Monday, September 15, 2014

Hardest Spiritual Lesson #9: Humility and Brokenness

9.  Humility and Brokenness
(Once again, another long post which repeats some things that I’ve said in other posts.  But it’s totally worth reading.)

            Matthew 18:4:  “Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’” 

            Whoever humbles himself like a child!  This, I believe, should be the ultimate goal of every believer.  Humility.  Brokenness.  Now, everyone might define humility a little differently, but here’s my attempt at it: 
            Humility is recognizing and freely admitting that we are needy, helpless, and dependent.  It’s knowing that we need our Heavenly Father desperately, that we are helpless to do anything without Him, and that we are fully dependent on Him daily.  It’s resting in and so completely trusting His goodness and love that no matter what happens, we can still say, “Father, I trust You.”  And it’s knowing that everything is by His power and for His glory, and wanting nothing more than to see Him glorified in our lives.  To me, this is what it means to be humbled, to be “sweetly broken.”

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hardest Spiritual Lesson #8: Matthew 6:33

8.  Seeking God’s Kingdom and Righteousness
(This will be a long one because there is much to say about it.  And I am drawing in a lot that I wrote in other posts because I think it is all worth repeating again and again.)

            Matthew 6:33:  “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

            We all know that we are supposed to be seeking righteousness and God’s Kingdom.  But are we actually doing it?  And do we really even know what that means? 
            The reason I ask is because our country is getting so lukewarm and relativistic about spiritual things.  Whole denominations are drifting away from Biblical Christianity and becoming social clubs where the speakers tickle the ears of the congregation and make them feel warm and cozy and comfortable.  But that is so not what Jesus did and what the Bible is about. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Hardest Spiritual Lesson #7: Accepting Love & Forgiveness

7.  Letting Yourself Be Loved or Forgiven

            Not everyone will face this lesson, but those with broken pasts will know what I’m talking about.  One of the hardest lessons I have had to learn in my spiritual life (and in my earthly life) is to let myself be loved by someone . . . by Someone.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Hardest Spiritual Lesson #6: Accepting God's Timing

6.  Being Okay with God’s Time and God’s Way

            1 Peter 5:6-7:  “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxieties on him because he cares for you.”

            In due time!  Such a scary thought for us.  Such a hard thing to accept, to wait for.  How hard it is to humbly submit our lives to the Lord’s timing and way.  But if we want to have the kind of life He wants for us, then we have to learn to humble ourselves before Him and to wait for Him to lift us up in His time and in His way.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Hardest Spiritual Lesson #5: Do Your Job!

5.  Obediently Doing Your Job and Letting God Do His

            Okay now, be honest and raise your hand if  . . . you like to lead instead of follow?  To push through with your plans and make things happen?  To set your own rules and goals? 
            Our world values go-getters and leaders - people who succeed, who make the impossible possible, who dream big dreams and make them come true.  It doesn’t put much value on followers who wait to be told what to do and who then immediately and completely obey (or at least try their best to).  The world overlooks people who shine the spotlight on someone else and who spend their lives in service to someone else.  It doesn’t respect submission because it values autonomy, self-reliance, and independence way too much.  So the world can’t really understand or value me.  But God does!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Hardest Spiritual Lesson #4: Thankfulness

4.  Being Truly, Humbly, Actively Thankful

            Luke 17:15-18:  “One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice.  He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him – and he was a Samaritan.  Jesus asked, ‘Were not all ten cleansed?  Where are the other nine?  Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’”

            Ten men were healed.  Only one came back to thank Jesus.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hardest Spiritual Lesson #3: Praise

3.  Learning to Praise and Trust God Anyway
            I think one of the hardest lessons to learn and one of the greatest indicators of humility is whether or not we have learned to praise God, to trust Him, and to cling to Him in the pain and in the hard times. 
            It is easy to be thankful and to trust Him and to “sing His praises” when things are going our way and when we have more than enough (which is why I wonder about the level of spiritual maturity and commitment of those who are richly blessed on earth with success and money and power and who have not been broken by the trials and hard times).  But it is so hard to do this when we are in the “desert times” of our lives and when we feel like life is letting us down, like God is letting us down, and like we have been abandoned by Him.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Hardest Spiritual Lesson #2: Pruning

2.  Being Pruned So That We Can Bring God Glory
            This isn’t all that much different from #1.  But throughout our lives, we will find ourselves being pruned over and over again as God continues to weed out anything that doesn’t bring Him glory and that isn’t for our best.  And this isn’t always easy.  We like things to be our way.  We like holding onto certain ungodly or selfish things.  We want certain freedoms and pleasures.  But in order to grow in righteousness as Christians, to reach wholeness, and to get to the point where everything is about God’s glory, we need to be pruned . . .

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Hardest Spiritual Lesson #1: Let Go?

            My kids and I started our new homeschooling year this week.  And so we are back to work, and I will be busy with them and with just keeping up with the house and the cooking.  (Ugh!)  I also have plans to finally paint all the rooms for which we bought paint four years ago.  Ah, so goes life.  Anyway, because of school starting and life just being busy, these may be my last posts.  I know I’ve said it before, but I mean it this time.  (So, we’ll see, huh?)  So for my last nine posts, I wanted to summarize what I think are the nine hardest spiritual lessons to learn.