Sunday, September 19, 2010

Prepare for Descent

God likes to poke fun at us...just a little...once in awhile. I could almost hear Him chuckling last week. Here's why:

I have just started working through a Bible study called "Seeking Him" in which we, on day 5 each week, work through a personal inventory to see how our lives are lining up with Jesus. Last week, as my small group sat together and discussed this portion, I volunteered that I had dutifully completed the individual survey and discovered that I had real problems with humility--especially as it relates to my husband. Thinking I was a pretty humble person, I was shocked at this assessment of myself (I AM JOKING). Anyway, I determined to work on this fault and purposed myself to "not think of myself more highly than I ought".

Fast forward 24 hours. As I began to think about next week's study (which I am leading), I decided to pull out the teaching schedule to see which topic I would be focusing upon. And yep, you guessed it...and God knew it...HUMILITY.

So, painfully remembering my unasked-for admission of ignorance regarding humility to those whom I would be teaching the following week, I decided I had better to get to work on this whole pride thing. BLOW # 1.

Evening; same day as BLOW # 1; We go to the high school to pick up our guest for the next three weeks: a foreign exchange student from Spain. As the bus pulls into the parking lot and all of the Spaniards disembark, the American students rush forth and are greeted with the traditional right/left/right kiss on the cheeks from the foreigners. I see our student greet my daughter this way. I see the other students greeting their "siblings" and "parents" with kisses. So, I go to my student expecting the same, and she thrusts out her palm for a handshake. Embarrassed, I take her hand and wonder at her hesitation. BLOW #2.

Next morning; As I arise, I remember the prayer sent up recently asking God to teach me about humility so I could teach others. Standing in pajamas, looking for a book, any book, with "Humility" or "Pride" in the title (I decided that Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice probably wouldn't cut it), Brent walks in and says, "What are you looking for?" When I told him I was trying to learn about humility, he pulls out a book called Descending Into Greatness and says, "Read it. It will be really good for you." BLOW #3. (It's OK, honey. I know you meant well.)

Today; a rainy day; a good reading day; I sat in my polka-dotted chair by the fireplace and devoured Bill Hybels' Descending Into Greatness in one sitting--a long sitting. Hybels pointed me to the very best book on humility--the Bible--specifically Philippians 2.

In Philippians 2, Paul makes a very persuasive argument for imitation. Not imitation of himself. Not imitation of the world. Imitation of Christ--the perfect humble servant. In this chapter, Paul encourages those in Philippi to act like Jesus. How? By "doing nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit" and " in humility considering others better than themselves."

I plan to read Philippians 2 every day this week. I have a lot to learn from Christ. Jesus, by example, shows us time and time again that moving down is the only way to become great in God's eyes. He must become greater. I must become less.

I still have a lot of descending to do. And I still have to teach on Thursday.

God continues to instruct me..and maybe giggle a little at me. And I continue to learn what is means to "give it all" to become obedient, unwavering, and humble. So...if it's the blows that make me truly "great", #4, I'm ready! Bring it on!

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus; Who, being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness."

Philippians 2:5-7

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