Can WeÂ Be Just aÂ Little Bit Humble?
Today is a beautiful spring day with wonderful temperatures and a light steady breeze that makes me humble myself in awe over the experience that God has allowed me to have. The chill has seemingly disappeared from our area and left in its wake the promise of great things to come.
I wandered around my yard marveling at the new buds and blooms of things that are there and things that will come. The vibrant colors, the details of the shapes and lines of the inner parts of a flower, and textures abounding areÂ a feast to an artist’s eye. I saw, smelled, and touched God’s cornucopia of spring and awed at its majesty thanking God for all these treats. I thought as I feasted with all of my senses wow, how great and powerful God is as He can do all this. So why can’t I humble myself totally before God? I know He created everything down to the last tiniestÂ detail even those I cannot see yet I am not willing to let Him have free and total reign.
Now don’t get me wrong I know God is our creator. I know he is greater than me. I know He can do all things. I know He loves us so much He sent His only Son to die in our place so that we may have eternal life.Â I know He can make the impossible – possible.
But… (Three little letters and one very small word that has aÂ tremendous impact on any statement)
But what if God’s will and purpose for my life doesn’t match mine?
But what if I do not like His plan for me?
But what if He doesn’t answer my prayers the way I want?
What if I let Him have part of my life but IÂ holdÂ on toÂ just a bit of itÂ and see if I can make that small bit work better for meÂ the way I think I want my life to be? Because I am here on earth and God is there, right? He has to be too busy with bigger issues than mine, right? So I will just pray the prayer of the not so humble…
I will just handle this part of my life if that is ok with you. Oh God, I know you are busy. I see the broken world around me so just in case you get tied up, just in case you forget, just in case this isn’t important enough for you to care about. Please let me fill myself with stress, anxiety, and worry. IÂ am thinking maybe I shouldÂ take this on myself and not bother you with it. You are great and all but I might not like your plan. I think my plan is better because then I will be happy because it is my way. I see how this world works and the world tells me all the time that it is up to me what I make of my life. So if you don’t mind I will just handle the worry and stress from here. I like to have control of my life and IÂ have a feelingÂ that with all that is going on you might get too busy to help me so I will take it from hereÂ but…if this doesn’t work my way God, I will let you take over. I will let you have free reign when I make such a mess of the issue that no one on earth can repair it then God I will turn to you.
Amen (so be it) so be the mess I will make of this so stand by, God, as I take control
I may not have actually said this prayer using these words but I have done it with my actions. We often act and react with little thought to who should be in control and inÂ our impatience and lack of being humble we create a mess that we then beg God to “fix”. How, when surrounded with a world of great magnificence can we not humble ourselves before God and allow Him total control first? Jesus spoke the words, “Not my will but thine.” such easy words to recite such difficult words to truly mean but it is only with these words meant in their true context that we will find peace, comfort, and a relief from anxiety and worry. To fully submit to God we must learn to cast our worries and cares to God recognizing how much God loves and cares about us. This week’s focus verse is 1 Peter 5:7;
Give all your worries and cares to God because He cares about you. (NLT)
We All Need Help
The key to this verse is God cares about us. We can stop worrying becauseÂ He does care as He shows us all the time through daily blessings that may seem trivial but are not if we step back and look at the full picture. We must get out of the mindset that we can handle things on our own. We need God’s help and the only way to understand this is to humble ourselves before God and admit that we cannot do it ourselves or by ourselves. If we cannot humble ourselves and recognize that we need God’s help then we are not trusting God fully with our life.
We all need help. We all needÂ different typesÂ of help no matter whom or what weÂ and our situations are. This reminds me of a story I read about a woman who parked her car and was waiting for her husband with the windows down for it was a warm day. As she waited she watched what society would consider a street person or a bum making his way across the parking lot. He looked rather rough for the wear from his looks as he seemed dirty and in need of clothes. HisÂ appearance gaveÂ the idea ofÂ a lack of money perhaps homeless.Â The womanÂ was not feeling very generous that day and just didn’t want to be bothered with having to deal with the beggingÂ for a “handout”. She so hoped that he wouldn’t ask for money and she adverted her eyes and appeared to be very busy in her idle wait. He wandered past her though and sat on the curb in front of the bus stop near her car even though he looked like he could not afford the fare. After sometime he spoke and said, “That is a nice car.” She replied, “Thanks”Â with a bit of anxiety waiting for him to ask for money but he never asked. The silence was a bit deafening and she began to feel guilty and felt the urging to ask if he needed help. She felt for sure he would say yes. She finally gave in to her guilt and asked, “Do you need any help?” He answered in three simple but very profound words she would never forget. “Don’t we all?” He neverÂ pushed out his handÂ or saidÂ anything else. “Don’t we all?” She not only gave him money for bus fare but enough for food and shelter for the day.
We may not all need help for our basic needs but no matter how educated or economically sound weÂ are we all need help. We all need the help that only God can supply. When we rely on God first then not only can we humble ourselves before God but we can humble ourselves before others not only accepting their help but offering help of our own. The woman in story may have only helped a homeless stranger but then again maybe he was more than that as he taught an awesome lesson about being humble.
The ability to humble ourselves before God and give our cares and worries to Him is not a new lesson but an old one found countless times throughout the Bible such as in the ancient writing of Psalm 55:22;
Give your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. (NLT)
Jesus teaches us about our worries in Matthew Chapter 6. He tells us that God already knows our needs and theÂ requirementsÂ of us are to seek is His kingdom and live righteously. To seek the Kingdom of God above all else as it tells us in Matthew 6:33 requires us to be humble and recognize that God is above all elseÂ and trust Him to know better than us. It is hard for us to humble ourselves to the point that we work upon God’s schedule though and not ours. I read a piece by Charles Stanley recently that provided some insight upon this as itÂ ponders God’s unique praise worthy qualities that may help us be more humble.
- His all-encompassing knowledge. (Recognizing that God is completely aware of our world and all the details of every personal life)
- His complete wisdom (God knows every man’s motives and where as we can only make decisions based on partial information God makes decisions based on complete information)
- His unconditional love (God is always motivated by love and is always doing what is for our best in the end)
- His perfect sufficiency (God will provide at the right time everything we need to carry out His plan)
If we take all of this into account how can we not trust God to know and meet our needs better than ourselves? Our way brings anxiety and worry God’s way brings peace. Matthew 6: 34;
So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. (NLT)
Being Humble Requires Us to Act
We must humble ourselves before God giving Him complete control but God doesn’t tell us to sit idly by and not plan.Â Careful planning is necessary after we have humbled ourselves before God. Planning helps decrease the worry. We must be humble enough to recognize that we do not have control over all things but knowledgeable enough to do what we can. When I think about sitting by and doing nothing I think of the college student who had fun for the semester and didn’t study for the finalÂ test. The student knows there will be a final test onÂ the subject; they do not come to class regularly, do not pay attention in class,Â do not complete their assignments, and do not study prior toÂ the final test. The studentÂ has done nothing the entire semester but now decides to just pray that God will see them through with a passing grade. They will in likely probability fail and then blame God because they prayedÂ even thoughÂ they did not use what God did give them. Sounds crazy and perhaps you are thinking how foolish of that student but how many times do we consistently make bad choices, do notÂ attempt toÂ use what God has blessed us with,Â and not consult God until the end of the line when we are up against the wall? God has equipped us to be knowledgeable or to find others that are knowledgeable for help. We have to do all.
A man became sick and went to the doctor. AfterÂ conductingÂ tests the doctor determined what was causing the sickness, prescribed treatment withÂ medicine, and askedÂ the sick manÂ to return in two weeks. Two weeks passed and the man returned to the doctor as instructed but he wasÂ worse than ever before. The man complained to the doctor that initially he was sick andÂ had comeÂ to him to be cured but now he was sicker than before. The doctorÂ perplexed at the man’s worsening conditionÂ asked him, “Have you taken the medication thatÂ I directed you to?” The man admitted he had not taken the medicine at all. The doctor exclaimed, “What!” “Why didn’t you take the medicine as I prescribed?” “How can I help you if you will not do what I have provided for you to do?” The man replied, “Well I thought since you were a doctor all I needed to doÂ was to comeÂ and see you butÂ it did me no good to come to you because you didn’t heal me.”Â The manÂ blamed the doctor because he came to the doctor first but he didn’t want to have to follow through with the doctor’s guidance. So the man left in anger blaming the doctor for his illness and he later died.
How many of us go to God expecting Him to quickly fix our problems yet we do not want to have to do anything? Heal us God we pray, fix our problems, make us happy and we sit back and wait and when nothing happens we blame God. Or perhaps the opposite occurs we run around like crazy, we talk to everyone, we do everything humanly possible to “fix” our own problems and then when that doesn’t happen we say, ” Well I have done all that I can do all I can do now is pray.” Neither way is going toÂ help our issue. We must come to God first not last and then we have to take what God has provided for us and carry forth God’s guidance continuing to stay in close relationship with God.
Being humble does not require us to be helpless. If God wanted us helpless he would have provided us with no skills or knowledge. Anxieties call for our action to submit and humble ourselves before God who is in total control. As we build our relationship we learn to have confidence that God choses best. It may not be what we want, it may not be in the time frame we wish, but it will be for sure the best plan for God’s will to be determined. Hebrews 13:5b;
…be satisfied with what you have. For God said, I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” (NLT)
We mustÂ trust God to meet our needs and we cannot do that if we will not humble ourselves before him first and then take His guidance to carry our His plans.Â Is God there and does He care? I recently heard a story told by Lutheran Hour Ministries, pastor Ken Klaus that illustrates this point.Â A lightning storm struckÂ a man’sÂ barn. The barnÂ caught fire and quicklyÂ engulfs itselfÂ with flames. As the firefighters battled the blaze, the farmer tried to call his insurance agent. When he got no answer, he started to express worry and frustration and became very loud with his ranting asÂ he asked, “Where is that insurance man when you need him?” At that moment,Â a volunteer firefighter shouted above the noise, “I’m here putting out your fire.” So remember just becauseÂ we humble ourselves and then do all we can things still may not go according to our plan but God sees the whole picture because it is ultimately His plan. He is thereÂ putting out the fire although it mayÂ not be in the way we had thought or hoped because maybe what we reallyÂ needed was an entirely new barn.
Have a great week remembering to place God first in your life by the simple act of being humble in His presence, listening closely to His guidance,Â acting with confidence, and remembering above all that it is God’s plan not ours.
Love in Christ,
E.J. with contributions of J.J.
What are your Thoughts?
Do you find it hard to be humble? Have you found yourself acting first and praying last? Join us in discussion on how God has clearly directed your life when you have allowed “His will to be done”.