Creflo Dollar - How Grace Teaches Humility - Part 2
If you have your Bibles, go with me to the book of 1 Peter chapter 5. 1 Peter chapter 5, verses 5 through 7. I think this is our third week as we have been dealing with humility and how grace will teach humility in our lives, and I believe that this is a path that, as we take this path and ask the Spirit of God to help us down this path, it is gonna position us for a lot of things that we've been tryin' to make happen on our own, and as we begin to recognize the difference between arrogance and pride, pride, pride and bragging and ask God to help you to see that, pray to God, "Lord, don't let me deceive myself. Don't let me walk around in arrogance and pride and then say to myself, 'I'm not arrogant or proud.' Help me not to deceive myself. Help me not to hurt myself, and then show me and assist me down this path".
I decided, each sermon series, it's a path that we're all takin'. We're all takin' this path together, and God's gonna be able to do some things as a result of this. I know I'm not expecting anybody to be flawless in this path. We're takin' this path together and askin' the Holy Spirit to help us with this, amen? Our key Scripture for this series, 1 Peter 5:5-7, let's read. Let's read it in the King James, and then I'll go back and look at the New Living Translation. He says, "Likewise, you younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility, for God resisteth the proud". So, now, if you choose the path of the proud, "God resisteth the proud, and he giveth grace to the humble". We wanna choose the path of humility 'cause he gives grace to the humble. Verse 6, so he says, "So humble yourselves". So God can give grace to you, "Humble yourself therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time".
So notice what he says: Humility leads to being honored or lifted up at the right time. Now, the key to that is the "right time," and the right time may not be the time you think, but the key is to lift you up at the right time, that God is gonna exalt you in due time, and so due season always comes. It's not "if" it comes, but "when" it comes, and God says, "If you clothe with yourself in humility and begin to walk down the path of humility, you are going to experience a moment of being exalted". How many of you are ready to be exalted? My prayer is I've never seen, you know, well, I don't know if, maybe I have. I just wanna see this church, I wanna see you, as individuals and families and marriages, I wanna see you exalted by God. I wanna see you exalted by God in so many areas that, when people come and ask you, you have no choice but to say, "This is the Lord's doing".
You're not even thinkin' about taking credit for it. You're not even thinkin' about, you know, tellin' people, "Well, you know, since I went from prayin' from ten minutes to an hour and a half, see that's what happened". No, no, no, you're just ready, so willing, and so ready to humble yourself and say, "I made myself subject to God, I submitted myself to God, and he lifted me up. He exalted me in due season". And I believe that's where we are. I believe that you're about to be exalted, and for each of you, God knows the right time. That's why it's important for you to mature. It's important for you to allow the hard things that you're going through to mature you. It's important for you to allow those things, that "I don't know why this is happening to me", I do, to mature you, and as you mature, then praise God.
You know, hopefully, that right time, that exalted time, will show up, but I know this. This is what I've learned 'cause God just asked me today, "What have you learned"? I've learned this, that we must mature, and there are lots of things you're not gon' be ready for if you don't go down the path of maturing, and, you know, maturity in the Christian life means you're not holdin' on anymore, you're not backbitin' anymore, you're not just hoppin' in bed with folks. You're mature enough to know not to do those kind of things, okay? You don't walk by yourself and don't speak to yourself like you do other people, heh-heh. You're mature enough to know, and what's happened is sometimes hard times have had the opportunity to mature you, to bring you up, to say, "You know what? I'm not gonna waste any energy on being stressed out on that".
You know, if the news is stressin' you out that bad, turn it off. You know, go to that old station, and look at some "Andy Griffith" and some "My Three Sons," or somethin' like that, and just stop it. You have a choice. You get to make a choice. You can choose to sit there and be stressed out by stuff, or you can choose to say, "You know what? I don't think I'm gon' be stressed out today, and I'm gon' turn my phone off because I don't want nobody to call me and get me out of focus. I just wanna focus in on what Jesus is saying to me today and do what needs to be done". But, somehow, we love to gravitate towards the garbage. You know, the "comments" sections on social media? We just love to go over there, by the garbage, to see how the devil can do somethin' to mess with us, but we must mature. Christians have got to mature. Mature Christians are not racist. Mature Christians are not operating in division all the time. Mature Christians are not doin' all those little baby-baby stuff.
Okay, we know how to love, and we are maturing in the love of God, and this church said, "Amen," right? I mean, 'cause some of you are lookin' at me like, "What are you talkin' about? I'm mature. I've been saved for 30 years". The number of years doesn't qualify your level of maturity. Your maturity is gonna be based on your character. It's what we've come to know about you, what we come to know about you. Have we come to know that you're a mature person and you carry yourself on a level of what the Word says, or are you in maturity? We can expect for you to act like a baby and fussin' to blame, and "It's that person's fault," and mad, and "I ain't gon' speak to you no more, and I don't like you no more, and I'm leavin' the church 'cause y'all didn't like my idea," and all that. That's immature people, baby pamper people, and we have got to mature, and God is gonna give us a lot of opportunity to do that.
So I believe we're goin' down this path of humility so we can mature in it, so we can grow up in it, so that God can exalt you in due time, and you're gon' look back and say, "Oh, I see why I hadn't been exalted. I wasn't mature enough". I actually love, like, what Taffi said I used to say, when you try to go and tell 'em somethin'. He'd say stuff like, "You don't tell me. I'm grown". Well, you can say that because you've been saved a long time, but when we look into your heart, have you matured in the love of God and in the things of God, amen? Now, that's not what we're talkin' about today, but let me read this. Go down to the next verse. He says, "Humble yourself," and then he says, "I'm gonna test your humility. Cast all your cares upon me, for he careth for you".
So the man that casts his care on God is a humble man 'cause he made his self subject to God. He submitted his self to God. He did what God told him to do, all right? "Casting your care upon God because he careth for you". A man that refuses to cast his care on God, he's in pride. You know, God says, "Cast your care on me". You're like, "I'm not going to". Well, God says, "No, cast your care on me". "Uh-uh, no, I'm a worrier, and if I wanna worry, I wanna worry". Yeah, you got the choice. You can be a worrier, but you're also a prideful worrier because you won't submit to what he just instructed you. Well, if you humble yourself, he says, "We'll be able to tell", how? All right, "Cast your care upon me". He said prideful people won't cast their care upon him. Prideful people won't cast their care upon him. So you think, "Oh, you're makin' a big deal of it". No, no, the deal is, if you're operating in pride, you're not operating under the things that God's asking you to do. That's a prideful person. Somebody can go around, and they could be shy. "Oh, well, they're just a shy person. They're not prideful".
You know, I see more prideful people that are shy because they're doin' the way they wanna do it instead of what God wants you to do, and that's really the dividing line between an arrogant, prideful person and humility. Are you submitted to the ways of God, the words of God, and the instructions of God? And then he says he will exalt you up, and he will lift you up. Let me read this to ya out of the NLT, real quick, verse 5. He says, "In the same way, you younger men must accept authority of the elders. And all of you, serve each other in humility, for 'God opposes the proud. He opposes the proud but favors the humble.'" Wow, "So humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, and at the right time, at the right time, at the right time," not when you think is the right time, but when he thinks is the right time, "he will lift you up in honor. So give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares for you," the test of humility.
Now, we said last week that dependence upon God will produce humility in your life when you depend on God, when you rely on God, when you lean on God. When you depend on God, that will produce humility in your life. I was believing God for a healing. Let me see when this was. It doesn't matter. I was believing God for a healing, and I would just say, you know, "God, thank you, I'm healed," and then the Lord says, "Well, what does it mean to depend on me"? I said, "Well, Lord, I depend on you. I trust you". Man, it was a huge awakening moment for me. He says, "You're really dependin' on me"? I said, "Yeah". He says, "You're not makin' any confessions over your healing". I said, "Well, I still depend on you". He says, "Yeah, I can tell because you've put that aside to do somethin' else". He says, "Your dependence on God", when you're dependin' on God, you can tell because your dependence on God will lead you to those actions that depend on God.
Look at that in your own life. We can say we're something, but you can look at the fruit and not see it there. And I was convicted. And I'm like, if I really depend on God, then why don't I engage in those things that I believe I'm supposed to do to say that I depend on God? As Christians, we gotta be so careful not to just make everything we hear about just a real quick confession. That's a great thing, but in my life, it was like I really depended on God, and you can tell because, every mornin', I'm up here, making declarations of what I believe I've received to do that. That's an action of dependence upon God that's born out of my dependence upon God. So you say you're dependent upon God. What is that giving birth to as far as what you do? "I depend on God".
So what is that giving birth to? "I trust God. I trust God". And what is that giving birth to? I know giving is a huge harvest of me dependin' on God or a reflex, and I guess that's the word I'm lookin' for. That's pretty accurate, the reflex. Somebody says, "I love God". What's the reflex? What's the reflex that comes as a result of you saying, "I love God"? I think the thing, the path I'm goin' down is I'm really diggin' in to getting Christian to look at your Christian life so you can say to yourself, "This is phony," or "It's real," you know? "It's just a bunch of talk," or "I'm actually doin' this," you know? "I love God," so there's a reflex. There's a reflex that's born out of that love that I say I have for God. There's a reflex that's born out of that humility that I saw I'm clothed with. I'm very, very, very, very intentional and with a lot of intensity, tryin' to deal with how to live this grace life now.
How do I live this grace life on a everyday basis? How do I unpack the sermons when you come to church? How do I unpack it, and what does it look like when I get home? Clothe yourself with humility. What are the reflexes of that humility? The reflexes are "I'm not bragging about what I do". The reflexes are "I'm not, you know, makin' myself subject to what self wants to do but what God wants to do," and you can see the reflexes of what you say you believe. "I depend on God". Where's the reflex of that dependence upon God? Does everybody understand what I'm sayin'? So we talk about your everyday life, your everyday life, not a quick confession, a quick, and, listen, yes, you know, we do confessions every day. Yes, but somehow, the reflex, it ought to show up.
Just think about other stuff that you really believed in, you know, that's not even in the Bible. That was a reflex, and then we saw you doin' somethin' as a result of what you told us. "Oh, I see what you said". I think it's cool to be able to still see what you're sayin', and I think every Christian, we ought to be able to see what we said 'cause, if we just sayin' stuff, but you can't even see what you're sayin', it's just kind of fake, isn't it? And it's time for the phony to die in our life. We perfected phoniness. We gotta get rid of that phoniness, and, listen, I'll tell ya what ought to happen. You ought to be able to have somebody notice that you are a Christian before you even tell 'em. They ought to look at you and say, "There is something about you," and that don't mean that's opportunity for you to brag on yourself.
There is somethin' about you. You ought to just sit there and just wave your hands, and everybody'll fall out like, "Oh, thank you, Jesus," you know? The presence of God in you means that your presence should demand an explanation. That's what I'm after. That's what I'm after. That's what I'm after. I'm now no longer preachin' a social gospel, the gospel that makes everybody happy, and everybody floods World Changers because they just love what I'm preachin'. I'm tryin' to drive as many people away as I possibly can by preaching the naked truth that irritates you when you get home because I feel, if you can get irritated enough, you might just calm down and start thinkin' about what I'm talkin' about and then realize, "I got some work to do. Lord, help me. Lord, help me. I need ya, Lord, help me".
So that's what we're after in this series, so, you know, like I said last week, there is a deep-rooted desire to be something, for men to be somethin', if not openly, yet in their heart, there persists the feelings of self-importance. Everybody wants to be self-important, and that's what this humility fights against. We wanna exalt him and exalt him only. We wanna give him all of the glory and all of the praise, and we don't wanna use church because we failed in the world to have as a platform, to try to be successful in the church where we couldn't do it in the world, but it's not even a real relationship. It's just somethin' we're using to bring attention to us, amen.
Okay, let's get started today. You ready? 1 Corinthians chapter 15, verse 9 and 10, we left off talkin' about Paul being so amazed with what the cross brought forth and how humble Paul is and how humble Paul was when he was on this earth. 1 Corinthians 15, verses 9 and 10, in the NLT. Now listen to this because this can be true in our lives. Verse 9, says, Paul says, "For I am the least of all the apostles". Wow. He said, "In fact, I'm not even worthy to be called an apostle after the way I persecuted God's church". That's deep, right there. Paul was the one that persecuted the church, had Stephen killed, and God turns around and makes him an apostle? How he gon' be walkin' around, prideful about what he did? What he did was persecute the church. And notice what he says, the next verse: "But whatever I am now," Paul says, "it is all because God poured out his special favor on me, and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles yet. It was not I but it was God who was workin' through me by his grace".
So the cross and the grace that flowed from it produced in Paul a deep humility. What grace? Because Jesus died on a cross, this grace was made available. Things you didn't deserve came as a result of Jesus dyin' on a cross. All of us in here, thank God, we don't get what we deserve. Ya understand that? Oh, my goodness, we don't get what we deserve 'cause, if we got what we deserved, we would all deserve hell. So "Go to hell," would be a real big reality if it were not for Jesus. And don't think you could respond and say, "You first". But because of Jesus, my goodness, Paul was...put yourself in Paul's shoes for a moment. He went around persecutin' the church, having them killed, just reapin' havoc in the church.
This was a Pharisee. Paul was a Pharisee who was a big-time believer of the law of Moses, and what Paul was doin', he thought it was right because, under the law, when you didn't do a certain thing, you were supposed to be stoned to death. You were supposed to be killed. Paul was zealous about the law, like so many people in the church are. Paul was zealous about the wrong thing after Jesus had come. Mm, and we still got people who are zealous about the wrong thing, but Jesus has come, but they honestly think it's the right thing. We all did. That's why you gotta be patient with people and let God finish the work with 'em because you were just like that too. You used to believe the same way. I used to believe the same way. I was just, well, you just gotta be patient with people, right?
And so here's Paul believing it's the right thing to do. It's the right thing to do. "Kill him. You're speaking against this person. Stone him to death. Do that". He was the leader. The chief Pharisee, right? And then, while he's on his way to persecute the church, no seminary school, no Bible study, nobody layin' hands on him, nothin', oh, my God, he's on his way. "Let's go persecute some more Christians". Jesus, oh, the glorious light must've came all over him. Fell off his horse, blinded him. And blinded him. Glory to God.
And he said, "Paul", or, at that time, before he was Paul, he said, "Saul, Saul, why persecuteth me"? And Saul said, this, Collipark, "I don't even know who you is". "Who is you"? He says, "I'm Jesus, whom you're persecutin'". He said, "I did nothin' to you". He said, "You did it to them. When you persecuted the church, you persecuted me". All right, watch this. I need to hurry up and get this boy mature. He's blind. The guy who Paul persecuted, the Holy Spirit shows up and says, "I want you to go and pray for Paul so I could use you to open his eyes". Now, I wonder how many of y'all would've said, "Oh, yes, amen, Lord". Some of y'all would've said, "You've got to be kiddin' me. Do you know what he did to me? Now, Jesus, I love you and everything, but not today. Today ain't the day".