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humility.

September 20, 2009

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It never gets old saying this, but today was… just… well, awesome.  If you missed us today, you missed “Pastor Ely” from Guatemala filling us in on what The Bridge’s funding and work has meant to God’s Kingdom in Guatemala (they just finished a church building we paid for completely and Pastor Ely oversees more than 40 churches that have been planted in the area).

Today’s sermon from Philippians 2:1-11 was on humility and I left over half of the things that came from my meditation and study this week out of the sermon.  Here are a lot of thoughts about humility…

– I’m begging you to buy CJ Mahaney’s book “Humility”.  It’s $10, has chapters short enough to be used as devotionals for any age and is simply a spiritual gold mine. Buy it here. I couldn’t put it down this week and read it twice.

– At least 4 people asked for copies of the pride self-assessment questions I quoted.  Here they are.

Christian arrogance.  It’s really common for Christians to think that it’s somehow “Christian” to demean people who are opposed to what we see as Christian values.  I’m thinking about things like political emails and videos that make Democrats (or Republicans) out to be morons, church signs that make fun of atheists, and demeaning talk about homosexuals. That isn’t humility.  That’s arrogance. As humble Christians we should be seeking to listen to, understand, and THEN respectfully engage the issue Biblically in order to serve people who are slaves to sin.  These things and the enjoyment of belittling people who disagree with us are also symptoms of pride.

– What is humility? Humility is often wrongly thought of as “Thinking lower of yourself” or “not thinking of yourself”, but neither of those are what The Bible means when it talks about “humility”.  Humility is honestly assessing yourself in light of God’s holiness and your sinfulness.

Self-esteem vs. Grace-esteem.  In our culture we don’t use the word “pride”, we use the phrase “self-esteem”, but they mean the same thing.  Two secular psychologists I googled defined self-esteem as “regarding oneself as significant, good, and worthy” and “the feeling of ‘I am good'”.  Both of those definitions are in direct contradiction of the gospel, the message of the cross, and humility.  Self-esteem is confidence based on you.  Christians should seek to have “Grace-esteem”, confidence based on what God has done for them and worked in them.  Self-esteem will foster either arrogance or insecurity.  The gospel will foster humble confidence because we know that while we are not good or worthy, God is still “for us” because of Jesus.

3 practices to weaken pride and foster humility: Start your day with moments in which you confess your insufficiency to God and ask for his help.  Spend your day carving out quiet moments to reflect on the cross. End your day reflecting on all the gifts you were given (air, food, family, a job, Scripture) that you didn’t deserve.

– John Stott quote that was money: “At every stage of our Christian development and in every sphere of our Christian discipleship, pride is the greatest enemy and humility our greatest friend.”

God has seemed to have been speaking to so many people around me about humility lately.  What are you learning here?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 20, 2009 9:38 pm

    Hey Pastor,
    You spoke a really powerful, pointed Word today. I can’t wait to get the rest of the info from your blog. It’s always great to worship with you guys at The Bridge.
    Donna and I went over to the new church building. How great is that going to be!
    Lord bless you and protect you Josh.

  2. September 21, 2009 6:48 am

    First off… Love the new blog look!

    A question, a sincere question… When it comes to political issues, is it alright to discuss the issue without attacking the person representing the issue?

    So many issues today are tied to an individual or a political party that the idea of remaining silent becomes very complex. And if all Christians remain silent because we are concerned even discussing the issue (even if the name of the person who represents that issue is never mentioned but is known by all in the conversation) is going to seem attacking, our country may continue to move further and further away from Judeo-Christian (which are biblical) values.

    If the church is to be a conscience for the community, can she remain silent and still be the voice she needs to be?

  3. josh permalink
    September 21, 2009 9:46 am

    Rick (that’s “Dad” to me) – Definitely. We’re called to engage the issues Biblically “with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15 and others). Humility also calls us to be quicker to listen than to speak. What I see happen most of the time though is that the PEOPLE that hold to an unbiblical viewpoint get mocked or demeaned between Christians because they disagree with a Biblical viewpoint instead of the ISSUE getting respectfully discussed. These people rarely get genuinely listened to by Christians who are trying to understand them in order to respectfully and gently engage them where they are in an issue and instead are dismissed by the Christian community.

    But definitely we’re called to engage issues Biblically.

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