“For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Luke 14:11 NLT
So for about a week now, God has been showing me like 2 major things in my life:
- How to be a good steward over ministry and
- How to be humble
I didn’t understand how necessary this is to believer’s walk, but often overlooked (at least by me). I can say BUT GOD now, because I am grateful that He put me in a spot (a very tough one at that) to show me the meaning of all this.
It started with the verse above: Luke 14:11. In the text before this verse, it describes how the seating you choose at the table can determine whether someone more honorable than you can cause you to sit lower or higher. In other words, if you don’t choose the right seat, you’ll be very very embarrassed or humbled.
Pause. Think on that.
Then God brought me to 1 Corinthians 4. Again, another scripture that first talks about ministry and how to be a good steward, but then switches to a humbling stance for not only the church of Corinth, but present-day believers.
Let me just point out some of the text that spoke to me.
Verse 2 NLT says,”Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful.“
Faithfulness is not only something a leader should acquire, but every believer because it’s a fruit of the Spirit. You have to be committed to the work that God has positioned for you to do. However, Paul urged them (and us!) not to get the big head. Verse 3-5 makes it real clear to us: God is judge and jury and no man has the final say. At the end of the day, what we do in darkness comes to light, which if you’re not doing right, is a HUMBLING experience!
And if you don’t think it is, how about you publish your internet history and see how embarrassing that can be!
Conitnuing on, Paul urges us to not put one leader up against the other at their expense. God sees all, knows all, and that’s something we aren’t capable of doing. In the same way, we all don’t have the same gifts, style of leadership, or calling on our lives nor can we claim that we got it on our own.
Think about it, everything that you have is because of another person. Nothing was gained just by you! Better yet, all things can be traced back to God anyways, because He gave it all.
As you read down, verse 8 is the shift of the chapter that shows us a stark contrast between what it means to be a Christian in places that are accepting and what it means it places that don’t. Not just a Christian, but a true believer.
Paul’s display of life as an apostle versus the those who “have all they need” shows how comfortable we can make ourselves if we don’t branch out or speak out. Because of Paul’s ministry, he was faced with torment, persecution, seen as crazy, etc. However, if we never escape the 4 walls of our churches, speak for what we believe, or bask in the comfort of just associating with others like us, we will never know how the world truly looks at us. Verse 14, Paul says it best to them in Corinth:
“I am not writing these things to shame you, but to warn you as my beloved children.“
He wasn’t saying that their life of comfort was wrong, but he wanted them to be prepared for times that they may face persecution, mistreatment, or even torment to death. He didn’t want them thinking that they were beyond what he was facing let alone to be cocky and arrogant about their position. Paul told them, that he would come to see if “these arrogant people just give pretentious speeches or whether they really have God’s power.“(verse 19b)
Paul’s end to this chapter solidifies a hard-hitting point for the Corinthian church and for us as believers right now:
Rather than just speaking God’s Word, are you living it?
Is God’s power truly within you?
Like a good shepherd to his flock, Paul asks then, should he basically come to Corinth with the hammer or out of love knowing that they’ll right their wrongs after this writing?
Honestly children of God, do we understand what it means to remain humble in this life while serving the living God?
Let me tell you a quick story:
This message was for me first, then shared with y’all. I did not realize the pride I had harbored inside of me UNTIL God brought it to light. I didn’t know it until I realized that at a impasse of need and the help God provided, I was being stubborn. I knew I needed help, signed up for it, but when the time came to receive it, I was angry at myself because I thought I was above it. Paul said it best in verses 10-13; he showed us that none of us are above going hungry, thirsty, without clothes, houses, etc. But also, it shows us that our safety net of materialistic things, people, money, support, etc. as easy as it was obtained can be removed. This life of believing in God will humble you!
Just as Paul warned the Corinthians, God is letting us know that for so long, parts of the world may tolerate us who believe, but what happens when no one does? What happens when He moves you somewhere and no one shares what you believe? Will you still follow after Christ? Are you still going to operate by the power of God without the things of this world including influence?
Better yet: How would you want God to greet when He comes back: with punishment or out of love?
14 “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Joshua 24:12-15 ESV
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