humility

Keep Me Humble by Michael Nichols

Lately, I have a hard time waking up with my alarm. I ended up skipping my thyroid medication, making less-tasty coffee, and forgetting things on my way out the door--all of this simply to make it to work on time. It kills me that I do this to myself. I mean, this is insignificant stuff! Well, maybe except the meds part.

It's the little things that get under my skin when I'm dealing with myself. I tend not to sweat the bigger stuff because I tend to think I can handle it. "Think." I am mistaken. Little stuff piles up easily and becomes a big ordeal if left unchecked, ignored. In arrogance and ignorance, it's easy for me to say, "It's nothing. I can deal with it later." This, however, is not the case, and learning this fact can be humiliating to oneself.

In times like that, have you ever been guilty of using the statement, "I guess God is just keeping me humble"? Maybe it's not those words exactly, but do you know the attitude? Something happens in your life that doesn't go the way you planned it (meticulously or casually), and you become upset. That's not wrong, right? I'm sure most people mean well when they say that.

But really, isn't it generally with a hint of disdain? "God, why did you let this or that happen?" as though we know better than He. Isn't this an indication of hurt pride rather than humility? We reap the consequences of our actions.

It's supposedly a great "Christian" thing to pray for humility, right? In a sense, that acknowledges that, yes, I have pride, but it also presents us with a problem. What is it we think we have to be proud of?

We seek reasons to stand alone, be independent, and often times we do this in arrogance, without even realizing it. Do we not daily need the Lord? Is it not better to every moment pray that He be glorified, and pray this in honesty, rather than fall and be hurt along with our ego? God will take care of you! You don't have to go through life by your own strength. Though we must be responsible for ourselves, the Lord is our strength to be responsible.

It can be humiliating to fail, a crippling to the Achilles heel of our pride. It can even make a person hate himself. But that isn't what God wants for us. True humility is found somewhere between our arrogance and self-deprecation. Not everything is rosy, but not everything is bleak, either. You may live well one day yet be a complete mess the next. No, you are not bipolar, nor are you a failure. You are human. If God is who He says He is, He will do His part. Whether or not we humble ourselves and surrender to that, and follow Him, is completely up to us.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgJGyFR759Q

Rev(ital)ised: Adulthood by Michael Nichols

I was eighteen years old by the end of 2009. Everyone always makes a big deal about it. It's sort of a cultural thing, and who can blame a guy for being a little excited? You gain the right to vote, join the military, and do plenty of other things legally, some of which are wiser than others.

A few months in, I wasn't the most ecstatic person on the face of the planet, though. It seemed to me like just another number, but I was thinking about this number on much different terms. A lot of what I wished for has come true since then, to my gain and detriment. This is how I began my legal adulthood.

20 March 2010 at 2:34am -- from Facebook Notes, revised 24 February 2014

I'm eighteen years old. Milestone? I giggle at you. I have the ability to [legally] buy tobacco products, pornography, lottery tickets, and am deemed by the state/nation to be a "legal adult". How does this benefit me? If you have a theory, please enlighten me because I've got nothing. At sixteen, I gained the legal right to test for a driving instruction permit and the ability to consent to sex. At twelve, adolescence happens. Let's not go there, I think we all get it. And at random years in between we actually do this interesting thing called living our lives.

Day to day, whether we think it through at any degree or not, we make simple this-or-that decisions. Drive, or don't drive. Work, or don't work. Eat, or don't eat. Worship, or don't worship. Pray, or don't pray. Honor the Lord, or don't. Share, or don't. Get up, or don't. Love, or don't. Hope, or don't. Believe, or don't. Fear, or don't. Give, or don't. Take, or don't. I could ramble on about all the different this-or-that decisions that make up every single move we make as living souls, but I think you get the point by now.

I'm eighteen years old. What changed? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. "Legal" means nothing. Whether a government says, "We recognize you as an adult when you turn eighteen or twenty-one," does not make a difference. You choose the difference whether you're young or whether you have multiple college degrees. Is this too simple? Too easy to be true? No. As a matter of fact, simplicity is exactly what we need as human beings.

We're all just a bunch of over-sized, coffee-drinking, relationship-having, reproducing, job-doing, schedule-making children. Just because we paste on this facade of sophistication doesn't for a second mean that we're any better. Paul the apostle said, "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, acted like a child, thought as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things." He didn't hit a certain age and then magically become mature. He chose. He realized that he was a child and needed to grow up.

We believe what we believe because we were taught it. Our lives took the paths they did, and here we stand, believing what we do, be it true or false. We did not evolve into this voluntarily. We are not God. We do not have the power to breathe life into nothing. Show me someone who can besides the Lord Jesus Christ. Even from the beginning, we were taught by the Lord God Almighty in the truth, then we were deceived (taught a lie) by that old serpent called Satan (meaning: the adversary). Our sciences have been taught by the world around us when smarter men decided to listen to it.

No matter what, our existence has been nothing but a learning process... and this is where it gets ugly. When we think that we no longer need to be taught, that is when we are mere children. That is when we have failed. When we think that there is something about ourselves that is all we need, that is the exact moment we need to think again. If you jump in the deep end of your heart and swim around for a little while, you will realize this truth. You will know that there is this unquenchable thirst for something more than yourself, something solid, something that will last forever; but in this life only, we will not find such a love. "In Christ alone" will true hope be found, but I digress.

I know by personal experience that when you get that attitude of being the only one who matters, the only one of whole value, the only one who is worth fighting for, the only one without a flaw and with need of nothing... Well, let's just say that "pride goes before destruction." Eventually, life will teach you... [chuckles...] teach you that, even though you are of value, even though you do matter, and even though you do have something to offer, every single one of us having our own form of righteousness, we have nothing to offer before the Lord but "filthy rags."

But here is the thing: Jesus Christ said via His actions, "I love you. You have taken upon you dirty rags for clothing. You will be naked. But I have good clothing. Here. Take mine. From me, all who come shall be clothed." He traded His perfect life for every failure, every sin, every immaturity, every vulgarity, every curse of man behind the back of the blessings of God, every hate, every torture, and every unspeakable thing, all wrapped into one collective, united human slaughter, one ultimate sacrifice, the only one good enough.

I cannot do enough to repay Him, and that's not even the point of the cross because nobody can. But if we don't make a concerted effort in His name, then who are we, and what is the point? What love goes unreturned? What debt goes unpaid? Being a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, if I care that little to the end that I would blow off this gift, His will, everything He has given me... if I don't tell anyone, if I don't do everything within my power, including surrendering to His, how dare I stand before Him and say that I'm good enough, and I should get into Heaven, or even get a decent life on earth?

I've gone all the way around the block simply to say this one thing... Adulthood. It's not an age, a right, a license. It's a choice, a surrender, humility, letting our sins be crucified with Jesus, being open to being wrong. It's a gift, grace, mercy. It's in our hands.

This is adulthood. I want to grow up.