Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Good News in Humility

Thoughts like those from Monday's post used to frustrate the heck out of me and drive me to despair. A truer acknowledgement of my sin and the futility of my efforts made life seem vain. Humility can't always be the truth because there's no point in doing anything if I have no hope of ever doing it right. Moreover, I must question my value if I mess up even my efforts at service. Really, what good am I then? But a couple of truths emerge from humility that destroy the despair and have become some of the most beautiful truths in my life - giving my life purpose and worth.

1) I do not have to save the world.

And this is a good thing because I can't. Given the state of my heart Saturday night when I was "serving" and doing "good works," it's a good thing that the world's salvation isn't on me because we would be in a world of hurt.

A friend and I used to yell at each other, "You ain't the light!" (John 1:8 - "He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.") We had tendencies to whittle ourselves down to nothing, trying to be everything and doing everything for everyone. The truth is we can't and don't have to. That's God's job, and he does it quite well.

Regardless of how I sometimes think and act, only God can perfectly care for us as we need to be cared for. Humility forces me to this beautiful realization. What great freedom from anxiety, what great hope for the world then flows forth.

2) God allows me to be a part of his work in this world.

Few realities have so impacted my life as this one. As excited as I get about Julius Peppers messing up a right tackle or Steve Smith gliding into the end zone, nothing compares to the rush of seeing God doing work. And this joy can only exist if the work is God's and not mine.

There is no room for pride here - only humility, adventure, and awe. We can see some of this in White's words from yesterday. Accepting God's invitation to the Christ-life places us in that galactic struggle of good and evil, makes us warriors, and allows us to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. The last item in the list is crucial for this discussion. This isn't something of ourselves, and the something sure isn't ourselves. We are merely a humble part. And what a pure gift it is that we are called to come along for the ride, even with attitudes like the one that I had Saturday night.

Perhaps that was the saddest part of that whole ordeal. The Almighty and Sovereign God who created everything was serving his children and working for their good - and I missed it. Fortunately, these opportunities to be a part of God's work are constant, as God doesn't quit on me even when I choose to avoid an opportunity. What purpose and excitement this brings into my life, all because the good work is God's and not mine. Humility must be.

3) The God who does all of these good things that I cannot do calls me his child.

Nothing more can validate my existence or my worth. Regardless of my failures and my futility, God calls me his son with whom he is well-pleased, a son of God through faith in Christ Jesus, the beloved, all because of Jesus's work on the cross. I am not worthless because of my failures. On the contrary, God redeems them, releases me from them, calls me to be a part of his work, and desires me to pursue a loving relationship with him. My post on Monday seemed to be some of the worst news of my life. Yet, somehow God transformed that reality into the best news of my life - that I have purpose and value.


Brian Humphries said...

On the subject of number 3, we sang "I Am a Friend of God" at the Summit this Sunday. And despite the Phillis in me, it was surprisingly comforting.

Ben said...

How cool is it that Phillis has become more than a person but a concept? You know you've arrived when you transcend your existence. I was talking with someone this week about how Grady Little has been immortalized because he left Pedro in a batter too long in the 2003 playoffs. People can now "pull a Grady Little" by sticking with a good thing just long enough that it turns into disaster. Mr. Phillis has achieved similar status, although without Little's negativity.