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.

January 9, 2010

Is Christ Divided?

Posted in Unity tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:59 am by tclickenger

My first blog post ever.  What is Koinonia about?  The short version of what it’s about is Christian unity.

One of my brothers in faith recently posted on his FB wall, “One Mind One Body One Purpose thousands of Denominations? Go Figure!”

I don’t know what he meant by “Go figure!” but I believe this multitude of division is a terribly serious condition that warrants strong consideration.  Does The Word of God, the final authority in all truth, have anything to say about why we would have this sort of condition in the church?

The Apostle Paul had something to say about this in 1 Cor. 1:11 For it has been declared to me concerning you, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household, that there are contentions (disputes) among you. 12 Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.” (divisions, denominations)

Does this sound familiar? “I am a _______” you insert the denomination title. The term “denomination” has its roots in mathematics. It is a division of a number. You are probably most familiar with it from working with fractions, where we have a numerator and a denominator.

13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

Continuing in this thought, Paul begins to compare the wisdom that starts and continues these divisions with the wisdom of God.

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” 20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

James had some writing that was very similar to Paul’s on this topic.

James 3:13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, (Would you consider these attitudes that would cause disputes and divisions?) do not boast and lie against the truth.

Is this such a serious condition that we need to concern ourself about it?

15 This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.

Sounds pretty serious to me. In fact it is so important that Jesus said that being ONE is the one and only way that the world will know that we believe in the word of Jesus!! Paul even wrote in the book of Ephesians that being ONE was the ultimate end purpose of God in creating all things (Eph. 1:9-10). Wow! You can’t get much more serious or important than that.

Notice again, James compares the wisdom that is behind these attitudes with the wisdom of God.  He even goes on to say that this is evil and demonic.  So what is the remedy? In all the many voices claiming to have a lock on the truth, how do we recognize God’s wisdom?

17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

I pray that any pride I have in myself is destroyed and never sets my thinking up against the revelation of God and His truth.  Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the Sons of God.