The Greatest

greatest muhammad aliI remember as a kid hearing Muhammad Ali claim that he was the greatest. He certainly did not lack in self-confidence. He was an extraordinary heavy weight boxer who became quite successful psyching his opponent out before the fight ever began. He may have been the original inventor of “smack talk”. He was also a really good boxer who trained well and he often backed up his talk. I always felt he went to far when he declared one day “I am the greatest”. He didn’t really qualify that he was the greatest boxer, although he probably did fit that description. He beat more champion boxers than any other person before or since. He is recognized as one of the best-known athletes of the past century. He is not the greatest although he may have been the greatest boxer I’ve ever witnessed.  Jesus speaks pretty clearly about humility and greatness according to a different set of guidelines. Check this out…

11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. (Matthew 23:11-12 NIV)

Serving is the highest position available in Christianity. It’s not about titles and victories or about being better than someone else. Jesus said the greatest will be your servant.  This is exactly opposite of what our culture in the USA teaches overtly and covertly. In fact in the church sometimes, we get this concept really screwed up. Everyone in the Kingdom of God is a servant and those who set themselves to be the “head servants” are still simply servants.  Those who set themselves up in higher positions are setting themselves up to be brought down and humbled. The second part of this teaching is that while the greatest is the servant, the servant humbles himself rather than being humbled by the King.  God loves humble servants who know their place in the Kingdom. That is the very person He likes to show off to others. I think it’s important to note that I will be humbled one way or another. If I humble myself it’s probably a lot less painful or embarrassing than if someone else does it.  I just want to be a simple servant in the Kingdom. I’m already a HUGE RECIEPIENT of Grace and Mercy from the Lord. I’m so grateful for that and willing to serve where and when He calls me.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Humble

Man praying with the BibleHumility is a skill to be learned not necessarily a gift or talent that I’ve been born with. It’s important for me to learn humility. I’ve always remembered the scripture that says “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up.” (James 4:10) I like how it’s worded in the New Century Version: “Humble yourself in the Lord’s presence, and he will honor you.”

Being humble is important to the Lord. There is room for only One as the King of my heart. I must step down from that role and surrender it to Him. He is the Heart-Shaper and King-Maker. When I come before Him in humility, my life is like a blank canvas for Him to paint a beautiful life portrait upon.

He speaks through the prophet Zephaniah destruction and punishment on the people groups who have spurned Him and His people. He calls them and His people to humility before He disciplines. Check this out…

1 Gather together, gather,

    you unwanted people.
2 Do it before it’s too late,

    before you are blown away like chaff,

before the Lord’s terrible anger reaches you,

    before the day of the Lord’s anger comes to you.
Come to the Lord, all you who are not proud,

    who obey his laws.

Do what is right. Learn to be humble.

    Maybe you will escape

    on the day the Lord shows his anger. (Zephaniah 2:1-3 NCV)

Humility is a posture of my heart and my head. I must come to terms with any success that I have comes from the Lord. He directs my path so that I can be successful when I listen to Him. He defines success way different than the world defines success. I’m a success if I follow Him – period.  The amount of money I earn and the material possessions I have are meaningless to my eternity. It’s the condition of my heart before Him. I should always seek humility and show incredible respect to Creator God for Who He is and all that He’s doing in my life. I want to humble myself in His Presence so that He will honor me when it really counts!

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Destructive Pride

Man with arrogant expressionPride is not always a bad thing. It’s totally appropriate to take pride in our achievements or the achievements of others. Pride goes astray when I develop an excessively high opinion of my self or my own importance.  Pride has destroyed many good people over the years. Pride destroys companies and countries. Pride destroys relationships that have been very rewarding and deep.

The country of Israel allowed their pride to bring destruction. Check this out….

8 “Israel mixes with other nations;

    he is like a pancake cooked only on one side.
9 Foreign nations have eaten up his strength,

    but he doesn’t know it.
Israel is weak and feeble, like an old man,

    but he doesn’t know it.
10 Israel’s pride will cause their defeat;

    they will not turn back to the Lord their God

    or look to him for help in all this. (Hosea 7:8-10 NCV)

I believe that pride is easier to swallow than the disgusting taste of defeat or destruction. If I could only see the big picture and see how destructive my pride is. I need to take a step back because pride can also put blinders on me. I can’t always see when I’m being full of pride and arrogance. Both pride and arrogance are polar opposites to humility and service.  God calls me to be different than the world. I’m called to serve on His behalf and in His name. I’m not called to make myself looks great while serving – I’m just called to serve.  When pride slips into my serving, humility leaves. I don’t believe that pride and humility can co-exist. I must lay down my pride and clothe myself with humility to be an effective follower of God.

Pressing On!
Dwayne