Tag : humble
Tag : humble
There is no escaping the hurricanes of life that can blow in unexpectedly. Illness, deaths of loved ones and betrayal can happen in an instant. The uncertain times we are living in can turn us upside down. If it were up to me, I’d stay in bed and pull the covers over my head—but that is not what God calls us to do. In 1 Corinthians 16:13 Paul said, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”
I took Hebrew last year. I had always wanted to learn Hebrew and while I do not remember all the words I studied, there is one word that stuck and it is “hazaq.” It means “strong.”
This word “hazaq” is used in Joshua 1:9. You probably know the verse: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Be “hazaq” and of good courage; do not be afraid. God was encouraging Joshua because he was about to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land and there would be a lot of opposition and war in order to capture the territory.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there is a lot of opposition in the world today and we need to be hazaq. I believe we are living in the end of the days prophesied in the Bible. What a privileges to be alive in this season but God chose us for this time in history because we have Chutzpah. Chutzpah is a Yiddish word for the confidence or courage that allows someone to do or say things that may seem shocking to others. In our case, we as believers should not afraid to speak the truth! We will not back down from what we have seen and heard in Christ Jesus.
The prophesy about end times is happening in front of us. Isaiah 5:20 says people will call good evil and evil good. We are seeing that in our own country. The police are bad. Lawlessness is good. Morality is bad. Anything goes is good.
Daniel received many prophecies but in Daniel 12:4 he was told that in the end of time many will run back and forth and knowledge will increase. We’re not living in the Little House on the Prairie anymore. We are over extended. I know I am and running to and fro, to this meeting and to another. On zoom for school meetings and in person for others. Juggling a thousand different things. I am a learner and I love using search engines to look up facts about something I want to know more about. We don’t have to wait for the morning paper to arrive to find out what is going on in the world. Do you remember those days? When the newspaper didn’t show up, you felt disconnected from the world. Those days are gone and now we simply navigate to www.foxnews.com.
It’s all a sign.
Persecution and censorship is also increasing for Christians. Our words and actions are under scrutiny—we can only stand for truth with the undergirding of the hazaq of the LORD.
Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:10, that he’d rather boast about his weaknesses, so that the power of Christ would dwell in him because when he is weak, then he is strong. Isaiah 40:29 says God “gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.” Psalm 73:26 encourages, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
We can only arise in God’s power. The pandemic, now the war over in Ukraine. The crazy weather patterns, the lawlessness. It is a scary time in which we live. It would be easy to shut down and hide in a corner. But as men and women of faith in these last days we have our marching orders.
I played competitive tennis for about ten years, but I knew when it was time to stop when I started tearing every ligament in my body. One day, I pulled my back muscle and I could not get up. It took two women to help me walk. So humbling.
And that is how we need to be in these End Times. We cannot stand alone. We cannot walk one step without God raising us up. We also need each other. Let’s drop the competitiveness and unify to accomplish the work of the LORD.
We have to humble ourselves, fall to our knees and let the LORD infuse His hazaq into our being. It’s the only way we will survive. It’s the only way we can be used as a mouthpiece that glorifies Him.
It’s the key to arising in His power.
My word for the year is “humble.” I’ve been asking myself: “Is that a humble way to act?” “Is that a humble thing to say?” “Is that a humble thought I just had?” I have caught myself many times in prideful thinking and the process of eliminating it reminds me of getting a facial. Before you receive the relaxing massage, you have to go through the extractions, which can hurt a little. God has to extract pride (and it may hurt a little) in order for us to be a more beautiful vessel.
James 4:10 says, “Humble yourself before the LORD and he will lift you up.” 1 Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.”
Sometimes the way God removes pride is to allow humbling circumstances in our lives. I’ve experienced that recently. Over Easter weekend, I badly sprained my foot. While helping to set up a conference near Atlanta over the weekend, I strained my back when lifting a box of books. After that, I could not carry anything heavy and was a little off-balance with both a sprained foot and a bad back. When it was time to leave the Atlanta area, I had to have help taking my suitcase down the stairs. For an independent woman like myself, that was very difficult.
I’ve been reading a Jewish spirituality book called Everyday Holiness by Alan Morinis. Morinis says one way to be humble is to make space in our lives to listen to others, even ones who happen to hold a lesser station, rank or intellectual attainment. He then told the story of a rabbi who made what appeared to be an arrogant statement. The rabbi said, “I’m smarter than a thousand men.” However, after saying that, he followed with: “Because of that, my obligation to serve God is also that of a thousand men.” The greater our capacity, the more we need to use for God’s glory. He wants our gifts to spill out to others.
God’s kingdom is upside down. The way up is down to our knees placing our lives at the feet of Jesus. When we do that, he raises us up in His power.
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2).
Will you consider taking the pride test for a month? Ask yourself the questions I ask myself daily:
“Is that a humble way to act?”
“Is that a humble thing to say?”
“Is that a humble thought I just had?”
This practice has changed my life and it could transform yours as well.
Will you join me for POP Chat tomorrow night from 6:30-7:30 p.m. CT? I’ll be sharing a message I believe God gave me called “The Majesty of His Mercy.” Our worship leader is gifted flautist Katherine Legg. If you would like to sign up for a wonderful time of teaching, worship, fellowship and discussion, just click on the link:
 Alan Morinis, Everyday Holiness, (Boulder: Trumpeter, 2007), 51.
Every year I ask God for a word to live by, but some years I like the word more than others. I remember the year my word was “sacrifice.” In 2016, we downsized our home and I went back to work part-time. We sacrificed so I could continuing doing ministry.
This year I believe my word is “humble” so what does that look like? Living out this word results in a lot of daily questions like: “Was that a humble thing to say?” “Was that a humble way to act?” “Do my thoughts reflect humility?” I am thinking more before I speak in an effort to avoid creating any insecurity in the person to whom I am speaking.
We are only eight days into the New Year and I have already failed. We are in Florida this weekend and last night we were out to dinner with a childhood friend of my husband’s and his wife. At some point he said, “Weren’t you working on a book?” I should have responded, “Yes, I wrote an apologetics book last year to reach my Jewish brothers and sisters.” Instead, I said “I’ve written ten books.” Do you see the difference? I wanted him to know that I had not written only one book. There were more. This was not humble! So, I am not perfect, but I have another 357 days to get it right.
Jesus wants us to be humble like He is humble. Philippians 2:3–4 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
Do you put others before yourself? Do you speak only of yourself in a conversation, rather than try to engage the other person? Do you try to one up someone’s story? In that same passage it says that Jesus, even though He was God, took on the form of a servant, and made himself nothing. I have had to undo some pride learned in a near twenty year television career, and I’ve realized while I am valuable to God, I am not that important in the world. I am just a microscopic part of a mammoth plan formed by the Creator.
So as I round this bend into 2022, I also desire to be like John the Baptist who said, “He must increase and I must decrease” (John 3:30, NIV).
Happy New Year and I pray that God will give you a word for the year as well.
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