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Copyright for the journal © 2005
M. S. Thirumalai
ACCEPT YOUR PLACE IN GOD'S PLAN
Harold J. Brokke
WHEN ARE WE REALLY HUMBLE?
We need to have a true idea of what we mean by humility. When are we humble? Some seem to think that the world, "humble" is a word that can be applied to a person who is bashful or shy. Such an idea is far form true. A bashful person, may, in fact be proud and self-centered. Others may think that someone who is humble is a kind of self-depreciating, mean-fearing person, a person too vacillating to take any real responsibility, or one who ends up with a job that no one wants. This also is an unsound appraisal. Who then is a humble person? He is a person, who, under God or man, takes the place that has been assigned to him. His place or office may be president of the United States, or may be the janitor in the country church. In any case, such a person accepts his present status. He is not bashful. He is not afraid of life's demands. He is God's man in God's place.
BEING PROUD - WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN?
Now, what do we mean when we say someone is proud? Do we mean he is reliable and self-confident? I think all of us know that a proud person is not always reliable and may not be self-confident. A proud person may lack poise and self-control. Often he is uneasy when another competent person intrudes into his "pattern" of life. He may be vulnerable to jealousy and depression when things don't go his way. Why does he have these feelings and hang-ups?
Because a proud person is one who, regardless of God and man, claims for himself a place of honor or prestige. Such a person is not content with the position or security he has gotten for himself. He is not really satisfied. He is touchy and sensitive. He is his own man, who, since he has promoted his own honor, also has to protect it by himself.
DISPOSITION OF SATAN
This disposition to take the place of honor is the disposition that Satan introduced into the world. Satan was first of all, an angel God created, He was filled with beauty and intelligence. His original name was "Lucifer" or "light-bearer." We read about his defection in Isaiah 14:13-14. In this passage, Satan says, "I will…"five times.
"I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds: I will be like the Most High."
Satan wanted the worship God deserves, the throne God occupies, and the creation God made. The spirit of satan is the very opposite to the Spirit of Christ. This spirit of satan is the antichrist spirit. At three different times in Jesus' ministry, He warned men about this self-exalting attitude when He said, "He that exalts himself shall be abased, and he that humbles himself shall be exalted."
SENSING REST AND SECURITY
When we occupy a position with humility and faithfulness, we sense rest and security. If we push ourselves into the limelight, we will feel uneasy and insecure. It is very important that we so not promote ourselves into a position which we cannot live up to.
A proud, self-promoting spirit breaks down a man's defenses against the devil's activity. If we push and connive to gain personal advantage, position or honor, we are doing what the devil did when he became the devil. Pride gets a man into a state so that he has something in common with the devil. He's on the same radio frequency. The Bible says, "Leave no loophole for the devil." (Eph. 4:27, NEB)
THE WARNING FROM THE SCRIPTURES
There are several scriptures that warn about this danger:
- The Lord gives no assurance of His presence if we become proud. "God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble." (James 4:6)
- The Lord identifies Himself with humble contrition, not with pride. "The Lord is near to those that are of a broken heart." (Ps. 34:18)
- Humility, not pride, is the heart's passport into the holy chambers of God's throne. God says through Isaiah, "I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit." (Isa. 57:15)
- Also when Jesus predicted His rejection and death at Jerusalem, Peter rebuked the Lord and said, "Heaven save you, Lord, this shall not be your fate." Peter was traveling the wrong way on a one=way street. Jesus was on His way to give His life on the cross- but Peter was on a self-saving trip. Jesus identified Peter-s thinking with human pride and Satan. He said to Peter, "Get behind Me satan you are a snare in my path.
- Paul warned Timothy about pride in Christian service. He said a young Christian should not shoulder a lot of responsibility unless he has been proved first. He should not be a beginner in the faith "unless being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil." Another rendering is "and he (the novice) should come under the same condemnation as the devil."
AFFINITY BETWEEN PRIDE AND SATAN
This affinity between pride and satan alerts us to that fact that we had better leave this business of honor and position in the hands of God. A humble person has the assurance of God's fellowship and protection and security.
THE INCONVENIENCE AND DIFFICULTIES
I remember when I was in the Edison High School orchestra. I was one of fifteen violinists in the string section. I occupied the twelfth seat, but I had ambitions to have a better seat. In the Edison orchestra, we had two kinds of violin trials in order to get a higher or lower seat. One was called a "practice trial." The practice trial meant that we could prepare for the time when we could play for the conductor. When I knew one such practice was scheduled I really practiced. The day came when I performed and the conductor was mildly impressed. I was proud to attain the seventh seat, a bit nearer the conductor's baton. I felt exalted- a real achiever! As time went on I began to feel uncomfortable. The conductor was close enough to hear my flubs. I think he soon knew that I was a twelfth seat player sitting in a seventh seat. The day came when we had surprise trials. I had to play the sheet music in front of me without a chance to practice. My performance was not impressive. The inevitable happened- I was demoted to the fourteenth seat- next to the last seat.
THE SECRET OF GETTING FORGIVENESS
One thing that I discovered in the fourteenth seat is that I was personally relieved and at ease. I was glad to be there, I didn't have to be something I wasn't. Since this time, I have learned that to take our God-given position in life has much to do with mental rest. It is not worth it to try to occupy some place of honor when we lack the experience and the ability that goes with the position. Really this is the very issue of Jesus' words, "Learn of me for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Peter said the same thing, "God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble." This secret is open to all who will humble themselves. It is the secret of getting forgiveness, rest, victory, and power in and from the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a strong defense against the attacks and temptations of Satan and evil Spirits. It is the secret of Christian living!
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Harold J. Brokke
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