Skip to main content

A change of perspective

Anyone know the test of greatness?  I think it might just be whether we exalt or humble ourselves.  If you have considered the scriptures, one of the themes which comes through loud and clear is the importance of having a humble view of oneself and not exalting self over others.  Pride is one of the most important "barriers" to greatness spoken of in scripture.  In fact, the attitude of pride will never yield greatness - greatness is achieved because people have learned the value of being a servant.  It is contrary to what the world teaches - it is not dog eat dog, it is man serve man.  Humility is one of those things which actually helps us to manage our ambitions - it acts as a "governor" of sorts over what would otherwise cause us to plunge ahead at all cost without regard for others.  

I’m speaking to you out of deep gratitude for all that God has given me, and especially as I have responsibilities in relation to you. Living then, as every one of you does, in pure grace, it’s important that you not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what he does for us, not by what we are and what we do for him. (Romans 12:3 MSG)

Ambitions are really some type of desire for achievement or recognition.  It is the thing which gets us saying stuff like "look at me" or "did you see me then I..." and we become the center of attention.  Behind the ambition is the desire for fame, honor, or some type of achieved "greatness".  God isn't against us scoring the winning point in the football game, getting first prize at the county fair, or in getting accolades for a job well done.  He just wants us to guard against doing anything simply because it will get "us" recognized. Every achievement in our lives is really a way to point the honor back to the one who gave us the talent in the first place!

When our will is submitted to the will of the Father, our ambitions will be managed by him.  We will not seek glory or fame for our name's sake, but all honor and glory will go to him.  Selfish ambition is really marked by one tell-tale sign:  Being demanding.  If you ever find yourself demanding your own way or out of sorts because you didn't get your own way, you might have to step back for a moment to consider if the thing you are really struggling with is some form of selfishness.  Lessons of real value rarely come out of us demanding our own way.  In fact, we learn lessons about humility whenever we elevate ourselves over others or God!  

If you have ever been around a demanding person for any length of time, you know they expect you to act they way they want you to act.  In fact, if you don't act a certain way in response to their actions, you might find yourself in the midst of a little session of someone having a pity party about not getting their own way, or getting the attention they felt they deserved.  Humility is the opposite of being demanding - it is the willingness to lay down the "my way or the highway" philosophy in life.  It is marked by dependence - not on self, but on God himself.  To walk independent of God is to walk in pride - and this is truthfully a very lonely and rocky walk!

One test I think might just help us determine if we are really being humble is our ability to look in the mirror after we make a mistake.  If we are operating in humility, we tend to look in the mirror at ourselves to see what we could have done differently rather than focusing on the other person to point out what they did wrong.  Humility looks at others and sees their successes - not their failures.  Anytime I am looking at another with the idea of pointing out their failures, I am truthfully putting them down to attempt to make myself look just a little better (if not in your eyes, at least in my own).  The issue with this is that I rarely come out very well in the deal!

To be truly humble is to allow God to deal with our need to be noticed.  If you look in scripture, you don't see a whole lot of examples of God telling people to do stuff which will get THEM noticed - he usually uses them to help people notice HIM.  Someone once told me to live for an audience of ONE - God himself.  If I do this, I am likely less focused on what YOU think of me and really genuinely concerned about what GOD thinks of me.  What I come to appreciate is his focus is always on his kids - he never takes his eyes off us. If we want to be "noticed", we might just do well to turn our eyes to Jesus and catch a little more of his attention!

On our knees we become aware of the needs of others around us.  There is no greater honor than to lose oneself in the passion of serving those around us. Truth is, we need to see life from a different perspective most of the time - getting to our knees often helps us change perspective.  In truth, humility is putting God first, others second, and self last.  It doesn't mean we never see our own needs met, because in meeting the needs of others, we often realize the needs we had get met in return.  Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce

Scrubbed Up and Ready to Go!

Have you ever considered just how 'clean' your hands really are? In nursing school, I remember this exercise we did where we rubbed hand lotion on our hands, then were told to go scrub them to practice a good handwashing technique. Most of us were going the extra mile by scrubbing back and front, in between the fingers and then even up above the wrist area. Surely our hands were clean, right? We came back to the room for the 'inspection' of our handwashing jobs only to find our instructor had turned the lights off, had a black light set up, and inspected our hands under that glowing beast! Guess what else 'glowed'? Our hands! The lotion was 'laced' with this 'dust' that illuminates under the black light, allowing each of us to see the specific areas around cuticles, under nails, and even here and there on our hands that got totally missed by our good 'handwashing' technique! What we thought was clean really wasn't clean at all. Clean