Tag Archives: Humility

Reflections in a Mirror – How do you see you?

Have you ever seen that cute poster that shows a little cat sitting in front of a full length mirror and the reflection is that of a huge lion? The point that this image is conveying is that how you see yourself is of utmost importance. But is that really true? Isn’t that a bit self-centered and egotisical?

With all the focus on “self esteem” and “self worth” and the “look-at -me” social media lifestyle we live with today, I took issue with this mind set. I took issue because God doesn’t teach us to be so self-centered and ego-driven. His Word tells us to be humble and modest and to place others before us. But when we look around and see the drug abuse, eating disorders, violence in schools, hazing and peer pressure and all the pain and suffering caused by negative self-image, poor self-worth and the desire for acceptance, I had to rethink my position.

I looked into the Word of God and found somethings I’d like to share.

   Psalms 23:7 tells us that:

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he

   There are many examples in the Bible of those who had either a very low self esteem or a prideful sense of self and God dealt with both accordingly. In Judges chapter 6 we see the angle of the Lord address Gideon as a “Mighty man of Valor!” yet, Gideon reveals very clearly how he sees himself in his response;

15 “Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel?

My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.

  Gideon says that in all of Israel his family is the smallest, weakest and least powerful family and as if that wasn’t enough – he is the least of them! He just opened his mouth and declared himself to be one of the least powerful, important or capable people in the whole country!! Wow! talk about a poor self-image. But keep in mind that this is not how God sees him. Thankfully, this is not the end of Gideon’s story. He goes on, with the power of God, to fulfill his destiny as a mighty man of valor and saves Israel – see Judges 7

But lets look at how Gideon could say such a thing. Jesus gives us insight into where such things come from –

For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Like 6:45

   So we see that Gideon said this about himself because that is what he really believed deep down inside himself. Regardless of what anyone else thought or said about him – he felt helpless and small. Thankfully God was able to turn his thinking around.

But lets look at an example of an over-inflated ego – King Saul

 There was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of power.  And he had a choice and handsome son whose name was Saul. There was not a more handsome person than he among the children of Israel. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people. 1 Sam 9:1-3

   Unlike Gideon, Saul was a handsome man who came from a powerful family and was taller than anyone else around. Add to that the fact that he was chosen to be King of Israel and you have a formula for pride, self-reliance and disobedience. 1 Samuel records the story of how Saul, ordered to kill the Amalekites and not leave alive or take anything. He did not obey. He let the men take the best of the livestock under the pretense of making a sacrifice to God with them. His pride and concern for public opinion among the men of Israel caused him to disobey God and that cost him the crown. He was rejected by God as king over Israel and later, a small, skinny boy would be chosen to take his place – David.

Young David is an example of a healthy self-image.

  With Saul rejected as King the Prophet Samuel is sent by God to the house of Jesse to anoint a new king. Jesse has seven of his sons stand before the prophet but God says no to each of them. Only after the young skinny son that Jesse overlooked was brought before Samuel did God command – Go, anoint this one! David began his journey as King of Israel. David, who even as a child had a good self image and knew how he stood with God. This is clearly seen in the way in which David stood up to Goliath even though the entire army shook with fear of that giant.

David declares that no one should be fearful about this man because he (little skinny boy David) will fight and defeat him! On the surface this might seem like a prideful statement but David was drawing on the confidence inside him because of his relationship with the One True God and past experiences.

But David said to Saul, “Your servant used to keep his father’s sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, 35 I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. 36 Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 Moreover David said, “The Lord, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” 1 Samuel 17:24-37

  David trusted in his own ability coupled with the power of God with him. Much like Daniel in the Lion’s den who trusted, come what may, in God’s Love to see him threw the situation ahead of them. Hopefully, you know how both these stories end. If not please look into it.

So, you see it’s all about a balance. You are not the lowest of the low no matter how you might feel and likewise, you are not he greatest one to walk the earth, even if you think you are!

Getting back to that cat looking at it’s reflection in the mirror.

He should see a great and mighty Lion in the mirror

as long as he also sees The Lord Jesus Christ beside him

otherwise it’s all and illusion!

Jesus said it best –

“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. John 15:5

  Be blessed today as you go forth in the Power of the Holy Spirit to stand confidently in your place with Jesus by your side. Al

Further verses on this subject are listed here for our consideration.

Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. Pr 16:18

Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:4

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time 1 Peter 5:6

A Formula For Success

So give yourselves humbly to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from youJames 4:7 TLB

   We all strive to be successful. Whether it’s success in our profession or our personal lives we want to be our best at whatever we do. How can we insure our success in all of our endeavors? What can we do to have an edge?

Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race,

but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize1 Cor. 9: 24 HCSB

   If you have run in a race you know that there is a wall that you hit that seems impassable. It can stop you in your tracks or motivate you to push threw. But, it requires calling on ever last ounce of effort. Sometimes that extra effort isn’t enough. Sometimes our best efforts and shear strength is not enough.

What do we do then? Give up? Make excuses?

Jesus gives us insight into how we can succeed in life.

 “I am the vine, you are the branches.

He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit;

for without Me you can do nothing.”  John 15:5 NKJV

for without Me you can do nothing

   Wait a minute! That’s got to be a misprint! I am an adult who is able to do anything. How can Jesus say such a thing? He can say that because He knows that we are only able to do so much while we live this life. We can get by for awhile but to be successful in this life – in a way that is important to God – we need to be connected to the source of power and strength.

Jesus is that source

and He uses the example of the vine and branches to illustrate His point.

   The Word of God is full of people who were incapable of great things in their own strength but will God did mighty works. Abraham, Moses, Gideon, Samson, Paul, Peter and many more. His grace is sufficient for them and is also for me – and You too!

  So the next time you are tempted to sin (no matter what that might look like) remember the formula for success –

  1. Humble yourself before God

  2. Resit the devil (the temptation)

  3. Rest in the assurance that you and God have sent the devil fleeing

also consider this

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 1 Cor 10:13 NKJV

and this

 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Heb 4:15 NKJV

and finally always remember

He who has begun a good work in you will complete it  Phil 1:6b NKJV

Thank you for stopping by and God Bless, AL

Who do you think you are?

Who do you think you are?!?!

   There’s a saying out there which goes something like this –

What matters most is how you see yourself”

   We as believers understand that what truly matters most is how Jesus sees us but before we completely dismiss this seemingly introverted concept lets look at it in the light of scripture.

    For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he Pr 23:7 KJV

   So, the Word of God is telling us that our self image affects or actions but, thankfully, that is not the last word on the subject.

for man looketh on the outward appearance,

but the Lord looketh on the heart. 1Sam 16:7c KJV

In the Book of Judges we see Gideon threshing wheat in hiding from the occupiers the Lord sent to correct His people and we have an open window into the way Gideon sees himself when he responds to the angels greeting…lets listen in….

    And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said unto him, The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.  And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? but now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.  And the Lord looked upon him, and said, Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites: have not I sent thee?  And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house

Judges 6:12-15 KJV

  So, here we see Gideon in hiding out of fear and explaining that he is the least (perhaps smallest or youngest) in his family and that his family is poor in the tribe of Manasseh, which isn’t the largest or greatest of the tribes of Israel. Gideon sees himself as the lowest of the low BUT the angels’ greeting reflects the way God sees him – A MIGHT MAN OF VALOR! Those of you who don’t already know the rest of the story should take a minute to see how it turns out but for the purpose of our discussion I will leave it there.

God doesn’t want us to “think of ourselves more highly then we should” nor does he want us to live in fear, self doubt, or shame”.

We are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are children of the Most High God. We are inheritors of Glory. We shall rule as Kings and Priests in the Kingdom of God to come. We are Blessed and Highly favored. But, we are to walk in humility with lowliness of heart and put others before us as we follow the example Jesus gave us of a servant not a master.

image

Distorted Selfie

As important as it may be for us to have a healthy self image it is how God sees us that matters most.

Be Blessed, Al & Betty

The Basin and The Towel

Jesus knew that the Father had given everything into His hands, that He had come from God, and that He was going back to God.

So He got up from supper, laid aside His robe, took a towel, and tied it around Himself.

Next, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel tied around Him. John 13:3-5 HCSB

Let me put this another way in hopes of showing the magnitude of this moment. Upon getting the news that you have been given all authority over everything and with the assurance that you will be going back to that glorious place of power that you came from. You take off your suit jacket and fill up a bucket with water and wash the dirty smelly feet of those who serve under you!

This is an unheard of concept in a “dog-eat-dog” world of business today. People vie for position each day just waiting for a missed step by the competition or an opening to outdo the other guy. Climbing the ladder of success almost implies stepping on the people under you. But Gods’ ways are not our ways (Isa.55:8) and we see each member of the Trinity placing the other above Themselves. Jesus always directed peoples attention from Himself to the Father (John 5:30, Luke 18:19). The Father praised the Son on more than one occasion (Matt 3:17 & 17:5). The Holy Spirits job description includes not speaking of Himself but bringing all things which Jesus said to our remembrance (John 16:13). It is just Gods way to redirect flattery and give praise to another before yourself. John knew this so well that he doesn’t even refer to himself, by name, in the Gospel he wrote.

Paul encourages us to humble ourselves as we care for each other – Bear one anothers’ burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Gal 6:2-3 NKJV

Lovely Impatient

Finally, when you consider that Jesus washed the feet of His disciples after eating the Last Supper with them, knowing the humiliation and pain that was just outside the door, it amplifies the event. Rather than feeling sorry for Himself or encouraging His disciples to take care of Him because He was about to be beaten, ridiculed, mocked and put to death, Jesus performed the act reserved for the lowliest of servants. Humbling Himself before giving His life for us was an act of love and an example for us all to follow.

This is My command: Love one another as I have loved you. 

No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends. 

You are My friends if you do what I command you.

John 15:12-14 HCSB