Faith on Steroids
“No matter what, I’m gonna get mine! You’ve gotta look out for number one.”
Every time I crossed paths with this fellow, I’d hear the same sort of statements. We’ll call him John. It seemed that John could never get ahead in any area of life. He struggled to make others notice him and became a tough guy and a bully. Needless to say he had few friends and the ones he called friends, were so out of fear that might do something to them if they weren’t. Heavily muscled and pompous, John became unscrupulous in his abuse of acquaintances, using them for his own selfish ends.
Bitterness and hatred for all who appeared successful in life consumed the man, finally landing him in the state penitentiary for the third time—the last time for many years. Drugs, petty theft and strong armed robbery marked John as a failure. Secular psychologists from the state of Indiana reported him to be genetically predisposed to violence, necessitating his segregation from the other prisoners.
I do not believe John’s problem to be genetic at all. It’s a spiritual malady, and one we are all susceptible to. It is placing ourselves at the center of our lives rather than God. Selfishness and self-centeredness are offshoots of pride.
"All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (1st Peter 5:5).
Is being humble really worth the risk? Shouldn't I look out for myself first? I mean after all, no one else is going to do it. You have to look out for number one, right?
We could put ourselves first in our attitude and actions, but the Bible warns against this way of life, citing severe negative repercussions.
One definition Webster's has for the word 'humble' is rather telling of the attitude we seek, which pleases God. It is the attitude we need if we are to reap the supernatural benefits of grace by coming in line with God's will for us.
Humble: Offered in a spirit of deference or submission, unpretentious, not costly or luxurious.
I like that word: deference. It means not arrogant, but able to 'defer' to another's point of view or well-being, or their provision. We put their interests before our own. In doing so, we gain God's favor.
When we put the Lord first and consider other people ahead of self, we actually move ourselves forward and upwards in position, in honor, and in prosperity. We don't have to elevate ourselves. That’s God's role, which He has ordained for Himself. The Lord is our provider of all things, including honor, respect and societal position. The bible says;
"Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God. That He may exalt you in due time." (1st Peter 5:6)
He will "lift us up" (NIV) in due time," or when the time is right. This is the precise opposite of the way of the world.
The following is a key verse that I find applies to nearly every spiritual principle governing our lives as Christians. Jesus said;
"Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you as well" (Mathew 6:33).
Not only do we receive the kingdom as joint heirs with Christ, but we also have everything we will ever need in this life provided for us by God. Success is found by properly positioning God as the head of, and the most important one in our life. I'm not saying simply to make God a big part of our lives—He IS our life! Jesus wants all or nothing. He does not want lukewarm Christians, only those willing to be fervently committed to Him, completely sold out for Jesus.
"And he said to them all, 'If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me" (Luke 9:23).
Relying upon God for "all things" is very liberating. It frees us to store up treasure in heaven that no one can take from us—not the tax man, a thief, or even marauding armies. Eternal treasure cannot rust, fade or perish.
It really all comes down to what we value the most. Do we seek only to live a life of temporal pleasures? When we value Christ more than anything else, we shall along with Him inherit all things. I want to have my mind and heart so cemented on Him that the things of this world appear as worthless and temporary as they truly are.
"Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father" (Colossians 3:1).
Living the spiritual law of love, known as the "Royal Law," we consider others better than ourselves, seeking their best interest: God first, others second, and then ourselves. Within that paradigm is the responsibility of caring for one's own household first. How is it possible to come out ahead by putting someone else’s best interest before our own? God does it for us!
Being in a powerful earthly position can be a dangerous position, for someone not trained in humility. Pride is a killer and a thief. It robs us of the greater and more eternal blessings God wants to bring to our lives. Furthermore, acting in humility credits our bank account above with rich deposits for eternity.
When we view a position as rank and authority, we sabotage ourselves. Yet by viewing position as responsibility, God is honored, and He in return honors us before others.
David writes in the 23rd Psalm: "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies."
Enemies are all those who oppose Christ, as well as those in opposition to our being in Christ. The very ones who ridicule us for whatever Christ-like humility we exhibit, and take advantage of our humility for their own self-promotion, are included with the "enemies" of which this Psalm speaks. God will reward His obedient children, by honoring them in full view of everyone. This begins today, and comes to a glorious plateau of climax after Christ's return. He shall give us an exalted position (honorable responsibility) for all eternity.
In today's world, stepping on someone else to get ahead appears to be widely accepted. But that is the opposite of the pattern of living that Christ has set for us. I like the New Living Translation of this next verse: "But many who are the greatest now, will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then." (Matthew 19:30)
Humility is a spiritual growth factor—faith on steroids—powerful stuff!
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