It doesn't matter who we are or where we are God has a way of bringing humility to a people who like to boast and be proud. We find ourselves boasting about the things we are doing. Ever receive a Christmas card that instead of just saying Merry Christmas, it is a well written story of how well that family is doing? As you read that card how do you feel? You see just how well this family is doing, and you begin to look at yourself. More than likely, we feel let down, as though this family is greater than we are. We love for others to know just how well we are doing. We love to boast. Just as in that Christmas card, where are the well wishes, the prayers for the family receiving it? After reading it, you feel as though you were not even thought about, but were reading a script for the perfect family, and you are not going to get the part.
While out to dinner with son a few weeks ago, we were sitting next to a family, a large family. They were very loud and boisterous. They were speaking of how much money they make, the new things were getting, and how life was so grand for them. We found ourselves just looking at one another as my son says, "Well, they are very proud of their achievements aren't they?"
What they may not realize is, life is not about what we have. It's not about how much money we make, or all the things we have. It is about God, and our life with Him. Next, we could put in line our family, our friends, but the most important thing in life is our relationship with Christ. If we don't have that all those things, all that boasting is not going to bring pure joy. Sure, it might bring happiness for a while, but it will not be lasting. Why do think we are always trying so hard to make more money? Well, the more money, the more things. The more things, the less we really have to look at ourselves. If we are surrounded by so much stuff, we don't have to pay attention to who we are inside, because the stuff covers up all those feelings, all that hurt bottled up inside, and can ignore it as long as there is stuff to surround us. But what happens when that stuff is gone? What happens when that job you have is lost? All those credit cards are maxed out, and you are no longer shopping? The boat has to go, the extra car must be sold, and that house in the country, well, it too must be sold now to live.
I think that is our problem in America. We all try to live above our means, because that is how we define success. We define it by the job we have, our income, and all the stuff we have accumulated by our greatness and hard work. In that type of success there is much pride. And when we live with Christ there is no room for pride, only humility. Christ did not boast in Himself. He spoke of His heavenly Father. He knew who He was through Him. What is it that we boast in? There is nothing pretty about pride in any fashion, and God always has a way of opening our eyes to what is real, even if He must remove all around us for us to see Him clearly.
James 3:13 "If you are wise and understand God's ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom."
Ephesians 4:2 "Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love."
Romans 12:16 "Live in harmony with each other. Don't be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don't think you know it all."
Proverbs 15:33 "Fear of the Lord teaches wisdom; humility precedes honor."
Proverbs 22:4 "True humility and fear of the Lord lead to riches, honor, and long life."
Humility is reaching out to those who are different than us and accepting them for who they are. When we are patient with others, making room for their faults we too understand our own. Just about the time we think we have it all, God has a way of showing us just how little we really do have without Him as the focus of our lives. When we are truly humble we accept others, we love others, and we are generous. We don't boast in ourselves and the things we do. We realize without Christ we are nothing and all those things have nothing to do with who we really are. Being humble is not being afraid to show who you are inside. Too many times we walk with arrogance. We walk with pride to show others how powerful and important we are. Christ Himself did not walk like that. In fact when Christ was praying to God to allow the cup to pass over Him, God heard Him, but knew what was best. He knew He could move through Christ at His weakest moment. Matthew 26:39 "He went on a little further and bowed with His face to the ground, praying, My Father, IF it is possible, let this cup pass of suffering be taken away from Me. Yet I want Your will to be done, not mine." In Matthew 26:44 "So He went a third time, saying the same things again." Christ prayed three times for this cup to be removed. As we move over to 2 Corinthians we see Paul and the thorn in his side. In verse 8-10 "Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time He said, My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That's why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then He is strong."
Christ doesn't need us to boast in ourselves. We are to boast in Him. He is the spotlight of our lives. All we have is because of Him. Without Him we do not even have a breath. He is everything and when we find ourselves in Him, we truly find our purpose in life. When we are humble before men, men see Christ at work. When we are boasting in all we do and have, well, Christ is then hidden from view from us standing tall before our kingdom.
When we are wise we are humble. Through humility comes honor. And that honor is always reflected back to Christ, who has given all.
As we speak today may we not boast about all we have and do. But may we speak the life of Christ through our lives so that all might see Him. Giving praise and glory for all He is and does in our lives. That is who we are to be.