Author

Mary Loudermilk

Browsing

“So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore, let us no longer judge one another. Instead decide never to put a stumbling block or pitfall in the way of your brother or sister” (Romans 14:12-13, Christian Standard Bible).

When I was a small child, one of the hymns sometimes sung was “Watching You.” The chorus went like this:

Watching you, watching you,
Ev’ry day mind the course you pursue,
Watching you, watching you,
There’s an all seeing Eye watching you.

                                                                                  “Watching You” by John M. Henson

As you can imagine, as a child this “eye in the sky” concept did not make me comfortable. God leaning over from Heaven, just waiting to catch me doing wrong, was a scary thought. I haven’t heard that hymn sung in many years, and I realize God isn’t just waiting to pounce if I stumble. With maturity, I’ve also come to understand God does care about my actions (but isn’t going to pounce) and how I live also affects those around me. Whether we realize it or not, someone is always watching—and that someone may be our child, a coworker, our neighbor, or those we meet each day. How my action affects them is the ripple effect.

ripple effect (noun)  a series of things that happen as the result of a particular action or event. (from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary).

Whether consciously or unconsciously, how we live affects those around us. This can be a good thing or in some instances not so good. When Paul addressed the young men of the church in the Book of Titus, he explained how living a life of integrity is a good witness to the non-believer. The same holds true for any age.

“Showing yourself to be an example of good works in every way. In your teaching show integrity, dignity, and a sound message that cannot be criticized, so that any opponent will be at a loss, because he has nothing evil to say about us” (Titus 2:7-8, New English Translation).

Modern culture tells us it doesn’t matter how we live. It’s our right, our freedom, to choose the lifestyle we want. If we aren’t breaking the law or harming someone else, it’s okay. Others should have no say in the matter. Culture may declare this, but the church must not. It is counter to biblical teaching. We may be the only example of Christ-like living someone will ever see.

“If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom” (James 3:13, New Living Translation).

Prayer: Lord, help me to live in such a way that others can see You shining through my actions. I want to live with integrity and humility. I never want my actions to harm another or dishonor Your name in any way. It is my desire to draw others to You, not drive them away.

And Abraham said, ‘My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together’” (Genesis 22:8, NKJV).

Genesis 22 tells the familiar story of God’s testing of Abraham when He asked him to sacrifice Isaac, his long-awaited son. Abraham and Sarah had waited years for Isaac’s birth and now God was telling him to offer the young man as a sacrifice. Regardless of his faith in God, I’m sure fear and worry tried to fill Abraham’s mind every step of the way. He, Isaac, and the two servants walked at least three days and about fifty miles to reach Mount Moriah. It was as they were nearing the end of their journey that Isaac asked, “Where is the lamb?” Abraham calmly replied, “God will provide.”

Isaac’s Questions

Abraham wasn’t the only one being tested. Isaac must have faced his own questions about what God was doing. After all, the angel of the Lord did not appear until he was tied to the altar—something he could have resisted—and the knife was in his father’s grasp. But, as Abraham had promised, God did provide.

Perhaps you are facing your own Mount Moriah experience. Questions run through your mind, and God is seemingly absent from the mountain. Will He show up in time? That’s the big question that so often stymies us. Yet, God is already on the mountain with us—waiting to step in at the moment that will give us the greatest testimony.

A Matter of Timing

God’s timing often does not match our perception of how things should be, but we must have faith. Hebrews 22:17-19 tells us by faith Abraham knew God was able, even if it meant raising Isaac from the dead. Can we trust God that much?

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience” (James 1:2-3, NKJV).

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19, NKJV).

Prayer: God, You are my Jehovah-jireh, my Provider. Although I know there will be times of testing, I also know that You will be there to supply my need when I cry out to You. You will meet me on my mountain of trial, and You will provide the sacrifice. I know You do all things well and Your promises are sure.

 

“Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you” (I Peter 5:5-6, English Standard Version).

Why does the Bible stress humility so much? Is this characteristic really so important in our lives? Or is it just an old-fashioned concept that doesn’t fit with our modern way of looking out for Number One? By examining various scriptures, we learn humility is not only essential but also enriches our lives. Blessings come from having a humble spirit.

  • We need humility to come to God.

Humility lowers itself while pride is arrogant and seeks to exalt itself. When we seek forgiveness for our sins, we come to God with a spirit of humility and submission. It opens the door to repentance, an essential part of the process. James 4:10 tells us, Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”

  • The humble have a teachable spirit.

Think of a school room. Before the student can learn, he must be willing to listen to the instructor. With humility we open ourselves to the wisdom of others, including the things God desires to teach us. “He leads the humble in what is right and teaches them his way” (Psalm 25:9, CSB).

  • Gratitude grows from a humble heart.

Pride robs us of gratitude. It’s so easy to take credit for all the good things that come our way. We lose sight of what others and God have done for us.  Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits” (Psalm 103:2).

  • Humility recognizes our need of God’s help.

We can do life on our own, but why would we want to? God is willing and able to provide all we need. We can tap into His strength and power. “I can pray this because his divine power has bestowed on us everything necessary for life and godliness through the rich knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and excellence” (II Peter 1:3, New English Translation).

So many people have the wrong idea about humility. It isn’t low self-esteem or feeling worthless. Nor is it making yourself a doormat and inviting everyone to walk over you. It does not mean you must discredit the gifts and abilities God has put within you. As Rick Warren once said, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.

Humility is foundational to living the best life. It is also essential to successful relationships—with each other and with God. The humble person is a blessed person.

Prayer: Lord, You have blessed me with so much. I know it isn’t because of anything I have done but because of Your goodness and mercy. I pray my heart will always be open to Your will. Give me a heart that is open to Your Word and the things You want to teach me. My dependency is on You.