A Humble Heart Remains….

As I was talking to my husband about this upcoming post, he gave such a great analogy regarding this particular subject.  He said when he is aiming at a target downrange if you are just a little off it will impact your ability to hit the target.  It may not seem like you are off that much yet as the bullet travels away from the gun the trajectory which started just a little off will make a big difference downrange.  How far off have you been or are you now about your view of God?  How far off are your core values to His?  It again points to the starting point which is how you view God that allows a direct hit of a target downrange.

For so long I held on to a belief system that I had to prove myself worthy of God’s love.  I didn’t realize that I said one thing-“God loves me!” while at the same time deep within myself believing I had to do everything right to keep His love.  This is a wrong core value or starting point.  This way of thinking sent me hitting targets like: I am not good enough, I will never be good enough, I hate myself because I can’t get it right, God hates me, the whole world hates me because if God hates me then how in the world could I love myself much less anyone else.  I just NEVER could perform in excellence like….well…..Jesus did.  I was told I must emulate Jesus in every way and I found myself lacking…day after day.  Now WHAT!?!?!!!  I didn’t give up on God….but I believe we see a generation that quite frankly….IS.  Why are they?  I believe because they are starting at the wrong starting point with their view of God.

In my last post, It Truly Can’t Get Any Better, I promised to write about the “law of liberty” found in James.  It is important we have the correct view of God to fully understand this concept “law of liberty”. Many in the church see this “law” as “right behavior”–“Do this, but don’t do that!”.  Yet, early Christians understood this to mean something completely different…..or maybe they just started at the right starting point. Let’s dig into the words here (info comes from biblehub.com):

Law-Nomos (3551)-This word must be taken in context to understand what law is being talked about….I can hear my English teacher: context, context, context!!!  The law regarding the Christian faith is used only 4 times in scripture: Roman 3:27 Law of faith; Galatians 6:2 Law of love; and James 1:25 and James 2:12 Law of “liberty”.

Liberty-Eluthria (1657)-“Freedom, liberty, a state of freedom from slavery”. Freedom from the dominion of corrupt desires, so that we do by FREE IMPULSE of the SOUL what the will of God requires.  There is a note in biblehub.com it states see Epistle of Barnabas 2,6. Which led me to the Epistle…which in turn led me to the scripture in Psalms 51:

 

 

 

As I meditated on this scripture and the meaning of the “Law of Liberty”, I distinctly heard the Lord say to me:

“A Humble Heart is required when you become a Christian to even accept such a free gift; it continues to take a Humble Heart to run the race and realize it is not about you—your behavior or your “goodness” but about Me, My behavior and Goodness.”

That was so good to hear and yet I knew there was more He wanted to articulate to me.  And of course it came….I needed to understand the word HUMILITY.

Now let’s look at HUMILITY in the Greek:

Tapeinophrosune-5012-humility-

(a noun, derived from 5011 /tapeinós, “low, humble” and 5424 /phrḗn, “moderation as regulated by inner perspective”) – properly, low; humility, “lowliness” of human pride (self-government); that quality of mindset of “having a humble opinion of oneself, i.e. a deep sense of one’s (moral) littleness – i.e. lowliness of mind” (J. Thayer). In Scripture, 5012 /tapeinophrosýnē (“lowliness, humility”) is an inside-out virtue. produced by comparing ourselves to the Lord (rather than to others)… For the believer, 5012 /tapeinophrosýnē (“humility”) means living in complete dependence on the Lord, i.e. with no reliance on self (the flesh). The word occurs neither in the O. T., nor in secular authors.

I have written a little about this in, It’s an Inside Job.  When we compare ourselves to Christ we will always fall short. In this, we realize we need a Savior and must always rely on His Finished Work and the Holy Spirit working inside us; not our own ability (self/flesh) that produces any “right behavior”. This is humility, as a Christian: realizing it isn’t your ability that is creating any right behavior but His Spirit in you changing you from the inside out. Who the Son sets free is free indeed. (John 8:36) Free from the carnal desires of the old corrupt self. Simply live from that truth. Remember the word “liberty” in Greek means our soul, because of what Jesus accomplished on the Cross for us and He sent us His Holy Spirit to dwell within us, will by FREE IMPULSE do what the will of God is and we are free, no longer slaves, to our old corrupt desires.  This is the truth, the fact that we live from.  This is what James is telling people.  He says, “Talk and act like a person expecting to be judged by the Rule that sets us free.” (James 2:12) We, in truth or in fact, live from the place of freedom from our old nature.  It is dead and we now live as a new creation, alive with the Holy Spirit within us.  Are we perfect, NO of course not—Jesus was and is the ONLY PERFECT SACRIFICE.

For me to hit the bulls eye downrange I needed to start at the right point.  The starting point is simple: God loves me no matter what before I was a Christian and after I accept His free gift.  This is Grace.  I used to believe God loved me before I was a Christian but now that I am a Christian I have to earn His love, favor and protection.  See this slight difference makes a HUGE difference downrange.  This wrong starting point puts me back under a law that I was never intended to be able to perform.

I also came to better understand that I have complete dependence on God.  Yet even that understanding had to come from the right starting point.  I finally realized I can not make myself behave or do right…..but He changes my thinking, my actions and He does this from the inside and it naturally becomes outward actions.  Do I always get it right…..no!  But does He still love me and has He already paid the price for my mistakes….YES!!  Do I spend hours with Him….of course I do….HE LIVES IN ME!  He is there 24/7 in ME!!!!!!  Do I make it a religious thing….certainly not…He told me to let go of the rules.  He wanted me….all of me…flaws and beauty…the whole package.  He didn’t want a robot or someone ultra religious, trying to look holy or make myself holy….He knew it was just an act…just me relying on my flesh to make myself holy.  But now I understand He truly makes me holy 100%…not because I have done everything right or performed A, B and C…..and don’t forget about D….heaven forbid I forget D…I say this in jest, but honestly that is how I used to live.  No more…I live from a place of freedom.  No longer a slave but a daughter of the Most High King.  Holy because He is holy, Righteous because He is righteous, Fully forgiven because Jesus paid for all my sins and Saved because He rose from the dead.  Simple faith that grows inside which is a free gift from God that I receive.  According to Psalm 51:16-17, He does not want us going through the motions or IMG_1502a flawless performance….yet He does desire broken pride and a shattered heart.  Humility is the opposite of pride.  It took humility to realize I needed saving and righteousness in the first place.  It takes humility to realize Jesus is the only One Who paid the price to give to the world salvation and righteousness. Humility must remain after we accept the free gift because that is the place we live from knowing that it isn’t us that changes our inward parts but God through His Spirit in us……that is GRACE.

It Is Not This Way Among You…

One of my favorite stories in American History is about George Washington, after he was elected President.  There were men that wanted aplomb and a lavish entry for President Washington.  It became quite clear to George that they wanted to make him like a “king” instead of a person like everyone else that is trying the best he can with a government that was designed by the people, for the people.  George made it very clear he was not interested in looking “kingly” by saying, “I didn¹t fight George III to become George I.” George fully understood they had just fought a war not to have a king; why would we want to go back to what we fought so hard to leave?  When I had read that story years ago, it had reminded me of the Israelites wanting their own King just like all the neighboring people. Samuel warned them, told them they would not be happy with this choice and tried to convince them their King was better than any human king.  Yet, still they wanted to be just like everyone else…so they got Saul.  Humanity always is looking for a king in their life….I believe it is because God put the desire in us….we just need to look for it in the right place not at humanity but at God.

As humans, we tend to do what the Israelites did.  We tend to look at the story of Saul and David through the wrong starting point or the wrong perception. Maybe it is because this is what we have been taught for years in regards to this story.  Here is how I have learned what this story about David and Saul means maybe it is the same for you:

  • David did the honorable thing by not killing Saul so Christians should always treat their leaders with honor even if the leaders are not treating them with honor.
  • David never talked badly about Saul so we as Christians should never talk badly about leaders.
  • God took care of Saul and his wickedness so Christians need to just sit back and let God take care of the problems with leadership.
  • David then got promoted because of his good behavior so Christians you need to behave and then you will be promoted too.

These have tended to be the underlying theme in almost any message I have heard over the years about this story. Today though I would like to share a fresh perspective I believe came from the Lord to help me see Him and His Kingdom in His way (repentance).

As I pondered this story with the Lord, I felt He asked me a question.  That question was what might have happened if David had instead killed Saul in those two opportunities (1 Samuel 24 and 26).   The possibility that came to my mind was that maybe Jonathon wouldn’t have died at the hands of the Philistines. Now, I don’t know that for sure but I know God doesn’t ask a question just to ask…for me it is usually to get me asking Him questions…or He follows up with scripture for me.  He wanted me to take the timeline of Saul’s life (1 Samuel), why the people wanted a king (1 Samuel 10:17-19), Samuel’s warning to the people (1 Samuel 8:10-22), the point that David had already been anointed as the next king (1 Samuel 16:12-23)(he was righteous because of his faith in God (Psalm 32) and David fully understood where his authority came from–remember Goliath (1 Samuel 17:31-58)), David was never stripped by God from his kingship even though he made multiple mistakes and did not always act ‘honorably’, Saul killed himself and the Philistines killed his sons then beheaded Saul and fastened all their bodies to a rock (1 Samuel 31:1-13).  Next, He took me to the story of the sons of Zebedee. Remember when their mother came and asked Jesus for her sons to sit on His right and left (a place of honor) and Jesus said it was not His to give. Jesus used this very moment to teach and to help change His disciples thinking (repentance) about how leadership looks in the Kingdom of God. Here is what He said:

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”(Matthew 20:20-25, emphasis mine)

As I read this verse, I sensed Holy Spirit telling me the way this story of David and Saul has been taught is well….wrong.  The natural tendency for humanity is to want power, to lord it over people and for people to want to be led by a human rather than God Himself.  What really happens when this story is taught this way leads to a “Saul” or “Gentile thinking” leadership trying to be taught as the way the Kingdom works and this then causes a people who are reliant on leadership/pastors rather than the Holy Spirit who is now living in and through them.  Yet as Jesus said….It is NOT that way among you.  When we continue to use this story to speak of leaders as “kings/queens” (like Saul) and how laity (David) is to act towards them is well–detrimental to both the leaders Christ put in place and the people. I believe this story is used by pastors and teachers to “keep their sheep in line”, and makes people reliant on humans rather than a Father in Heaven who gave them a Holy Spirit because God truly desires direct communication with His Beloved. Jesus made this very clear when He said:

“Don’t let people do that to you, put you on a pedestal like that. You all have a single Teacher, and you are all classmates. Don’t set people up as experts over your life, letting them tell you what to do. Save that authority for God; let him tell you what to do. No one else should carry the title of ‘Father’; you have only one Father, and he’s in heaven. And don’t let people maneuver you into taking charge of them. There is only one Life-Leader for you and them—Christ.” Matthew 23:8-10 MSG.

Jesus was making it so very clear that the playing field was level in the Kingdom of Heaven.  The people should not make it difficult for the leaders to serve, by not putting them on a pedestal and expecting the leaders to be Holy Spirit for them. Yet, what I have seen happen far too many times is leadership isn’t serving but lording it over the people and using the story of David and Saul to rally their ability to act in such a way. This then leads the people to be reliant on the leaders instead of God.  This can also in turn cause the enablement of pastors and leaders to spiritually abuse people, all in the name of God. The so-called “silence of David” is continually used to perpetuate another great crime against God’s Beloved Body (both leaders and people). The way this story has been taught for soimage many years have caused a great disservice to both leader and people.

It is time for the church to take a fresh look at a wonderful story with a fresh starting point that comes from the God’s Kingdom, not man’s.

Maybe what we need to teach with this Old Testament story is how God had opened up choices to David and even though he didn’t take those choices God was still with David because David believed (faith) and how secular government or a pastor/leader will never be able to be a substitute for the great, good and noble Heavenly King.  We need to remember in the New Covenant all people who believe in Who Jesus is receives the Holy Spirit.  Jesus truly leveled the playing field when He went and embraced the Cross for the whole world.

To see more of what I wrote on this subject read, Because of Christ Believers in Him are Seated in Heavenly Places