Our family divides responsibilities based upon wiring and experience. Stacie tends to be better at many things, particularly cooking. My contribution is usually on the back end—helping with dishes and clean up. When Stacie brings the meal to the table, I often say, “I love this meal. It’s one of my favorites.” When I say it, I mean it! Meal creation is one of the many things she does with excellence.
I have wanted to say the same things many times throughout this journey of hope. I love this passage; it’s one of my favorites. I feel that way about today’s passage. The Holy Spirit has used these few verses in my life many times to correct my thinking, redirect my steps, and encourage my heart. It makes me happy to think about His desire to do the same for you.
I’ve made it my practice when writing these entries to get on my knees and invite Him to move in my heart as I write. Would you be willing to get on your knees right now and invite Him into our time together?
“Come, Holy Spirit, you are welcome in my heart today. I humble myself before you. Unless you speak, this time will not bear fruit. I want to hear from you today.”
I am about to turn 39 years old. When you read this, my birthday will have passed. I’m not sure if you consider me to be young or old. I know it’s relative. I’m going to choose the middle. I’m about halfway between 20 and 60. For me, age twenty is almost 20 years ago. Many memories are distant, but several of them have been stored as core memories. I remember cutting my teeth in ministry and experiencing a surprising measure of success. Stacie and I started leading a middle school ministry. At the time I did not take into account context and conditions. The community and church were primed for the work, so we doubled in size rather quickly. Lives were being changed, and students were set on fire by the Holy Spirit.
Between you and me, I gave myself a lot of credit for the success we were experiencing. I had many arrogant thoughts during the time. Stacie and I had many conversations about how differently I would lead if I were in charge. I would give her a list of strategic changes and how those changes would cause faster growth. I was not taking into account that my branch was growing on His vine!
God has a funny way of allowing us to be humbled by our circumstances. We moved from South Carolina to Texas after graduating from college. When we moved, we got the chance to “be in charge.” The second time around was harder than the first, and my experience was much more humbling.
I remember many conversations with God in round two—talks during which I begged His forgiveness for my arrogance. During this season, I began to see and experience the difference of living with humility. Looking back now, I get tears in my eyes thinking about the kindness of God to meet me in my repentance.
I think most of us have moments where we overestimate what we have to offer God and how much God needs from us. I’m sure certain personalities struggle with this more than others. No doubt, Peter was one who had his moments, particularly as a young man. On the night Jesus was betrayed, Peter made sure Jesus knew his commitment level as he said, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you” (Mark 14:31, NLT).
Twenty-four hours later, Peter had denied Jesus three times. If you recall, Jesus graciously told Peter this would happen by the time the rooster cried out the next morning. I wonder how Peter thought about roosters from that point forward. I wonder if hearing a rooster crow each morning served as a reminder of Peter’s need for grace.
Jesus would later restore Peter. From this point forward, Peter was a changed man. Over the years, Peter learned how to live with humility.
I’ve watched many people walk through humbling circumstances and still fail to humble themselves. The longer you stay on a road marked with pride, the harder and more painful the road gets. The pain starts with pebbles and finishes with boulders. Some people live without hope because they won’t humble themselves. But remember, at any point along the route, you can turn around. Jesus will be right there.
Humility is the pathway to hope! Peter connects humility to reduced anxiety and worry. There’s something so powerful about realizing you can’t control the world. Or circumstances. Or other people. All of your concerns are a concern to God. His concern is matched with His capacity. A great God who is also a good God. Humility opens the door to experience more of His goodness. ‘
I understand why Peter starts by addressing young men, and I can relate to his transition to addressing everyone else. God gets no delight out of humbling us. It’s just that when pride walks on the stage, God walks off. Where you find humility, you also find grace and mercy. The wind of the Spirit blows in the sails of a contrite spirit.
I have a few “roosters” in my life. One of them is watching God bless the church I lead. I know what my life is like without Jesus. I know how I lead apart from grace. I have gotten glimpses of who I would be if He hadn’t stepped in to change my story. Parenting is another rooster for me. I often have moments where I get glimpses of how I would parent without God’s help. It’s not a pretty scene.
Every one of us can make a decision to put on that humility shirt. It’s a daily choice. Doing so is the difference between life with God opposing you or the wind of God at your back. Today I wonder if you would make a decision to humble yourself before God. Now is a good moment to finish the way we started—on our knees.
Will you take a few moments right now to bow in His presence? Present your concerns to Him. Tell Him where you feel inadequate, and ask Him to help you today.