A few blogs ago, I told you about how argumentative I used to be (“A Change in Focus“). Well, even though God is slowly mixing humility into my character ingredients list, I still have moments where the old self “shines” through.
One of those moments happened literally an hour ago. I was talking to a friend about Bible translations, and she made a comment that I didn’t agree with. I said very bluntly, “Umm … that’s not true.” To which she replied, “Yes, it is. I just saw it in my Bible.” I huffed at her answer and said, “Well, you’re just going to have to show me and prove it.”
What she said after that still rings in my mind (I know, it’s only been an hour, but I’m pretty sure that it will keep on resonating in my head for a long while). She said, “You love to be right, don’t you?”
She was right. At that moment I felt the Holy Spirit doing a little dance while pulling off a little chant/song with the word C-O-N-V-I-C-T-I-O-N!
I know I don’t have everything all figured out. There is still more for me to learn, still more areas of my life that need changing. I am still far from being the completed good work that Christ is accomplishing in me.
But even though I know I don’t have it all together, I sometimes live like I do. I find myself letting my pride keep me from accepting truth and growth.
When my friend called me out on needing to be right, I had two choices. The better option would have been to take the instruction and learn from it. I should have said, “You’re right. That’s something that really needs to be changed in me.” That would have shown the humble and teachable spirit that Christ has called me to have.
But, no, I had to make some stupid excuse. I don’t even remember which one I used this time.
Why do I do that?
Man, I need a big dose of humility to shut my mouth.
If I want an example of humility, it would definitely be Christ. Paul talks about this in Philippians 2. He says that if we want to live a life of love, then we must imitate Christ. Imitate what, exactly? Well, the characteristic that Paul stresses above everything else is the humility that Christ has.
Here is God. He is completely holy, glorious and powerful. He had every right to stay on His throne and rule the earth. But Paul says that “he made himself nothing” (Philippians 2:7). He lowered himself to the role of a servant. The Creator became like the created. And not even that, but He humbled himself unto the cross! Now that is humility.
At first glance, it might be easy for me to understand the concepts in my head but simply pass by the gravity of the beautiful truth that fills these words.
So I take another look. I meditate on the words.
My God was humble.
The most powerful, the most glorious, the most holy being in all existence was humble. This is the same person whose presence could cause unspeakable terror in men so that they would fall to the ground in utter fear. The God of all things was humble.
When I look at it like that, a question pops into my head: Who am I that I live like I am too good for humility? How dare I hold on to pride and refuse instruction when my Jesus lowered himself to a far greater extent than I will ever have to: from God to man.
I have a feeling that there just might be a lot more proud “Jameses” out there who do not take instruction very well.
Another one of my friends is a Food Network junkie. One of her favorite shows is “Sweet Genius,” a dessert cooking show. Well, much to my disliking, she got me to watch an episode. OK, it was actually pretty interesting. There was one line the judge said that stood out to me. He was critiquing the dessert of one of the contestants who was not taking the teaching with a spirit of humility at all. The judge asked the chef if he was a sweet genius. The man responded in the affirmative.
Then the judge replied, “A genius must never stop learning.”
Here is a man who is extremely respected in the area of cooking, and he realizes that learning and growing is never complete.
I need to hold on to that attitude.
If I want to have a loving and peaceful relationship with all men, as well as having an amazing marriage someday, I have to live this way.
I am not perfect. I don’t have everything together. But like Paul, I need to learn to boast in my weaknesses. I need to be teachable. I need to accept truth, even when it hurts my pride. When someone calls me out on a flaw, I need to accept it with grace and truth. My God is humble; I have no excuse not to be.
So the next time my friend calls me out on my flaws, I know that I will still struggle. I understand that it can be hard transitioning from a theological understanding to a practical transformation, but at least I have come to accept my flaws. But I know I can’t change on my own. Only my Creator can change me. All I can do is spend time with Him, walk in His grace, and preemptively pour my heart out in prayer that there would be less of me and more of Him.