The Power of Humility

This post is a continuation of the last one titled Let Him Be Lord

The theme threading through both posts is humility before God, or the act of humbling oneself:

“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6 ESV

Definition of humility

  1. :  freedom from pride or arrogance :  the quality or state of being humble : i.e. …accepted the honor with humility; The ordeal taught her humility.

We are going to go through times and seasons of pruning, spiritually speaking. We all have things that need to be trimmed back, shaped and tended in our lives, so the fruit of God will be evident for all to see.

Pruning is a good thing…really. Have you ever driven past someone’s house with a untended yard or overgrown trees? Weeds are everywhere, the grass hasn’t been mowed in months and little creatures are beginning to take up residence. It’s not pretty. But when you see a home with healthy green grass, beautifully shaped trees and artfully planted flowers, you admire the view, knowing that the homeowner has invested time & effort into their landscape.

For us as Christians, as children of God, the pruning process begins with forgiveness, and forgiveness is rooted in humility. Instead of looking at the people around us and judging their lives harshly, we should always look to our own, knowing that without God’s mercy and grace we would be lost:

“He (Jesus) also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14 ESV

God will forgive you. Humble yourself before Him and He will lift you back up, stronger, healthier and more beautiful than you were before.

Blessings ❤

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Mercy and Grace

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy”  Matthew 5:7

I confess that I love God’s mercy! And not only do I love it, I need His mercy everyday.

If I receive His mercy, then I need to extend that same generousity and grace to others. I love this description of mercy from Merriam-Webster:

~ kind or forgiving treatment of someone who could be treated harshly

 ~ kindness or help given to people who are in a very bad or desperate situation

~ compassion or forbearance shown, especially to an offender or to one subject to one’s power; also :  lenient or compassionate treatment

~ compassionate treatment of those in distress

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love it when someone is gentle with me when I’m having a hard time. And I’m astounded and humbled when someone graciously and patiently responds to me when I have been less than gracious and patient with them!

Mercy and forgiveness can be demonstrated in so many ways:

* Offer a word of encouragement to a busy cashier. I can guarantee they have heard and felt the pressure of other people’s irritation. We can be the bright spot in their day.

* Let someone steal the parking space you were waiting for. Take a deep breath and find another one. While annoying, it’s not worth the drama. Ask God to bless them with peace in their day, too.

* When your spouse comes home and fills you in on their bad day– just listen. Ask God for the ability to nurture and love them even though you are tired too. Hug them and tell them you love them. God will return the favor to you.

I think the reason some people have such a hard time with this is because they have never experienced true mercy. Or they do not see or acknowledge their own weaknesses, and are therefore harsh with others. This is particularly hard for people who are “strong” and/or gifted in their life.

I put strong in quotation marks for a reason. Strength is an illusion. If you ever find yourself in a position of weakness for any reason, you will know what I mean. True strength is manifested through faith in God and His ability to work through us and on our behalf. We are never told to be strong in ourselves, but in Christ:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.” Ephesians 6:10

And as far as being gifted, well– it’s a gift. We are simply the recipient, not the originator of the ability or talent…so we need to recognize it as such.

I wish I could tell you that I have learned to be merciful because I read it once in the bible, understood it, then went off with flowers in hand and love in my heart, blessing everyone I met…but that is not the case. I have come face-to-face with my own weaknesses, short-comings and failures. I have been humbled by the love and compassion God has shown me throughout my life. I have received forgiveness when I didn’t deserve it, kindness when I could have been rejected or rebuked and help when I was emotionally overwhelmed or physically unable. God has sent people to encourage me when I have been stressed out and afraid, to help me when I was sick and others to gently teach me when I didn’t understand. I am so grateful for all the love and mercy He has shown me, how can I not turn around and show others the same?

Mercy in action

Greater Grace

If you are struggling in any area of your life today—bring it to God.

 If you are battling hate, jealousy, condemnation, guilt or shame—bring it to Him and lay it out before Him.

Confess how you really feel; what you are truly struggling with…

 Is it pride, anger or fear? Don’t try to hide it or justify it—just spill it! God sees it all anyway, so why waste time trying to explain it or reason it away?

To me, this is one of the most wonderful things about being a child of God. We can come into His presence, as a child coming to a parent, and speak about what’s troubling us. Or confess the ugly thing we have noticed about ourselves.

It’s ok. God won’t condemn us or reject us. He has already made provision for us through the blood of Christ.

 But He gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.” James 4:6 New Living Translation

 Be encouraged today– but not simply encouraged– be changed and empowered to confront whatever is trying to hold you captive and keep you down:

 For whatever is born of God is victorious over the world; and this is the victory that conquers the world, even our faith.” 1 John 5:4

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Blessings!

Good Fruit

As God reveals areas in our life that need to change, along with it He provides the abundant grace necessary to accomplish those changes (2 Corinthians 12:9; James 4:6). He is actively working to conform us to the image of Christ, to be His “living epistles, read of all men.” (2 Corinthians 3:2)

 Our part is to yield to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

 Don’t run from His loving conviction. Repentance is just the beginning. The wonderful result will be the fruit of Christ in your life, bringing glory to God and drawing others to His redemptive embrace.

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“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

Be encouraged today. He is not revealing your sin and weaknesses to condemn you but to restore you.

Blessings as you walk out this day in His grace, mercy and love!

Wednesday Blessing

Happy, blessed Wednesday! This is my prayer for you today:

“The Lord bless you and watch, guard, and keep you;

 The Lord make His face to shine upon and enlighten you and be gracious (kind, merciful, and giving favor) to you;

 The Lord lift up His [approving] countenance upon you and give you peace (tranquility of heart and life continually).”

Numbers 6:24-26 Amplified Bible

Sunshine