Skip to main content

You want me to be real?

In the same way, I urge you who are younger: accept the authority of the elders. And everyone, clothe yourselves with humility toward each other. God stands against the proud, but he gives favor to the humble. (I Peter 5:5)

If you have ever looked at someone and thought how miserable their life must be, you may just be right. I often think some people want to walk a different road than they are traveling. Their way is complicated with all kinds of relationship issues, their daily path riddled with things which have spun out of control, and their way forward is just plain hard for them to understand, much less walk. When I look upon these individuals, my heart breaks. Their choices have resulted in more hardship and "heart-hurt" than anyone would want to face. Yet, they often refuse the very advice they need to get them out of the place they are in! If you have ever encountered an individual like this, then you probably have tried to give them some "good advice", but had it immediately dismissed as "You don't know what I am dealing with here". Perhaps it was "taken" but there was never any real follow-through which amounted to permanent change. We might even see them as being an "enabler" of another's bad behavior. Why do some refuse to heed the advice of the "wise"? For some it is a matter of pride. For others it is a matter of living with misconceptions such as having been told they'd never amount to anything anyway. Regardless of the reason, the "misery" of the miles walking the path before them continues.

When pride keeps us from heeding solid advice (wise counsel), we often find ourselves re-creating the same issues over and over again - just with different scenarios and maybe even some different "players". Pride has a way of keeping us from embracing the very truth we so desperately need in order to be able to actually walk a different path. Some think humility is an admission of weakness - of an inability to keep it all together, or do it on their own. In fact, humility requires strength far beyond whatever it takes to stand in pride. To be truly vulnerable, transparent with our feelings and our failures, is definitely not a thing which the proud easily gravitate toward. In fact they guard against such honest disclosure! Humble people have the potential to become wise people. Truth is often the very thing we need to crawl out of the rut we have dug for ourselves. When pride is in the way, we just keep seeing the walls of the rut as a hurdle we must overcome. The problem in seeing the walls from this vantage point is that we spend a whole lot of time "pacing" in the rut trying to figure out how to get out of it! In all this "pacing", we wear the rut even deeper! Now the walls are even more challenging to scale!

Humble people look up! They see the walls - but they are not content to remain in their confines any longer. They are willing to listen to the advice of the ones who have been lifted out of a few ruts themselves! When someone offers to walk them through breaking free of the rut, they might struggle a little with such step-by-step instruction, but they push past their pride to get free of the walls which have enclosed them in their misery. As they hear the instruction as to where to find a foothold, then the next one, and so on, they take the steps in the order they are instructed. In turn, they find themselves leaving the rut behind and breaking out into the light of God's grace. God's favor is his grace - unmerited, undeserved. God opposes the proud - those who stand strong in their own ability - demanding to find their own way. Think of the freedom which comes to the one who is willing to lay down his pride - choosing instead to walk in the humility which opens one to learning from those God has placed in their lives. We are reminded to maintain this posture - one of being both willing to hear the advice (counsel) of those who God places in our lives AND to be open to spurring another on when we finally find ourselves free of the behavior which had us so emotionally, spiritually, or physically bound.

To embrace truth, we must be open to truth. To be open to truth, we must be willing to shed some of the defenses which we have erected in our pride - the defenses that keep us from admitting we need help, much less asking for it. This often means we "suffer through" the transparency of being "real" with another. In so doing, we are choosing to no longer "enable" our own bad behavior, much less that of another. It is in us choosing humility (the laying down of our own stubborn strength), in really laying down our masks of prideful concealment, that we break free. Not sure if you are being "enabled" or are the "enabler" today. I imagine we all have been both at some point! Regardless of our present "role" - let us be willing to shed our masks of pride - opening up to the possibilities of finally living free of the limitations of that pride! In humbling ourselves, we will find ourselves exalted - right into the arms of God's grace! 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

A brilliant display indeed

Love from the center of who you are ; don’t fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply ; practice playing second fiddle. Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in hard times; pray all the harder. (Romans 12:9-12) Integrity and Intensity don't seem to fit together all that well, but they are uniquely interwoven traits which actually complement each other. "Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it." God asks for us to have some intensity (fervor) in how we love (from the center of who we are), but he also expects us to have integrity in our love as he asks us to be real in our love (don't fake it). They are indeed integral to each other. At first, we may only think of integrity as honesty - some adherence to a moral code within. I believe there is a little more to integrity than meets the eye. In the most literal sense,

Do me a favor

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand. (Philippians 2:1-4) Has God's love made ANY difference in your life? What is that difference? Most of us will likely say that our lives were changed for the good, while others will say there was a dramatic change. Some left behind lifestyles marked by all manner of outward sin - like drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, or even thievery. There are many that will admit the things they left behind were just a bit subtler - what we can call inward sin - things like jealousy,