We are continuing our discussion of Humility: True Greatness. Previous posts:
Introduction: What is Humility?
Chapter 1: The Perils of Pride
Chapter 2: The Dangers of Pride
Chapter 3: Who Wants to be Great?
Chapter 4: Can We Learn Humility?
Chapter 5: Make a List
Chapter 6: How Well Do You Sleep?
Today, I am catching up from last week’s travels by discussing Chapters 7 and 8.
“He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8 [NASB]?”
Chapter 7 reminds us of the intentional steps we can take to daily humble ourselves before the Lord:
Study the Attributes of God (87)
Attribute is simply a word that means characteristics. During the first portion of every mentoring season, we focus on the attributes of God. Intimately knowing God is critical for our spiritual growth. Knowing his attributes shapes our hearts and transforms us into the image of Jesus Christ. Why? Because we become like what we worship. Therefore, we must take the time to focus on the Lord and seek to understand His ways, because he desires to make himself known to us.
Study the Doctrines of Grace (90)
When we discuss the word doctrine, we mean “right teaching” concerning our faith.
There are several Christian understandings of the word grace. Grace is the means by which we have been saved, a divine appointment and approval by God for salvation and sanctification (the process of changing our hearts to better align with his heart for all creation). Grace is a virtue given to us by God so we can respond to others appropriately (in kindness, thoughtfulness, etc). Grace also enables us to live in a manner that is pleasing to the Lord. By God’s grace and through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are able to obediently respond in God-honoring ways that were far beyond our reach prior to receiving God’s grace.
Studying the Doctrine of Grace helps us better understand these realities and makes us aware of how God is at work in our hearts and lives. How do we know we are growing in God’s grace?
According to Chapter 8, we know we are growing in grace when we begin “identifying evidences of grace in others (98).” We notice the evidence of grace in others when we stop seeing the worst in them or remembering their past sins and start looking for the good in them, celebrating their small wins, and encouraging them along the way.
We know we are growing in grace when we are thankful. The Psalms are filled with passages praising God for his goodness and grace. They remind us of specific reasons to praise God out of gratitude of heart.
The author recommends the book, Saved by Grace by Anthony Hoekema.
Study the Doctrine of Sin (92)
Every day we need a reminder of how bad sin is, and more specifically how grievously we sin against the Lord. Studying the Doctrine of Sin humbles us before the Lord and again makes us thankful for the deliverance and hope we have received in him.
We live in a culture that glamorizes and celebrates sin. Pride makes us think that our sin is not that bad, or at least not as bad as the other person’s sin. We need to remind ourselves that God hates sin. Our sin makes us guilty before God. Our sin is what nailed Jesus to the cross. Jesus has delivered us from slavery to sin.
Hebrews 3:13 tells us that we become hardened because of the deceitfulness of sin. “Sin always has a destructive effect, but often than effect isn’t immediately obvious. Over a period of time, however, where sin is indulged, there’ll be a hardening effect on the soul of a genuinely converted Christian (93).” Therefore, we must resist the temptations of sin and flee reckless behavior.
Mahaney offers two more disciplines in our growth towards humility:
The first is what I would call the “Discipline of Celebration.” Mahaney encourages readers to play golf. Basically, he is recommending that we each have a hobby. Have fun. Enjoy the life God has given us.
Laugh often. As the old saying goes, “Laughter heals the soul.”
Practicing these disciplines helps us grow in humility. Evidence of authentic humility is “a heart more concerned with God’s glory than our own, and more intent on serving others than ourselves (109).” This is the character that God wants to cultivate in us. This is our confidence in Jesus Christ: We grow in humility and grace because of the promise, “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Phil 1:6).”
What other disciplines help you grow in humility?
We will discuss Chapter 9 next week.
© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2013