Monday, January 14, 2008

Humility - A Picture Of The Christ

So this study on Humility is affecting every aspect of my walk. I'm not saying "oh I'm so humble now"... hardly... I'm saying that it's becoming painfully clear that humility is the root of all fruitfulness. I have been praying, for some time, that God would show me how to "live out" all the things I've learned. That He'd strengthen me to be able to walk the walk I know I should. I guess I thought He would make me "Super Christian!" but instead He's shown me, yet again, that the way up is down.

I have often found myself in "alarm" about the mess I've made of my life. That alarm is such a good descriptor of my Pride. I never thought of it like that before, but it is. Think of it this way "I've messed my life up." means I've somehow taken control over God's ability, purpose and will. It means that I'm dependent on me. That's Pride, because a the heart Humility is dependence on God. The Psalmist, King David, shares this understanding with me in Ps 31:22 When we panic, when we think we are "cut off" from the Lord it is because we have not yet seen the Humble King for Who He is. The One who stepped down out of Heaven fully God but not demanding honor for that. Instead He humbled Himself to obedience even to the point of death on the Cross. Phil 2:6-8 Now that passage used to be amazing to me, but now even more so. I've started to see that true Humility is an emptying of self, a counting myself nothing and God all in all. It is the covering one's self in Christ Himself.

A picture of this can be found in John 21, which I've written of before. In Peter's restoration we see a picture of the Humble King and get to know Him and how to approach Him just a bit better. Much is said about the guilt and shame Peter felt about his denial of the Lord before He was crucified. Luke 22:54-61 but I'm sure if we asked Peter today he too would agree with King David's thought in Ps 31:22 about how in his alarm he thought he had been cut off from the Humble Lamb of God but that in reality He had never left him.

Peter had boasted that he'd be willing to die for the Lord because he loved Him so much. Luke 22:33 But when the time of testing came Peter denied even knowing Him. What Peter forgot, and what is often missed is the Lord's promise to Peter (and likewise us) before our boasting, before we get ahead of ourselves the Lord says "...Satan has asked to sift you like wheat. But, I have prayed for you that your faith will not fail and when you return to Me strengthen my sheep." Luke 22:31-32 So before we ever get ourselves in a mess He has long since prayed for us and made sure the result. He knew how far Peter would run from Him, but prayed for his return.

And we see the Humility in the restoration of Peter. I'll quote from my previous writing about John 21:15-19 and then complete my comments.
In verse 15 Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him. The word for love is the Greek agapao which is linked to God's perfect love Agape which is a selfless complete love. Peter responds with "yes Lord, You know that I love You" But the word he uses for love is the Greek phileo which is much more of a friendly love. Peter is admitting that while he loves the Lord, he obviously doesn't love Him the way he should.

The second time they both repeat the same words in the same question and answer.

Now the third time the Lord asked him if he loved Him. The Lord uses the same word that Peter has been using, phileo. And Peter wept because the third time He asked "Do you phileo me?"

The Lord stepped down to where Peter was. He went to get Peter. Just like He does for those who will trust Him today.
What I didn't see as I wrote this before is Peter stopped faking. He humbled himself to say, this is all I have God. This is who I really am. You know I don't love you the way I should. And our Humble King once again lowered Himself down to meet Peter just exactly where he was. And because Peter had humbled himself, the Lord exalted him up to a powerful ministry including authoring parts of the Bible it's self. In Peter's alarm he thought that he had been cut off from the Lord. But the truth was that the Lord had this covered from the beginning.

That's a picture of the Christ. The Perfect One from Heaven who stepped down out of Heaven to do what we never could. And to show us what Humility really is.

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