Monday, June 16, 2008

Humility vs. haughty religiosity...

“Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real” -- Thomas Merton

Jesus’ coming to earth is so familiar to us that we take it for granted. He inhabited eternal glory; He left heaven and chose to live in a toxic environment cursed with envy, evil and confusion; He willingly put aside His almighty brute strength in order to teach man an unforgettable lesson about humility.Imagine for one moment that you were God’s Only Son? How would you have chosen to reveal yourself?

I personally would have preferred to appear to men in superman fashion; the super hero with extraordinary powers, conquering the enemy in dramatic-showdown fashion! God could have demonstrated His tremendous power over the disobedient. He could have performed miracles on demand. He could have silenced everyone, and yet the Father decided to send Jesus, the Servant.Man is prone to pride and this doesn’t limit itself to material prosperity as we often assume. John Owen was aware of this when he wrote, “Self-confidence produces a large part of our weakness as it did with Peter. Whoever boasts that he can do anything, can in fact do nothing as he should. This is the worst form of weakness, similar to treachery. However strong a castle may be, if a treacherous party resides inside (ready to betray at the first opportunity possible), the castle cannot be safe from the enemy. Traitors occupy our own hearts, ready to side with every temptation and surrender to all.”

God knew man’s tendency toward pride when He sent the Son. He understood the lust we have for the praise of men and how even good things can feed that lust. Spiritual benefits were designed to equip us as servants, not to make us arrogant and self-complacent. Jesus resisted self-glory even though He had the right to it. Although Christ received the loftiest position possible, He never promoted self-importance. He had no need to prove He was the strongest, the wisest or the best. Therefore, let’s remember that humility is the lubricant that gives spirituality its radiance, unity and flow.

-- Refle © 2008

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