray this prayer; but I do pray that You help me to be humble. Amen

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