Honest.

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Here’s to more authenticity in the new year; for being humble and honest online, as well as in person. We can only be as successful in life as we are honest. And our power comes in the form of a confident humility. We no longer have to try to be the Hero of our own stories. Put Someone Else at the center.

“Facebook is where you lie to your friends. Twitter is where you tell the truth to strangers.” —unknown

Dependence.

Dependence takes the form of humility, which takes the form of a servant. Humility, and being like a servant, is not thinking little of ourselves, but counting others as more important than us (Romans 12:3; Phil. 2:1-11). Dependence involves being honest before God, honest with ourselves, and honest with others.

How can we cultivate humility and daily dependence? John Stott gives some solid advice:

Thank God, often and always…. Thank God, carefully and wonderfully for your continuing privileges. . . . Thankfulness is a soil in which pride does not easily grow.

Take care about the confession of your sins. Be sure to criticize yourself in God’s presence: that is your self-examination. Put yourself under the divine criticism: that is your confession. . . .

Be ready to accept humiliations. They can hurt terribly, but they help you to be humble. There can be the bigger humiliations. . . . All these can be so many chances to be a little nearer to our humble and crucified Lord. . . .

Do not worry about status. . . . There is only one status that our Lord bids us to be concerned with, and that is the status of proximity to Himself. . . .

Use your sense of humor. Laugh about things, laugh at the absurdities of life, laugh about yourself, and about your own absurdity. We are all of us infinitesimally small and ludicrous creatures within God’s universe. You have to be serious, but never be solemn, because if you are solemn about anything, there is the risk of becoming solemn about yourself.”

—John Stott, The Radical Disciple: some neglected aspects of our calling, page 106, ch. 7, “Dependence,” quoting Michael Ramsey (former archbishop of Canterbury) in “Divine Humility,” ch. 11 in The Christian Priest Today, rev. ed. (London: SPCK, 1985), pp. 79-91.

 

No doubt about it: what should we pursue in life?

Today Kari offered the following lists where we discover how God relates to two kinds of people, the proud and the humble. She writes:

At a recent women’s conference we looked at this, and I was floored. Talk about two contrasting lists!  Check out how God relates to the proud, and to the humble:

First, the sobering list:

  • God’s wrath is on the proud (2 Chron. 32:25)
  • He pays back revenge on the proud (Ps 31:23)
  • He will not tolerate the proud (Ps 101:5)
  • He mocks the proud (Prov 3:34)
  • He tears down the house of the proud (Prov 15:25)
  • He detests the proud (Prov 16:5)
  • He punishes the proud (Prov 16:5)
  • He humbles the proud (Is. 2:12)
  • He throws the proud to the earth (Ez. 28:17)
  • He scatters the proud (Luke 1:51)
  • He opposes the proud (James 4:6)
But then, check this out. There’s a better list:
  • God saves the humble (2 Sam. 22:28 & Ps. 18:27)
  • He keeps back disaster from the humble (2 Kings 22:19)
  • He forgives and heals the humble (2 Chron. 7:14)
  • He holds back destruction and delivers the humble (2 Chron. 12:7)
  • He turns His anger away from the humble (2 Chron. 12:12)
  • He hears the humble (2 Chron. 34:27)
  • He guides the humble in what is right (Ps. 25:9)
  • He teaches  the humble His way (Ps. 25:9)
  • He sustains the humble (Ps. 147:6)
  • He crowns the humble with victory (Ps. 149:4)
  • He shows favor to the humble (Prov. 3:34)
  • He allows the humble to rejoice (Is. 29:19)
  • He looks on the humble with favor (Is. 66:2)
  • He gives rest to the humble (Matt 11:29)
  • He exalts and lifts up the humble (Matt 23:12, etc.)
  • He gives grace to the humble (James 4:6)
  • He shows favor to the humble (1 Peter 5:5)
If there were ever any doubt about what we should be pursuing in life, that doubt is now gone.

5 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,

   “God opposes the proud 
   but shows favor to the humble.”

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

—1 Peter 5:5-7 (NIV 2011)

  • Reflection: Today, how will you humble yourself under the mighty hand of God? 
Photo credit: “Humility” by ToniVC

Naturally humble?

Originally posted on 20 July 2009 at deTheos.com.

No one is humble by nature. In fact, the person who appears naturally humble is usually too lazy to be ambitious or too fearful to take risks. If a person is not tempted to control, especially in a crisis, this is often a symptom of despair and fatalism. Humility comes from humiliation, not from the choice to be self-effacing or a strong urge to give others credit.

Humility that has not come from suffering due to one’s own arrogance is either a pragmatic strategy to get along with others or a natural predilection that seems to befit only a few rare individuals. For most leaders, humility comes only by wounds suffered from foolish falls.

This is the terrible secret about leadership and life: we achieve brokenness by falling off our throne. To be broken is not a choice; it is a gift. I don’t know anyone who has made the decision to be broken and achieved it as an act of the will. But to experience brokenness and humiliation, all you have to do is lead. We who lead know that things happen that make little sense and that seem to have no immediate solution yet involve some failure on our part. …

Leading others gives you the opportunity to first be caught in the crossfire of competing goals and agendas and then to deal with that crossfire with limited resources and inadequate information. Every decision you make in such adverse circumstances will be favored by some and opposed by others. And in such circumstances, someone will certainly consider you a failure. Leading invites humiliation and brokenness.

Clearly there are only three possible responses to the absurdity of leadership: control, flight, or brokenness. Given the futility of control and the uselessness of flight, the only viable option for leaders who want to mature is to embrace being broken.

—Dan B. Allender, Leading With a Limp: Take Full Advantage of Your Most Powerful Weakness, pp. 69-71 (emphasis added).

Counting others.

Every time I tell our four-year-old son “I’m proud of you, son,” he is quick to remind me, “No, Daddy. Pride is bad.” True, son. So if I’m thinking about it I instead said, “Son, I’m really happy with you. You please me.” It seems our kids need to know we are happy to be called their parents. God the Father was happy to say the same of His Son (Matthew 3:17).

Our son is learning about humility. He’s getting the concepts down, and like all of us, learning in real-time the pitfalls of our self-centered pride. Brings to mind some of the things preached this Sunday in our church worship gatherings:

“You don’t need to try to be humble. Just be honest with who you are in light of who God is. Stop pretending, and trying to cover up who you are before others… Be honest before God.”
—Joel Dombrow, preaching on Philippians 2:1-11, Joy From Humility (Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011)

If we do that, we will then consider God as awesome, certainly more than ourselves. I was moved as I sat there asking God to do this in me.

Joel continued: “The humble person is someone who considers others as better than their self.” Not that we have to think that others are better than us, but that we place their needs before our own. We treat them as if they are better and more deserving than us. We must think about them more than us. It is putting others first.

“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Paul writes, Philippians 2:3-4)

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