Thursday, December 22, 2016

2016: A Year of Humility

Humility is a trait that is necessary to shape our character 
so that it reflects the character of our Heavenly Father.

            Humility was my word for 2016. I struggled for weeks to accept this word.  Even though I knew becoming more humble would be good for me, my pride kept me terrified to accept this word. In just a matter of days after accepting this as my word for the year God began to humble me, chipping away at the wall of pride that has been building for years as He forms me back into His original masterpiece.  That chiseling hurt, terribly!  My pride did not want to accept what this year was meant to be but thankfully God gave me the power to keep it in check (for the most part, I still had my days).  This has been a difficult year but so worth it.  I exit the year 2016 thankful that I said yes to humility. 

Lessons I learned:

I. Pride has ruined so many relationships and opportunities in my own life.  It has kept me from being happy.  It has kept me from opportunities I wanted and were given to others instead.  It has kept people I wanted to know better at arms length.  It has kept me from really knowing how much God loves me and experiencing that love first-hand. 

II. Luke 14:11 says, “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled.  And all those who humble themselves will be exalted.”  Often we don’t realize when we have exalted ourselves until we are humbled.  I do this regularly.  But when I look at the life of Jesus, I see that He took on the heart of a servant.  He had every right to exalt himself but chose instead to serve.  It’s important to remember that when I don’t feel like I’m being treated fairly.

III.  Self-justification is dangerous.  It is confidence in yourself and your abilities.  It is pride.  Humility is confidence in how God sees you and confidence in God’s ability to use you.  Self-justification is idolatry in appearance, caring more about appearing righteous rather than being righteous.  God hates it when I prop up my holiness on the failures of others.  God hates it when I read scripture and try to justify my behavior by comparing myself to others.  God hates self-justification and even tells us throughout scripture to allow Him to vindicate us.

IV.  The opposite of love is SELFISHNESS.  Pride has caused me to be selfish in the way I show love to others.  It has fooled me into thinking that I have loved others well.  1 Corinthians 10:24 says, “No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.”  Loving people with pride has caused me a lot of heartache because I put unrealistic expectations on others.  When they don’t meet those expectations I am let down by no ones fault but my own.  Humility is doing something for someone without expecting anything in return.  (You can read more about this lesson by clicking here to read a past blog I wrote.)


            As I reflect on this year my question for God is, “Have I learned all I can this year about humility?  Have I taken every opportunity to grow in humility?”  I know I still have a pride problem.  Pride is a sin I’m constantly going to have to keep in check.  But I do believe I have changed.  I feel like a better person.  I feel more alive, freer, and more open to love and to be loved.  This is the way life is meant to be lived.  Humility should be driving the way we encounter, love and respond to people, not pride. 

Even though 2016 is coming to an end, and I will take on a new work in January, I ask that God continue to help me overcome pride with humility.  I don’t want to be afraid of being wrong.  I don’t want to be afraid to be last.  I don’t want to be afraid to love.  I don’t want to be afraid to hold whatever position or job I have been given.  Lastly, I don’t want to think of myself more highly than I ought to think.  God’s truth has the power to transform us. May I never go back to pride, but always pursue humility. 

Where I was afraid to make this my word for a year I now want to make it my word for life because of how much better I feel.  Even when I’m stuck in a crappy situation by thinking about how I can make the best of it, instead of thinking about what I deserve, I find contentment, joy, and peace. 

This is a video I came across as I was deciding about my word for 2016.  It also popped up randomly a couple times during this year.  It is done by The Skit Guys.  The title of it is "God's Chisel Remastered." You can learn more about them by clicking here.  I hope it encourages you as much as it has me.