What a week! This lesson has really been weighing heavily on me. I have been learning so many things, I have so much to share, but don’t really know where to begin. So, today we will look at the humility of our faith.
I know what you are thinking – why are we going to talk about humility? Humans in general need to learn more about humility – what it means, what it looks like, how to act more humble. And unfortunately for most of us it doesn’t come easily!
Have you ever seen someone dig in their heels and absolutely refuse to give in? Did you see the response of everyone else? I have and it is not beautiful. The first church I belonged to was what you call a mega church – it was huge in both building size and congregation number, there was always an activity going on at the church, and it hosted a mega-multimedia Christmas production every year. When I was a teenager, I loved my church and enjoyed all of the programs I participated in. But even though it was an exciting place to be, there were heartaches behind closed doors.
At sixteen, I witnessed one woman destroying the joy and calling of another. It was the saddest year I had at that church. I had only been a Christian for a couple of years and was naive to think that every Christian was full of joy, love, compassion and understanding. It hurt to watch the scenes unfold over the course of several years. In the end it led to a family leaving our church and the destruction of a ministry in the making.
This all came from not being humble enough to say the words “I was wrong.” Humility is a conscious act, not an adjective. You cannot be humble until you are doing something humble. God never gave the commandment “be humble”, but rather “humble yourselves.” It is a decision we make – not something to strive to be. Jesus was a humble man.
Christ’s Personal Testimony
As I mentioned in the first podcast last week, Christ gave us the ultimate example of humility. His personal testimony is a great example of humility. I encourage you to read the entire chapter of John 5, but for now, let’s look at John 5:30-32.
(30) I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgement is just; because I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
(31) If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true.
(32) There is another that beareth witness of me, and I know that the witness which he witnesseth of me is true.
Here we find Jesus testifying to a multitude of angry Jews in the temple on the Sabbath. Jesus has just healed a man who has not been able to walk in over thirty-eight years. Without stopping to marvel at that miracle, the mob wants Him killed for working on the Sabbath day. Jesus begins to testify that He is the Son of God, angering the crowd more.
In verses 19-47, Jesus gives His own personal testimony. There are several things here that interested me. First, He humbled himself to the Father. He referred to Himself in third person. This gave Him the authority to speak about what things the Father had done, what things the Son of God was doing, and what things the Son of Man was going to do. (1) The Father answered prayers healing people physically, and allowed them the choice to be free or remain in bondage to sin. (2) Jesus followed the Father’s example in healing people. The Father also gave all judging authority to Jesus. And because of this we will all stand before Jesus on the day of judgement. (3) Jesus would also give life to those that believed His words.
It takes a lot to take someone at face value – simply hearing their words and truly trusting them. Although they had witnessed a miracle, the lame man was now walking and carrying his bed mat with him around the temple, these Jews did not see how that had anything to do with God the Father. They were blinded by their customs of following the letter of the law.
These people were in a very unique situation. I believe it was more difficult for the Jews surrounding Jesus to believe He was the Messiah than any other generation. Here is why. Old Testament believers had to put their faith in the Messiah they knew would come. Believers in Jesus time had to put their faith in the Messiah they could see. Everyone following Jesus ascension must put their faith in the Messiah that has already come.
The Jews in Jesus day were at a second disadvantage – they did not have a written copy of the Word of God in front of them. They had to hear the Word of God at the temple from the priests. They couldn’t simply pull out the Bible and use it as a check list for the criteria God had set forth. They had to know what they were looking for and humble themselves before the man, Jesus Christ.
Our Personal Testimonies
As humans, we are to humble ourselves. He commands us to do so in three different verses in the New Testament.
James 4:10 –
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.
I Peter 5:3 –
Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
I Peter 5:6 –
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.
Why are we supposed to be humble? What is the significance? The absence of humility is pride. There are several good reasons God wants us to be humble. He wants us to listen to Him. When we are full of pride, we are no longer teachable. We begin to believe we have arrived – that we know more – that we are important. And although Jesus thinks you are important in and of yourself and died for you, you are not the only one He died for.
The second reason we are to be humble is to show the humility of Christ. Have you ever heard the saying, “You may be the only Bible they ever read”? You are a walking, talking picture of Christ – being a Christian (Christ-like) – and you are to set the example of “what would Jesus do?”
The third reason is that pride breeds other sins – greed, gossiping, lying, hatred, stealing – it is nothing like Christ. Humility gives you the freedom in Christ to follow Him without a care for what others are doing. Humility doesn’t allow jealousy to harbor ill-will towards what others have or are being called to do. Humility is freedom, peace, joy, contentment – everything that pride isn’t and can’t give.
What does humility look like? The simple answer failure. Take a good look at the verses in Romans called the Roman Road. Most churches have taught these verses to their congregations when they are training them to witness and share their faith.
Romans 3:23 –
For all have sinned , and come short of the glory of God.
Romans 5:8 –
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that,
while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 6:23 –
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The common theme for salvation is human failure. We cannot do anything to earn a home in Heaven. The Old Testament law proved that we are failures – we cannot live up to the standards of perfection God put in place. This is why Christ had to come and die for our sins – to take our place – so that we could gain eternal life. but the only way to gain it is through faith in Christ.
Ladies, I encourage you this week to go back and read John 5. This is such a strong testimony of Christ as to who He was and is. Please join me next week as we outline the next point in our study – witnessing.
Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you so much for the gift of Christ. Help us to continue to humble ourselves before You, realizing that it’s all through Christ that we have anything. It’s only by Your gift that we are anyone at all. Thank you for the precious gift of salvation – may we never take it for granted and may we continue to share it with others. Amen.