October 31, 2015

Humility Fosters Peace & Unity

Posted in Humility, Love, Unity tagged , , , , , , , , , at 10:17 pm by tclickenger

I wrapped up my post on the Advantages of Humility by mentioning that there are two more fantastic benefits.  Also, in my post on The Dangers of Pride I identified through scripture that pride causes separation, strife, contention and division.  It only follows that humility would bring the opposite results but, so we can know for sure, God spells it out in His inspired word.  Those are the benefits you are reading about today.

I believe the best introduction to these benefits and my thoughts on them would be to share how I came to discover that humility fosters peace and unity and how this began my study on this highest of virtues.

If you have read the page titled About Koinonia here on this blog or if you know me personally, you know how passionate I feel about unity of the Christian faith.  In the middle of the year of 2010 I was feeling incredibly overwhelmed by how enormous the problem of division is within the body of Christ.  I was thinking, “How in the world would all of these divisions be once again united?  What is the key?  And how can one man do anything about it?”  While studying one night on unity I came across a quote from a book called Organic Leadership, by the author Neil Cole.  In it he wrote, “We strive to be unified, but this is the wrong pursuit.  We look for things we share in common.  We try to tolerate differences under the banner of unity.  When we try to be united, we are just made more aware of our differences.  But when we pursue humility – true humility – unity is the natural by-product.  We cannot get to unity by chasing after it.  The door that leads to unity is humility.”

At the time I thought this was a secular book on leadership and so I said to myself, “That sounds good, but is it biblical?”  I then began to search the Word for passages on humility and it’s antonym pride.  Wow!!  So much material!!  God blessed me so much.  I wouldn’t even be actively searching for insights on humility and they just kept coming my way wherever I turned.  One example is, I don’t usually listen to sermons on the radio but during that time I did a few times and whenever I did, there happened to be a message about humility, pride or on one of the specific manifestation of humility or pride.

Now the quote from Organic Leadership say, “The door that leads to unity is humility.” but during this time I remembered it as saying, “The gate by which we enter into unity is humility.”  I think this was a divinely inspired misremembering (is that a word?).  There is not a whole lot of difference between these two sayings but I think you will understand the significance of slight variation as I explain what happened later.

It was roughly 4 years later when I came across scripture that piqued my attention.  It was

Psalm 118:19-20, “Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go through them, and I will praise the LORD.  This is the gate to the LORD, Through which the righteous shall enter.”

When I read this I just knew it was the confirmation I was looking for.  I was like, “Yes!  Yes!  This is it!!  What is it?  Tell me, please!”  Then the next verse reads,

Psalm 118:21, “I will praise You, for You have answered me, and have become my salvation.”

What?!?  What is this gate you talked about, David?  I don’t get it.  How is an answer a gate?

Thankfully I had been studying the Hebrew language for a while so I decided to look at the original language to see what was being said exactly.  What I found was that the word for “answer” in Hebrew is “anah” and while this word does occasionally mean answered, it most often means humbled.  Now that makes sense.

This is the gate to the LORD (oneness), Through which the righteous shall enter.  I will praise You, for You have humbled me, and have become my salvation (Yeshuah).

David is thanking God that He has made David small enough to now fit through that gate.  I don’t know about you, but that is just beautiful to me.

Well, this post seems to be running long.  There is still so much to share about the relationship between humility, peace and unity, and I really want to get this part published right away,  so I’m going to make this a part 1 and continue this with a follow-up post (or two).

 

Lord God, Father of my soul, thank You for revealing the way to oneness with You.  Both in the words inspired to our spiritual ancestor David and the living example of Your Beloved Son.  I pray for all my brothers and sister who haven’t turned over their prideful soul and self to death and resurrect in the Spirit, in the humility, power and love of Christ Jesus.  Please help their blindness.  Help them to recognize their need for smallness, not greatness, that permits us to enter into Your fellowship.  Give us assistance to become empty of self that we may become what you created us to be, in your image and likeness.  That we may be love as you are love.  I pray we become the kind of people that when you look upon us you say, “Levi” (levee) My heart.

Amen

Additional posts in this series: In the wake of humility…The Dangers of PrideIt’s Time to Hurt Your Pride, …but there are times when pride is a good thing and Advantages of Humility.

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January 3, 2015

Advantages of Humility

Posted in Humility tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:46 pm by tclickenger

So, this is post #4 in a series dealing with pride and humility.  So far I have share four benefits of humility, listed the major dangers of pride and looked at the favorable sense of pride.  In that first post I casually mentioned that along with the four benefits listed there are many more.  Today I want to share a few of these additional advantages that God has made inherent in humility.

  • God hears and responds to the humble.

Daniel 10:12, “Then he (the angel) said to me, ‘Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your mind and heart to understand and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come as a result of your words.'”

  • Humility gets God’s attention.

2 Chronicles 16:9 ISV, “The LORD’s eyes keep on roaming throughout the earth, looking for those whose hearts completely belong to him, so that he may strongly support them.”

Isaiah 66:2, “…But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word.”

  • Humility brings honor

The word for honor in the Hebrew language also means respect, dignity, greatness, weight, purpose and glory.  All of these words are represented in the word honor and all are achieved through humility.  I want you to keep this in mind and exchange the words as you read these scriptures.

Proverbs 29:23, “A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.”

Proverbs 22:4, “In the wake of humility comes the fear of the Lord, even riches, and honor, and life.”

  • God saves the humble

Psalm 18:27, “For you will save the humble people, but bring down haughty looks.”

2 Samuel 22:28, “You will save the humble people; but Your eyes are on the haughty, that You may bring them down.”

  • Humility is essential (prerequisite) for wisdom

Proverbs 11:2, “When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom.”

Proverbs 22:4, “In the wake of humility comes the fear of the Lord…”  Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

  • God’s presence dwells with the humble

Isaiah 57:15, “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy, ‘I dwell in the high and Holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.'”

Psalm 34:18 NIV, “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

  • Humility brings joy

Isaiah 29:19 NKJV, “And those who suffered (Hebrew word anahvim – the humbled ones) shall increase their joy in the LORD, and the impoverished people shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.”

  • Humility brings discernment

Psalm 25:9, “He guides the humble in judgement (discernment), and He teaches the humble His way.”

Psalm 25:14, “The secret counsel of God is with those that fear Him; it is His covenant to let them recognize it.”

There are two more bonuses of humility that I will be presenting.  In my view, they are of the highest degree and quality.  They are both the gift and goal of our faith.  They are also more difficult to describe than all the others together so I will make a post dedicated to them alone.  Check back to find out what they are.

As we begin this new year I pray that each of you meditate on the rewards that come with humility and that you work to rid yourself of pride and emphasize the humble nature of Christ that has been born into you.  You will be amazed at the changes all around you as you do.

Amen and God bless you.

Tim Clickenger 

Additional posts in this series: In the wake of humility…The Dangers of PrideIt’s Time to Hurt Your Pride, …but there are times when pride is a good thing and the follow up post to this one, Humility Fosters Peace and Unity.

December 18, 2014

It’s Time to Hurt Your Pride

Posted in Humility tagged , , , , , , , at 7:01 pm by tclickenger

With humility on my mind lately, I stumbled on this great composition on pride.  The author makes some great points.  The write-up I did on the dangers of pride and this one complement each other really well.  I hope you consider reading this and further consider examining your heart.

It’s Time to Hurt Your Pride.

December 14, 2014

The Dangers of Pride

Posted in Humility, Unity tagged , , , , , , at 5:08 pm by tclickenger

In my last post I mentioned four advantages gained through a humble character.  In a near future post I intend to show through scripture the many other benefits this virtue brings.  Today, though, I want to assess the consequences that are brought into our life through living out of a proud heart.  I am only going to list and briefly describe the problems associated with pride for now.  Each problem will be explored in more depth later in this series.

I mentioned how we assume that we already know what humility is and that we (additionally assume) are already a humble person.  That leads me into the first problem associated with pride.

  • Pride is deceptive.  This can also be expressed as blindness, darkness, unable to see or lack of wisdom, knowledge and understanding.

Galatians 6:3 NKJV, “If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he is deceiving his own mind.”

Jeremiah 13:15-16, “Hear and give ear; Do not be proud, for the Lord has spoken.  Give glory to the Lord your God before He causes darkness, and before your feet stumble on the dark mountains, and while you are looking for light, He turns it into the shadow of death and makes it dense darkness.”

Jeremiah 49:16, “‘As for the terror of you, the pride of your heart has deceived you, O you who live in the clefts of the rock, Who occupy the height of the hill.  Though you make your nest as high as an eagle’s, I will bring you down from there.’ says the Lord.”

Proverbs 4:18-19 NKJV, “But the path of the just is like the shining sun, that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.  The way of the wicked is like darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.”

  • Pride is destructive.  This is probably the most mentioned consequence of pride throughout the scriptures.  Because this principle is true, firm, unyielding, a law of reality, it is in opposition against anyone who ignores it whether intentional or unintentional. By its very nature, this principle worked against either Israel or their enemies, God’s people or the enemies of God’s people.

Proverbs 16:18 NKJV, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

  • Pride is foolishness

Proverbs 14:3 NKJV, “In the mouth of a fool is a rod of pride, but the lips of the wise will preserve them.”

  • Pride precedes captivity

Jeremiah 13:17 NKJV (God speaking through the prophet Jeremiah), “But if you will not hear it, My soul will weep in secret for your pride; My eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears, Because the Lord’s flock has been taken captive.”

  • God opposes the proud.  This is quoted verbatim in three different places in our bible and is alluded to in at least 24 other passages.  If you don’t wish to lock horns with the Lord, be a competitor with the Lord or be His adversary then it is sage advice to make yourself humble.

Proverbs 3:34 NKJV, “Surely He scorns the scornful, but gives grace to the humble.”

James 4:6 NKJV (quoting Prov. 3:34), “But He gives more grace.  Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.'”

1 Peter 5:5 GNT (Quoting Prov. 3:34), “In the same way you younger people must submit yourself to your elders.  And all of you must put on the apron of humility, to serve one another; for the scripture says, ‘God resists the proud, but shows favor to the humble.'”

  • Pride separates.

Psalms 138:6 NASB, “For though the Lord is exalted, yet He regards the lowly, But the haughty He knows from afar.”

  • Pride causes strife and contention.

Not only does pride cause separation between God and the prideful individual, it causes separation between other individuals.

Proverbs 13:10 ERV, “By pride cometh only contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.”

Proverbs 30:32-33 ESV, “If you have been foolish, exalting yourselfor if you have been devising evil, put your hand on your mouth.  For pressing milk produces curds, pressing the nose produces blood, and pressing anger produces strife.”

  • Pride causes shame (disgrace, embarrassment, insecurity)

Proverbs 11:2 WEB, “When pride comes, then comes shame, but with humility comes wisdom.”

  • A proud, haughty man is revolting to God

Proverbs 16:5 NIV, “The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.”

Pride should be avoided as diligently as humility should be pursued.  I’m hoping I can present the contrast between pride and humility so well that it compels you to desire humility.  I hope it causes you to desire it so strongly you are willing to endure anything God needs to do to make it apart of your very being.  Do you have any stories to tell that are a good example of any of these principles?  How about times in your own life where you once were proud but found a better life in the brokenness?  Please share your stories and any other comments or insight that you may have.

I pray God blesses you generously, giving you grace as you generously give others grace.  I pray for your heart.  That all traces of pride might be removed from it along with all the harm that it brings.  In the name of Jesus, our most perfect example of humility and selfless love I pray.  Amen

Additional posts in this series: In the wake of humilityIt’s Time to Hurt Your Pride, …but there are times when pride is a good thing, Advantages Of Humility and Humility Fosters Peace & Unity.

December 4, 2014

In the wake of humility…

Posted in Humility, Unity tagged , , , , , , , at 7:27 pm by tclickenger

I love this phrasing of Proverbs 22:4

“In the wake of humility comes the fear of the Lord, even riches, and honor, and life.”

Humility is such an extraordinary quality. The Word tells us of many wonderful things that come to us as a result of humility. This verse alone tells us of four: fear of the Lord, riches, honor and life; and other scriptures reveal that there are so many more benefits.  On top of that, through practicing humility we avoid all the negative consequences of a prideful life.  Here’s the rub though, we assume that we already know what humility is and that we are already a humble person (or am I the only one who has done that). That is presumption and the ironic thing is that presumption is a symptom of pride in our life.  Humility is by far the most misunderstood and easily compromised virtues a human being can long for.

I’m sure you already know this but the fact is that we don’t have divine thinking. God even reminds us of this when He says through His prophet Isaiah (55:8-9), “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” So maybe our thoughts, insights and perceptions of humility are not quite right compared to the Source of humility.

The only way I know of that brings my understanding in alignment with God’s understanding is through study, prayer, meditation (a.k.a. thinking, thinking, thinking, thinking) and just a seed investment of humility, acknowledging that we don’t have it figured out and would like to be led to a true, deep, connected understanding.

So, in the next few posts I’m going to share some insights I’ve come to through the previously mentioned process; study, meditation, prayer, observations, introspection, reflection and life experiences that bring brokenness. Of course, I still I have a lot to learn, so I would love to hear your insights. Please comment, good or bad, in agreement or disagreement.

God, my father and my king, I pray for you to continue to bring humility and it’s many spiritual blessings into my life. I also pray for the ones who respond to this message in their heart. Hold their hand through the pains as humility is birthed into their being. I pray for their humility because I love them and wish to see honor in the completion of their life. I pray these things in the name of Your first born, the One who is humble and exalted, the name of Jesus, Yeshua, Savior. Amen

Additional posts in this series: The Dangers of PrideIt’s Time to Hurt Your Pride, …but there are times when pride is a good thing, Advantages Of Humility.