We were visiting Evergreen Foursquare Church yesterday in Auburn, Washington – where our friend Doug Bursch is the pastor. The message was probably the best one I have ever heard – on the subject of humility. It is amazing how we can grow up in the church and even see the same passages of scripture and yet – when somebody else reveals another truth from those passages – it can seem like it’s brand new. This happened yesterday.
I am constantly amazed at how God will speak – using people and things in our lives to drive home a point and whisper truth into our hearts. We spend so much time and energy on ‘puffing ourselves up’ to look good – or to feel better – even if we don’t openly admit it – and we can sure find fault with everyone else – again to make us feel good. We may say to ourselves, “well – I don’t do what THEY do – so I’m better than they are” – or, “good grief – I’m glad I’m not like them – they’re so WEAK. I would never do that” Be very careful – for what you see in your neighbor you are VERY capable of having the same thing happen – unless you take care of your own heart.
What Doug pointed out yesterday was this: All sin is against God alone. We don’t sin against our brother or they against us – it’s ALWAYS a problem between God and us – and if I don’t get down to the root of the problem with God alone – I will always point fingers and blame – but it won’t do me any good – in the end I need to come to the complete resolution that I have sinned against God and He will hold me accountable. I cannot control what others do – I can only control me. I think sometimes I feel justified in feeling as I do – when others harm me – or hurt me. And it is completely wrong.
Jesus took a position of servant. He didn’t have to. But He humbled himself and tried to teach it to the men around him – even though they were pretty ‘brain dead’ and just ‘didn’t get it’ most of the time. His was a model of humility for me – to take the lowest position – become lower and lower – prefer others over me – even if I feel just the opposite. Even if others use me – discard me – blame me and mistreat me. It doesn’t come naturally – because it is the sin nature inside of me that wants to blame – deflect and feel justified. It is not easy to take on humility. It is just the right thing to do.
And like the song lyrics below – the ‘walls’ of pride around my heart have to crumble – as I learn to surrender to all He has for me – and surrender to “Mercy’s Arms”. And as I do – I find that my heart is forever changed – I begin to take on the character and humility of Christ – as He cleans up my heart – becoming less and less like myself and more and more like Him – so others will catch a glimpse of Jesus in me.
The mighty fortress walls
I have built around my foolish heart
how they crumble and they fall
as I surrender all
to Mercy’s Arms
Bathed in holy rain
cleansed from sinner’s bitter stain
only love remains
I’m forever changed
by Mercy’s Arms
sweet the surrender
sweet the embrace
sweet the forgiveness
to one forever undeserving of his grace
rested and warmed
sweet is the taste of love that awaits
un Mercy’s Arms
In the light the life the way
is the key unlocking every chain
sin is lost and freedom gained
the price was paid
by Mercy’s Arms
When I reach my journey’s end
how I hope that He will call me friend
and reach out for me again
in Mercy’s Arms