The danger of pride is nearer than we think.
“Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”
2 Cor. 12:7-10 NASB
As I focus on humility for 2015, in addition to studying several passages of Scripture on the first of each month, I have also been reading a variety of books on the topic. My most recent read is Humility by Andrew Murray in which he discusses the above verses scribed by the apostle Paul.
He points out that in case Paul should exalt himself, by reason of the exceeding greatness of the revelations he had received from God, he was sent a thorn in the flesh to keep him humble.
Instead of simply enduring it, Paul most gladly gloried in it. Instead of asking for deliverance, the apostle took pleasure in it.
He had learned that the place of humiliation is the place of blessing.
Have I learned that yet? Have you?
We don’t normally associate the word humiliation with the word humility – one seems desirous while the other seems horrid. Frighteningly enough, I think the real reason we don’t associate the two is that is we desire the idea of humility, considering it a noble destination, without counting the cost of what it takes to become humble.
Murray claims that virtually every Christian passes through two stages in pursuit of humility:
(STAGE 1) She fears and flees and seeks deliverance from all that can humble her. She earnestly prays against the very things that will keep her from being made humble.
(STAGE 2) The presence of Jesus banishes every desire to seek anything in ourselves and will make us delight in every humiliation that prepares us for His fuller manifestation.
It feels like there is a gap the size of Grand Canyon between those two stages, doesn’t it? Can’t there be a Stage One & A Half?
I don’t think so. I think what Andrew Murray was getting at is that there is no middle ground — either you sincerely desire to be humble or you aren’t ready for it yet.
Sounds like Jesus doesn’t it? Either you want to follow Me or you want to follow yourself. You can’t follow both.
Needless to say this begs a question…
Which stage are you currently in?
I invite you to consider joining me in the following prayer:
Holy, Mighty, and Majestic God,
Teach me how to take pleasure in all that brings me low. That goes against every grain in my natural body.
Help me learn to regard correction, confrontation, reproach, and difficulty as, above all, an opportunity of proving how Jesus is all to me. I have so far to go…but I do want to go there…with You.
For Your glory, amen.