Craig Smith - Humility
Hey, welcome to Mission Hills. So glad you’re with us, whether you’re joining us in person or online or a Mission Hills Watch Party. So, so good to have you with us. If you are in person, feel free to go ahead and have a seat right now. We’re starting a new sermon series today called “Chasing Peace.” And the reality is that we probably are all facing a bunch of circumstances in which peace seems in pretty short supply. I know, for me, this pandemic has been the longest, hardest season of my life as a church leader. I think I’ve had seasons where the struggles were longer. They went on for longer, but they weren’t nearly as hard, and I’ve also had some seasons where, honestly, the challenges were harder, but they didn’t go on for this long. This is the longest, hardest challenge in my life, and I know a lot of you probably feel that way for a variety of reasons, and for a variety of circumstances.
Some of us are experiencing stress and a loss of peace in our lives because we’re worried about whether or not we’re going to keep our jobs, or maybe we’ve already lost our jobs, or maybe you’re worried. You own a business, or you lead a company and you’re worrying that you might have to let people go, or maybe you’ve already had to do that, and that is taking peace out of your life. Or maybe you’re just trying to figure, “How on earth am I supposed to homeschool my kids and do the job that allows me to afford the home in which I’m trying to homeschool the kids?” Right? That’s a little bit stressful. Maybe there’s a relationship crisis or a health crisis.
The reality is, I think, we’re all facing circumstances that don’t seem to be exactly producing peace in our lives, but here’s an interesting truth. We kind of need to get a handle on this at the beginning of this series. Peace is never a product of our circumstances. Peace is never a product of our circumstances. It’s never produced by our circumstances, or circumstances can never actually give us anything like peace. If you think about it, even if the circumstances are perfect, even if you manage to get everything in your life lined up perfectly in that moment, it’s exactly what you always dreamed, it’s all there, it can change, you know, at a moment’s notice, right? And so, even if everything is perfect right now, it won’t stay that way, and the more that we try to get peace out of our circumstances, the less peace that we find that we actually have. But the good news is that peace is still possible. It’s just not a product of our circumstances.
The truth of the matter is, is that peace is really, it’s a by-product of other things that we choose to pursue. But here’s the problem. Most of the things we choose to pursue are actually changes in our circumstances. We don’t necessarily think of it that way, but that’s really what we’re trying to do. We’re pursuing, you know, a new job or it’s a degree that will lead to a job, or it’s a promotion inside the job, or maybe it’s a little bit more money, a raise, right? Maybe it’s a possession that we can buy with that more money, or maybe it’s a relationship, right? “If I just had a husband,” “If I just had a boyfriend,” “If I just had a wife,” “If I just had a girlfriend, I would have peace in my life.” But the reality is, speaking to the men here more than the women, having a woman in your life is not necessarily going to bring you peace. I’m going to get in trouble for that one. And the same thing is true, women, right? Having a guy in your life isn’t necessarily going to bring you peace. In fact, the reality is that relationships, while they’re wonderful, often create conflict, right? They leach peace out of our lives.
And so, the reality is that we got to be really careful that what we’re pursuing is not actually just a change in our circumstances hidden under some other label. Here’s what we actually do need to be pursuing now is that peace is a by-product of pursuing godly character. Well, what we’re pursuing is not a change in our circumstances, what we’re pursuing is a change in our character and who we are when we’re pursuing godly character. We actually begin to find that peace comes regardless of our circumstances, and so what we’re going to do in this series is we’re going to talk about what kinds of character God made us for and how it is that we can move in that direction and thereby experience peace. And we’re going to be guided in this series by a very powerful passage from the Book of Proverbs, Proverbs chapter 6, verse 16 says this, “There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him” Sounds good, right? Everybody excited? I’m excited. “Six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.” If you’re the type A person, I’m going to explain why he says six and then seven. There are seven things mentioned, but two of them are lies, actually. He hates lying so much that he mentioned it twice, but there’s six separate things there that he says he hates.
Now, you’re probably asking the question, it’s very natural to ask the question, what does all these things that God hates have to do with me experiencing peace? Very natural question, but it’s the wrong question. The right question is, why does God hate these things? What is it about these things that causes God to detest them? And the answer is this, God hates these things because he loves us. Do you hear me, church? God hates these things because he loves us. And because he loves us and because he knows how much these things and the more of these things are present in our lives, how little good we experience, how little peace we experience because God loves us, he hates these things because of the damage that they do. And so, what we’re going to do in this series is actually we’re going to flip the tables and we’re going to talk about, well, what if we pursued the opposite of each of these things? Because God hates these things because of the damage they do, so maybe God loves the other things because of the good they bring, because of the peace they bring into our lives. And so, we’re going to start today with the opposite of haughty eyes. Now, I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that nobody has used the word “haughty” in a sentence in, like, the last 100 years. It’s like an old English word, but basically, it means arrogance. It means pride. He says, “God hates haughty eyes.” He hates prideful, arrogant eyes. He hates eyes that look at the world through a lens of pride because that destroys peace. So, what we’re going to do today is we’re going to talk about how to pursue the opposite of pride, which, of course, would be humility. Humility.
And for that, we’re going to be in the gospel or in the Book of Romans 12 if you want to go and start making your way there, Romans chapter 12, verse 1. Love this passage. It’s become a passage that I go to over, and over, and over again because it’s a roadmap to humility, and in the process of gaining humility, I believe we also come to experience more and more peace. Man, it’s loaded, actually. What we’re going to find today is both an explanation of why it is that pride kills peace and why it is that humility produces peace, but we’re also going to get nine, I kid you not, nine separate humility hacks, nine separate, very practical things that if you do these, or if…honestly, if you just do one of those, and that’s my prayer for you today is that as we go through these, the Holy Spirit would sort of jump into your heart at some moment and go, “That one right there. That’s the one you need to pay attention to. That was the one that will help you to develop and grow in humility, which will ultimately produce peace.” We all have to go in humility. I don’t know if anybody here feels like you got humility nailed. Anybody want to admit that? Of course not, because the moment you think you’ve nailed humility, you’re not so humble, right? And the reality is that humility is not something that comes naturally. We’re not born with it. We have to grow in it.
I’ve been on a 31-year journey, actually, in the process of trying to grow in humility, and I know that because this morning, actually, I got a Facebook message from an old high school friend. She was cleaning out a box and she came to the box that said, “High school stuff,” and she found a picture of this… Can we throw that picture up here? This is a tape of music that I wrote and recorded in 1989. And you catch that one title right there? In 1989, I wrote a song called “Humility” because I realized even at that point in my life that that wasn’t something that I was necessarily experiencing or practicing to the degree that I should, and there was a sense in my heart, even 31 years ago, that I needed to flip the switch on that. I needed to turn things around. I needed to grow in humility, and so I literally have been on a humility search for 31 years, and I wish I could say I’ve made a whole lot more progress in those three decades than I have, but God has taught me a number of things about humility, and a lot of them actually come here from Romans chapter 12.
Romans chapter 12, verse 1, Paul is writing to the church at Rome and he says this. He says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God. This is your true and proper worship.” And it’s such an interesting statement. He says, “I urge you to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,” and what we need to recognize is that’s an oxymoron. The idea of a living sacrifice made no sense in the ancient world because, in the ancient world, worship was defined primarily by killing sacrifices. You put sheep, or goats, or whatever on the altar and you killed them, and that was your primary act of worship. But what Paul is doing here is he’s flipping that. He’s redefining worship, and he can do that because Jesus was the last sacrifice.
Jesus, his life was of infinite value, and so his death was of infinite value. He paid for every sin that could ever be committed, and so we don’t need to sacrifice animals. And so, now what Paul is doing is he’s redefining worship. He’s saying, “Worship is not defined by what you kill on the altar, worship is defined by you offering God your living body.” And do you see that that’s an oxymoron, a living sacrifice? It doesn’t make sense, but he says, “Offer your bodies,” meaning not the body of a cow, not the body of a sheep. You offer yourself as a living sacrifice. And what he’s saying is so important. What he’s saying is that living for God is our truest worship of God. Living for God is our truest worship of God. Our truest worship of God is not defined by how loudly we sing the songs. It’s not defined by whether or not we wave our hands around, or even dance, or any of those kinds of things. You can do that. You can be incredibly passionate in a worship service, but your primary worship is actually how you live for God. Living for God is our truest worship of God is what he’s saying. He’s saying, “Live for God and then you will truly worship him.” Okay. So, how do I do that? How do I live for God? What is God looking for? Well, verse 2, he says this, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, and then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is, his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
Now, let’s break that down. He says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world.” In other words, he says there’s a kind of a default setting for the world. There’s a way of living, but actually, it’s not a way of living. It’s a way of thinking, okay? There’s a default pattern of thinking that the world engages in, and that’s why he says, “I don’t want you to engage in that pattern of thinking,” but he says, “I want you to be transformed by the renewing of your,” what? “…of your mind.” Because he says, “It’s a pattern of thinking that I’m concerned about. The world thinks this way, but I don’t want you to think that way anymore. I want you to think the way God thinks.” And it’s only when you think the way God thinks that you can begin to understand God’s will for your life. And, by the way, when he says, “Will for your life here,” he’s not talking about your will for this career or that career. He’s not talking about his will for, you know, this degree, or that degree, or that college, or that woman, or that guy. It’s none of that kind of stuff that we often think of. He’s talking about the day-to-day will that involves us living for God. He says, “Hey, true worship now is living for God.” Well, how do you do that?
Well, the first thing that needs to happen is you need to change your thinking. Don’t think in the pattern of this world, think in this new way, in this renewed way. It’s going back to what was originally intended, and only then he says, “Well, you know what it looks like to live for God.” Okay, well, how do we do that then? What is this pattern that we need to break and this new pattern we need to come to? Well, he goes on and explains it. He says this, “For just as each of us has one…” I’m sorry, “For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you, ‘Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought.'” Here it is. What’s the new pattern of thinking? Don’t think of yourself too highly. In other words, don’t have a bunch of…pride. It’s pride that causes us to think of ourselves too highly, and what he says there is, “That’s the essence of what I’m dealing with.”
In other words, pride is the pattern that we’re supposed to break. The pattern of this world is a prideful pattern. It has been ever since Adam and Eve sinned. Honestly, the sin itself was ultimately an issue of pride. You probably heard that old saying, “Pride goes before the fall.” It literally went before the fall. It literally went before the first sin. Doesn’t mean that God made Adam and Eve and everything was perfect. They had new minds, they thought the way they were supposed to think, they were servants of God, they were loving God, worshiping God. They were extending his influence in creation. That was the way they were supposed to think, but then the devil came in and he convinced Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
We talked about this before, but just in case you’re new, I want to make sure you understand. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil, that phrase, knowing good from evil, in the ancient Near East, that was a euphemism for deciding for yourself. When a young person got to a certain age, they would say, “Well, now you know good from evil.” In other words, you’re responsible for your own decisions. You call your own shots. That’s what the tree represented. When they ate from the fruit of that tree, they were basically deciding for themselves because God said don’t, but they said, “I think I’ll decide for myself. I think I will,” right? They said, “God, I appreciate the life, and the breath, and all those other things, but I think I’ll take it from here. I think I’ll decide what’s good for me. I think I’ll decide what’s bad for me. I don’t really need to listen to you. I’ll call the shots from here on out.” That’s pride, and what did it do? It created chaos, right?
The reality is that pride creates conflict. Pride creates conflict. Pride created conflict between human beings and God, right? You know the story. Instead of running to God when God came into the garden after they ate from the tree, they ran from God. That’s conflict, right? And it makes sense. If you think about it, you know how magnets…you got to have opposites to attract. Well, God’s the big “G” God, but when we decided to call our own shots, we tried to make ourselves into little “g” gods, that’s the same pole. And what happens when the same kind of pole try to get together? They repel. Creates conflict. It created conflict between us and God. It created conflict between each other as well, right? Because when God said, “Hey, you guys didn’t eat from that tree, did you?” The man stepped up and took charge. He led his family and he blamed the woman. “It was her that you put here, actually. I didn’t think it was a good idea, but, you know, whatever, you’re God, right?” And then she blames the snake, and then their kids kill each other, right? That’s conflict, right? Pride creates conflict, and ultimately, it creates conflict between us and all of creation itself.
The Book of Romans earlier says, “All creation groans under our sin.” All the bad things we experience, the pandemics, the hurricanes. All that stuff that happens in creation, it happens because of our sin. Pride creates conflict, but humility produces peace. Humility produces peace. It’s humility that allows us to accept what God did for us. He loved us so much, He sent his own Son to die. Jesus died, and on the cross, by his blood, he purchased forgiveness that we could never earn on our own. We could never be good enough to have a relationship with God anymore, but God loves us so much that Jesus died in order to provide that forgiveness if we’re humble enough to accept it. But as long as we stay prideful, “No, I can do it. I can be better. I can get there,” we’ll never be able to experience peace with God. But humility brings peace with God. Humility brings peace with other people, right? Humility says, “I don’t need to be right as much as I need for us to be right. I don’t need to be the one who gets it as long as we’re able to move forward together. Let’s figure out how to do that together. I’m willing to set down my agenda, or my preferences, or whatever so that we can make progress together.” That creates peace. And then, ultimately, when Jesus returns, humility produces a peace, even between us and all of creation. We get to experience it again one day where it was intended to be. Pride creates conflict, but humility produces peace. This is all about peace because it’s all about humility, which produces it. Okay.
So, we’re not supposed to think too highly of ourselves. We’re not supposed to think pridefully. Instead, he says, “But rather think of yourself with sober judgment.” That’s a good word. “Sober” is a good word there. A great translation because “sober,” of course, means undistorted by something. Something that shouldn’t be in there that’s affecting the way that we see things. Something that shouldn’t be in there that’s affecting the way that we see the world, right? I mean, that’s what alcohol does. It distorts the way that we see ourselves. Its’s what drugs do, they distort the way that we see ourselves. And in the same way, he says, “There’s something that if you allow it in there, and if you allow yourself to look at the world through this thing, it will distort your view of the world. It will distort your view of yourself,” and what is that thing that distorts? It is pride. He says, “Instead of thinking too highly or so pridefully, think of yourself with sober judgment,” and the word there really basically means you need to be able to think realistically about yourself. See, some of you have this idea that humble people are the ones that are going around going, “I’m terrible. I’m so bad at everything. I have nothing of value to offer. There’s nothing good in me. No, I’m sorry.” That’s Eeyore. That’s not humility.
What Paul says here is, “Think of yourself soberly. Think of yourself realistically, undistorted by pride.” Listen, humility isn’t thinking less of yourself. It’s thinking realistically about yourself. Okay. What does that mean? What does it mean to think about myself realistically? He goes on and he says this, “Think of yourself with sober judgment, realistically in accordance with the faith that God has distributed to each of you.” And that seems like kind of a confusing sentence, and I know it is because there have been a lot of debate between scholars, and Bible teachers, and pastors about what exactly does that mean that God’s distributed faith? But honestly, a lot of the confusion comes from the way that we translate it. Let me give you what I think is a pretty literal translation which I think clarifies what God is saying here. What he’s really saying is, “But rather, don’t think of yourself too highly, but with sober judgment realistically since God has distributed to each of you a part of that which comes from faith.”
God has given each of us a part of that which comes from faith. And his point is, whatever part you have, it’s not the whole picture. You’re not all that and a bag of chips. At best, you’re all that, but somebody else has the bag of chips, okay? The point is, you’ve only got part of the whole thing. Now, what is this “that which comes from faith”? What is it that I have a part, and you have a part, and you have a part, and everybody out there has a part? What is it? And the answer is, he’s talking here about spiritual gifts. He’s talking about gifts that God has given us. Here’s what he says next. He says, “For just as each of us has one body with many members and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ, as followers of Jesus, though many, we, as many, form one body and each member belongs to all the others.” Together, we make up the church.
Now, by the way, if that language sounded a little familiar or if you feel like “I’ve heard that language very similar to it somewhere else,” the answer is you find it in the Book of 1 Corinthians chapter 12, where Paul is talking about spiritual gifts. We did an extended teaching on that last year, and if you want to dive into this a little bit more, you can go back there and listen to those messages. But Paul uses very similar language here because he’s talking about spiritual gifts. Look, he goes on. He says, ‘We have different gifts according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith. If it is serving, then serve and if it’s teaching, then teach. If it is to encourage, then give encouragement. If it is giving, then give generously. If it is to lead, do it diligently. If it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.” He says, “Whatever gift that God has given you, I want you to use it,” but notice what he says, “I want you to use it as it’s intended. I want you to use it to do,” what? “I want you to use it to bless other people. I want you to use it to serve other people,” all those gifts that he lists, and then he says, “Go ahead and do that,” they’re all about helping other people. They’re always about focusing on other people, lifting them up, blessing them, serving them.
And what he’s really saying, ultimately, is humility hack number one, okay? Remember I said there’s going to be nine humility hacks today, and your job is to find that one that God is speaking to you to go and…”That’s the one I need to grab ahold of, put into place in my life so I can grow in humility and ultimately in peace.” Humility hack number one is this, he’s saying, “Humility comes from seeing our gifts as a way to serve others,” okay? And that’s true whether we’re talking spiritual gifts, which come from faith, right? That’s why he says, “You’ve got a part of that which comes from faith,” because spiritual gifts are the gifts that God gives us when we put our faith in Jesus, but we only get one of them. Sometimes you might have two or three, but the point is, you don’t have all of them.
Other people together have the whole package, and that’s why we can make up the church together, okay? So, we’re talking spiritual gifts, but it’s also true of learned gifts, those gifts that we develop over time through experience. It’s also true of natural gifts. Things that we’re born able to do. Every gift that God has given has been given to you so that you can serve other people. And that’s the first humility hack. If you want to grow in humility and therefore peace, recognize that it comes from seeing our gifts as a way to serve other people. Everything you have is a gift intended to help you serve other people. Then he goes on, and we’re going to move pretty quickly through these. You’re looking for one of them, though. You’re looking for the one that the Holy Spirit says, “That’s the one.” He says, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil, cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” You see the humility in that, right? You see the lack of pride, how we’re changing the lens. He says, “Honor one another above yourselves.” He says, “Be more concerned about other people’s honor than yours.” And that’s humility hack number two.
Humility comes from prioritizing the honor of others. It means when somebody compliments you for something, says, “You did a great job. You’re really good at that,” instead of going, “You’re right. I am,” what you want to do is you want to move that honor to somebody else, you want to point out the team that helped you succeed. You want to point out the family that is behind you, supporting you, enabling you to do those kinds of things. You want to take the honor that comes your way and you want to repurpose it, okay? It’s not that you deny a compliment. You just repurpose it to honor somebody else who’s contributed to your success. He says, “Honor others above yourself.” That’s humility hack number two. It comes…humility comes from prioritizing the honor of others. And he says this, verse 11, he says, “Never be lacking in zeal, in passion, but keep your spiritual fervor serving the Lord.” He says be passionate. Be zealous, but be zealous about serving the Lord, right?
He says, “Humility comes,” this is hack number three, “Humility comes from being more passionate about God’s reputation than ours.” Be more passionate about God’s reputation than ours. Some of you may know because I learned this from somebody that I’ve been looking to to teach me humility for 30 some-odd years. Some of you may know that if you ever say to me, “Hey, that was a great sermon,” my standard response is, “I’m really glad God used it.” And I’m not saying that it wasn’t a good sermon. I hope it was. I work hard at that, but I want God’s reputation to be polished more than mine. And I learned that from somebody. It’s one of the ways that I practice developing and pursuing humility. It’s about figuring out how do I polish God’s reputation rather than mine? Be zealous for God’s reputation. He says, “Be joyful,” this is verse 12, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” And that one is hard because the only reason you have to have those things is because your circumstances aren’t great, right? He says, “Be joyful in hope.” You have to hope still because your circumstances still aren’t quite what you’re hoping for. You have to be patient in affliction because you’re in difficult circumstances, there’s pain that’s coming, there is persecution that’s coming, there’s difficulty coming, but you’re supposed to be patient. You’re supposed to be faithful in prayer, asking God to move and change your circumstances rather than taking charge of changing it all yourself under your own timetable. And here’s humility hack number four. Humility comes from learning to trust God’s timing, to be willing to sit even in difficult circumstances sometimes because it may very well be that God has something profound that he wants to teach you or something even more profound he wants to do in you and through you because of that circumstance.
I hate this pandemic. I have been praying for the end of this pandemic. How many of you have been praying for the end of this pandemic? That is not enough hands, which might be part of the problem. That’s a whole different message, though. I have been praying for the end of this pandemic, but I’ve also been praying, “God, would you teach me what I need to learn in the midst of this, and would you give me the patience to trust in your timing?” And that’s a humility issue, okay? Humility comes from learning to trust God’s timing, especially in circumstances we’re not thrilled about. He says, verse 13, “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” In other words, humility comes from being generous. When we use our resources to bless those who have need, what we’re doing is we’re using our resource for what they’re intended for, which is to bless others, to serve others. We’re reminding ourselves, not only the purpose of those resources, but of our purpose in life. It’s to serve others.
Verse 14 says, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” That one’s tough, but what he’s saying, humility hack number six, is that humility comes from asking how we can help even those who have hurt us. You find the person in your life that has caused you the most pain, and maybe this week you sit down, and you don’t pray for vengeance. You don’t even pray for peace. What if you pray, “Lord, how could I bless that person?” That takes humility, but in the process of doing that, it actually begins to grow humility in us. Humility comes from asking how we can help even those that have hurt us. Says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. That’s empathy. It means we take our eyes off of our circumstances, we take our eyes off of our pains, and we put them on to other people, and we rejoice with them in their circumstances that are good. We mourn with them in their circumstances that are painful. And I want to be honest with you, some of the people in my life who have blessed me the most during difficult times, I came to find out afterwards they were going through times that were much more difficult than mine. And yet, somehow, they listened to that verse and they came alongside me. They blessed me. They were present with me. They helped me. They served me. And from those people, I see, and have learned humility. Humility comes from practicing empathy. Put your eyes off your circumstances. Look at somebody else’s and either rejoice or mourn with them because of their circumstances. It will build humility, and with humility, peace.
He says, “Live in harmony with one another.” Live in harmony with one another. Here’s what I think this means. It means that humility comes from drawing bigger circles. What I mean by that is that, you know, we’re always kind of thinking in terms of us versus them, right? We draw circles and we go, like, “These are my people, and those are those people,” and then, of course, we find somebody in our circle, right? “These are my people, but wait, like, you don’t agree with me on that one? I thought we were on the same page in everything.” You have a slightly different theology, you have a slightly different view of politics, whatever it is. I’m… Just hang on a second, I’m gonna draw a little bit smaller circle. “These are my people. You’re not actually…you’re part of those people.” And we do that so much, right? We draw these ever-smaller circles, but humility comes from drawing the bigger ones to go, “Hey, you and I disagree with that, but you know what? We’re still both believers. We still both follow Jesus, even though we have some substantial disagreements.” Oh, I’m going to draw a little bit bigger circle because it turns out that we’re both followers of Jesus even though we have really different politics, but we’re still followers of Jesus, and I want to pay attention to what we have in common, not just what we have in conflict, you know. And the biggest circle you can draw is you can look at somebody that you disagree with on every single thing they think, and yet they were still made in the image of God, just like you. We’re both made as the image of God, which means that we are in a circle together.
Humility comes from drawing bigger circles, from focusing on what we have in common, not just what we have in conflict. And he says, “Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.” And the Greek word for “low position” is also the Greek word for “humble.” He says, “Be willing to associate with humble people,” because humility hack number nine is that humility comes from the company that we keep. When we keep company with humble people, we become humble. When we keep company with prideful people, they leach it out of us. When we listen to prideful people, when we subscribe to their Twitter feed or their YouTube channel, we’re constantly looking what they’re doing on social media, prideful people leach humility out of us, too. Humility comes from the company we keep. I’ve been on a humility journey for 31 years, but there’s still people in my life that are there primarily because they’re humble. There’s a guy in my life, in particular, he’s on my speed dial on my phone that I call, and I call him to go, “Hey, here’s a situation. Here’s what I did. I’m really curious. How would you have handled that?”
See, I’m not as far along as I’d like to be. If I were really far along, I would call him before I handle it, but I’m still working on it. But sometimes I call him and I go, “Here’s what I did. What do you think?” And then every single time he says, “Well, you know, gosh, I mean, if I had to be in it, it’s a difficult situation, but if I had to, I guess I’d probably do this or this.” And I’m like, “Yeah, that’s better. That’s more humble. That is more godly.” He’s in my life because of that, because I need that example in my life. We all need those examples. Humility comes from the company we keep. And then finally he brings it home. He says, “Do not be conceited.” That’s where he started, right? “Offer your bodies as living sacrifices.” Living for God is your greatest act of worship of God, and how do you do it? By breaking the pattern, not thinking about the world the way the world thinks about the world but thinking about everything the way God thinks about everything. Not thinking too highly of ourselves, not, here, he says, being conceited. And that’s not just a bunch of hacks to make you humble. It is a bunch of practices that will bring you peace.
Peace is a by-product of the pursuit of humility. I hope you see why that is. And so, I just have one question for you today. Which of those humility hacks will I focus on this week? My prayer is that the Holy Spirit has spoken to you about one of those, maybe two, but don’t do more than two. You try to do all of them, you’ll end up doing none of them. But one of them. Pursue it. If you need the list, you can find that. We’ll post it on the website. It will be on the app. Peace is a by-product of the pursuit of humility. So, which one of those humility hacks are you going to work on this week? Would you pray with me? God, we just confessed to you that we are not as humble as we should be. In spite of the fact that we know that you’re an awesome God and you’re God and we’re totally not, we often get it wrong. We act like we are little “g” gods and it creates conflict between us and you. It creates conflict between us and others, puts us into conflict with your creation itself. We recognize that pride kills peace, creates conflict. We accept the truth from your Word that humility produces peace, so Lord, we submit ourselves to you and ask that you teach us how to pursue humility and therefore to experience peace, which is its by-product.
If you’re a follower of Jesus, would you begin praying for those listening, watching, gathered around the world that don’t have a relationship with God. They don’t have faith in Jesus. And if that’s you, I just need to speak to you for a moment, and I need you to understand that humility is going to produce peace in your life. It’s the only thing that can truly produce peace because it takes humility to say to God, “I’ve done wrong. I’ve sinned. I’m sorry.” And it’s humility that allows us to take hold of God’s gift for us. God loves you so much, he sent his own Son to die for you. You can’t earn his grace. You can’t earn his love. You can’t earn his forgiveness. It’s not possible, but God made it possible. His own Son died to pay for your sins, and he offers you forgiveness, salvation, eternal life, a relationship with him. He offers all of that simply by accepting his gift. But it takes humility to accept from God what we could never produce on our own. And if there’s something stirring in your heart right now that says, “It’s time to humble yourself. It’s time to receive a gift that God wants to give you,” here’s how you do it wherever you are. You’re just going to have this conversation:
Hey, God, I’ve done wrong. I’ve been prideful. I’ve tried to do it on my own, and I’ve sinned. It has not worked out well. I’m sorry. Jesus, thank you for dying for me. God, thank you for raising your Son from the dead and offering me forgiveness by faith. Jesus, I’m ready to humble myself now to receive your gift of forgiveness, your gift of life, eternal life. Jesus, I’m humbling myself, and I choose to follow you. I’m saying yes to faith in you. Jesus, I’m yours for now and forever. Amen.