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Humility Comes Before Honor
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Years ago as a young girl at my parents' home, a storm blew up suddenly. It was around the Thanksgiving holidays, so a whole room full of siblings and cousins were sitting around talking and laughing. The wind blew the door open. Some one got up to close it and said, "It's a tornado! It's coming straight for us!"
Everyone flew to the windows. We could see the funnel cloud moving slowly toward us. It destroyed 2 churches and a general store in its path toward us. Each building it destroyed, we watched door sills, refrigerators, trees, portions of fence swirl up into the cloud. After a few minutes of watching this, we began to panic. Some one shouted, "We're all going to die!"
Not caring who did it with me, I dropped to my knees and began to pray, "Father save us." Pretty soon every one was on their knees praying. Well he did just that – saved us. Two houses away from us the tornado turned; traveled along our grandparents' fence & property line into a nearby forest and disappeared.
After that experience, I examined what I really believed deep inside. Any kind of storm will cause most to reflect and look inside. But you know we don't have to wait for a storm. We can choose to reflect and look inside. At the beginning of the year 2007 is a good time.
Have you thought about what you truly believe inside, lately? You know what you believe in your inner most self (your deepest heart.) Sometimes, what we really believe gets buried as we go about our daily lives. We don't think about what we believe until we're tested.
Over the coming months, Varn and I begin teaching our CORE VALUE SERIES. We believe the Spirit of God wants us (the Body of Christ) to take time to examine our belief systems and values. Who knows what's ahead for us? Before that open statement takes on a negative slant. Have you considered God may be getting ready to pour out such a powerful season of blessing on you and your family's life that he wants you rooted and grounded before he releases it?
Join us, as we prepare our hearts for what's ahead in God. In the coming article series, Varn and I examine what our core values are as Church, ministry and servant leaders called to serve God. We will cover 7 core values we practice: 1. humility, 2. servant leadership, 3. diversity, 4. excellence, 5. right priorities, 6. giving and 7. teamwork.
Have you noticed as sure as 'pride comes before a fall' – humility comes before honor? Before your next promotion, you can be sure an opportunity to show humility will come. We all know God resists the proud but he draws near the humble in heart. Yet many of us miss the mark because we seek to be great. When we need only humble ourselves and God will handle the GREAT part.
The Word of God says to humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God. (1 Pe. 5:6) This means we don't have to pray, "Lord make me humble" anymore. It's our responsibility to humble ourselves.
Even so, I am not saying God doesn't participate in making us humble. You might remember when Moses explained the wilderness experience to the Israelites in Deut. 8:2-18 para., "…remember the Lord your God led you all these years in the wilderness to humble you and test you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not…" Any mature Christian will tell you, after Father God gets through disciplining us – pride is gone.
Let me give you an analogy of refining metal to illustrate how He sometimes participates in cultivating humility in our life. In refining silver or gold, the metal is put through intense heat, more than several times to remove dross and impurities.
Each time, the gold or silver comes out improved, more clear and precise. To grow in humility we must cooperate with (trust) God. We must yield to his seasons of intense heat. Practice humility. Each time we exercise humility, we grow. To keep growing in the attitude of humility:
Keep a good attitude. Your attitude is key to walking in humility. Remember the Psalmist prayed, "God create in me a clean heart and renew in me a right spirit (attitude.) Ps. 51:10. Pride can't easily sneak up on you when you maintain a good attitude. A good attitude even positions you for God's promotion.
Cultivate a grateful heart. Have you noticed its impossible to be prideful in the midst of gratefulness. Self-centeredness usually walks with pride. Gratefulness turns the attention away from yourself and gives it to the person you are grateful to. Be thankful to God and grow in humility.
Practice humility. Don't be a perfectionist. The fact that everything has to be perfect is a signal of false humility –even pride. Parents, there's nothing wrong with having high standards for your children. But every now and then apply some grace to your child's mistake.
Remember you made some too; may be even the same ones. Another good practice to cultivate humility is: I know you are leader and leading well. But every now and then acknowledge there's some one else that God could use just as well. Admit that even you can be replaced.
DEAD MAN WALKING
Have you taken the death walk? I believe every leader that has great destiny on their life will have to take this walk. I know many of you are asking, "What's a death walk?" It been called different titles but for me this title describes it best.
The 'death walk' is when the Holy Spirit calls us to die to our self (our selfish desires & ambitions.) With that death, circumstances may come to us that appear as a demotion, rejection, setbacks, abandonment and even feeling forsaken. As some of you already know, this is only the tip of the iceberg that the death walk may bring.
But before you get depressed and tune me out. Don’t forget all this is being ordered by the Holy Spirit. Have you seen a person in leadership acting arrogant, lately? Maybe prideful or just plan mean. If you've seen such a person, you can be sure they haven't been through the death walk recently.
The Lord speaks to Earma and me often in dreams and visions. Once she dreamed, we (she and I) were being led through this extremely narrow place. It was so narrow we couldn't carry any baggage. According to her we had a lot. We had to drop every bag and every suitcase. We could only take ourselves.
The best part of the vision is when we passed through we came out in this beautiful spacious place. You may be going through a tight place in your life. But you can be encouraged God is with you and there's a blessing on the other side. The Word says the lord chasten those he loves. Heb 12:6 for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth.
This is a difficult subject. So I don’t want you to feel that I'm angry or mad while I’m writing this. Far from it, I feel the total opposite. This is peaceful for me because I’ve walked through several; I know the end results.
Joseph will be the best scripture story to base this truth on. In Gen: 37-3 Israel loved Joseph more than all his children. I know you remember how his father gave him a beautiful multi colored coat. His brothers hated him for it. Oh yes a good side note, favor and the death walk often travel together.
Back to the story, his ten brothers threw him in a pit, and thought to kill him but sold him. Gen 37:28 his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.
So Joseph is sold as a slave in Egypt to Potiphar and later accused of raping his wife. Gen 39:21 But the lord was with Joseph. This reminds us that the lord is still with us when you go through the tough times (the death walk.)
Joseph was there a very long time some say ten to fifteen years. To make a long story short, his gift made his way. He interpreted the Pharaoh's dream. The Pharaoh promoted him to be second to him. Joseph saved the kingdom from a major famine that would have destroyed everything and most of all saved the house of Israel.
The point of this story is, "the lord used the time Joseph spent in prison and the troubles he had with his brothers to change his heart." I believe the amount of time he spent in exile & prison was the amount of time it took for God to deal with his heart. He had to be able to forgive his brothers in order to be a good authority over his family and kingdom.
So if you are right in the middle of a death walk, the best thing for you to do is to die. Let the old man die and the new man come forth in Christ. Our Lord, the Christ, is looking for fruit that will remain. You can know at the end of every death walk comes a promotion. If we are willing and obedient we will eat the best in the land.
In his service, Varn Brown
Be quick to repent. Repentance is good for the soul. And yes, it takes humility to repent. To admit that you are wrong in anything grows humility in your life. Did you just finished screaming at the kids or at your employees?
Maybe what you said was right but how you delivered it could use some work – some extra patience. Practice humility; go apologize. Don't worry; they won't lose respect. They will respect you more and you will grow in what virtue? Yes, humility.
Die to the old man (life.) You truly are a new creation in Christ. You are not that old person. You're not supposed to act like the old man either. You know the one that used to curse the kids, the dog and everything in sight. O.k. so you grew up in the Church and you never cursed the kids.
But have you talked ugly about your neighbor or held a grudge for longer than you want to admit? Have you felt prideful about all the things you haven't done like your sinful brother? In Christianese, a definition for dying is 'letting go.' Let go of the old to receive the new in Christ.
Don't be afraid to let go of the old to receive the new. Or even walk the 'death walk' as Varn so eloquently taught us. Jesus said to us, "if you love your life you will lose it. If you give it up in this world, you gain eternal life." It's a principle of God, whatever you release to him you will gain so much more. Let go; be humble and receive God's best – his promotion.