Monday, June 18, 2007

Joy of Humility

We are invited into the presence of the Almighty God. Will we come? And when we come, do we come with the eager expectation of undeserving humility? Or with the lackluster futility of merited pride?

You see, the Lord’s blessed ones, those whom He initially chose, rejected His favor and incurred His wrath. But those who were wicked in every way, turned to God when His kindness shown upon them. They knew that they did nothing to earn His favor and yet there it was anyway. All of their actions had called out for His wrath but He brought them grace in Jesus Christ. How could such men, women and children do anything but take heart, rejoice and come?

But the firstborn sons were jealous of their younger brothers. The invited guests were envious of those extras that filled the wedding seats. That was back then and we were the younger brother, the uninvited guests, but now we have become the sons of privilege. We might tend to think highly of ourselves. We say, "Well, they were broken off that we might be grafted in." We have become the children of the Most High God. The promises are to us and to our children. Perhaps now, WE merit the favor of God. Perhaps it is WE that will get the blessings of God, even if we no longer do the deeds that we did at the beginning, even if we scoff at God’s blessing the lame and the poor and the blind.

If we think this way, we have already fallen into a great trap. We think that because God has been kind to us, that we are no longer in need of His grace. We are standing on our own cleaned up souls. We are the righteous and deserve the favor of God. But that is not the case. The only reason that you can come to Him is because of His favor to You.

So, we walk carefully. We really are cleaned up, at least to look at from the outside. We learn to live like Christians as God is making us new in Christ. But we do all of this in His grace, by His Spirit. All the good that we have is from God and we simply deceive ourselves if we think that we somehow manufacture or even maintain goodness of ourselves.

We need to remember that our family tree is not one of pedigree. We come from the family of Adam, a fleshy, fallen man. But we also remember that Jesus calls out to us to come to Him. So, we come, happily as children who do not deserve the favor of their father but are granted it anyway. Even when we are basking in the glory, praise and honor from our Father in Heaven and receiving the manifold benefits that He grants us, it is still and always by grace through faith, lest any man should boast. This is simply coming to God in humility which generates thanksgiving, peace and joy.

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