I was struck by this image that was shared on my Twitter feed:
It is the Door of Humility in the Basilica of the Nativity. It is only 4 feet high and 2 feet wide. As people enter they have to bow. What a powerful reminder of coming to the Lord in humility.
“If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
6 He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. (Luke 17:3-6, NIV)
My reading has me in Micah for a few days and as I read it I get this picture of Israel that the prophets portray over and over. Israel is “weary” of serving God. They have some sense of obligation, but they are in love with the gods of the age and want to pursue other lovers. Yet, they know Yahweh is there and they need to “appease” him. The question becomes: “Okay, God, what do you want? What’s it going to cost me this time?”
“Humility is the virtue of which I am most proud.”
I hate it when my humble service goes unnoticed. (Really hurts my reputation as a “servant leader.”)
There are true tests the Lord brings into our lives, in all seriousness. What we are not currently interested in (and me among that number) is the work of true humility. Not in a era where “servant leadership” is something celebrated in front of huge crowds.
But, in the meantime, I work to find humor as I strive to find “humble service.” 🙂
In our American culture, the church should be leading a new way forward. This passage helps me focus on the way in which to lead:
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Col. 3:12-14, NIV)
A man given to arguing becomes for himself a double-edged sword; he destroys his soul, without knowing it, and renders it alien to eternal life. Read more
What we find in Christ we don’t find consistently in this world. Jesus’ opening words in the Sermon on the Mount run counter to what we often see played out in the world. Read more
For this is what the high and exalted One says—
he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
“I live in a high and holy place,
but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite. (Isa. 57:15, NIV)
We are to build up the road so people see the beauty of the Savior (v. 14). Yet, that beauty has a cost. We don’t put that cost on people. Yet, when we see the incredible power, majesty, and beauty of the Savior, there is a realization we don’t belong there.
In Isaiah 6, there is the response from Isaiah when he finds himself in the presence of God: “Woe is me!”
God dwells with those who are contrite (crushed and in the dust) and the lowly in spirit. As powerful as God is, he comes to pick us up.
But we need a powerful realization in our own lives: we don’t stand proudly before the omnipotent God of the universe. We don’t stand defiantly.
When we come before the majesty and power of God, we realize we’re in front of Someone who can indeed crush us with his voice but chooses not to. That should lead us to fall in our spirits, humble ourselves, and cry out, “Woe is me.”
There is a “crushing” quality to the beauty of our Savior. But in that crushing, we find the Savior comes to us.
We don’t come on our own terms. We don’t negotiate our salvation. But we find out his kindness leads us to repentance.
Our Lord is indeed beautiful, but it will crush us first.