Tag Archive for humility

Don’t Be The Centerpiece Of Your Life

boy in mirrorJoy Is Not Found In The Mirror

Most of my days are spent thinking about and relying on myself. It’s really one of the most natural and most depressing things I could ever do. True joy comes from have a healthy level of self-forgetfulness. This is something that it has taken me many years to realize and I still struggle at putting it into practice.

One of the first times that this wisdom hit home to me was when I began reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. In this timeless missive Lewis writes:

Whenever we find that our religious life is making us feel that we are good… above all, that we are better than someone else… I think we may be sure that we are being acted on, not by God, but by the devil. The real test of being in the presence of God is, that you either forget about yourself all together or see yourself as a small, or dirty object. It is better to forget about yourself altogether.

The subtlety of allowing yourself to become the centerpiece of your life is frightening. In my life this sin manifests itself in a number of ways such as:

1. I begin to get impatient with others when I drive

2. I begin to care more about entertaining myself than I do spending time reading and in quiet meditation and prayer.

3. I care way too much about what others think of me.

4. I become self-contained and don’t enjoy the company of others as much.

5. I get moody and tend to be less joyful.

So when I see the warning signs, I have to put on the brakes and ask the Lord to help me become small so that I can delight in how big He is. This brings joy and peace very quickly. It also restores balance to relationships. It keeps you from expecting from others or yourself what you can only get from God.

I don’t always appreciate it, but the following verse is grace unimaginable

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.
– 2 Corinthians 4:7

I am free to be a clay jar because of the beautiful love of Christ that He has put in me. I can be weak and inferior because He is strong and superior and He loves me.

Lord I believe this, help my unbelief.

Who is the centerpiece of your life?

My Top 3 Reasons Why I Don’t Want To Live In Community

Editor’s Comment: This is a guest post written by one of my sisters in Christ, Mrs. Leslie Washburn. In my post last week entitled Turning A Page I said that I intend for this blog to be more of a community blog and so here is the walk for my talk. I want to thank Leslie for being courageous enough to do this and I urge you to learn more about her at the end of this post.

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Hand-up Back AwayIf you’ve been reading this blog, you have a good understanding on what it means to live in community and the Biblical reasons for doing so. I believe these reasons absolutely and the Spirit has been working in my life (and by my life, I mean the life of my husband and I) to ingrain these truths on my heart. I love the idea of living as community, I think it honors Christ and shows a beautiful picture of grace and the gospel to those inside the community and those seeing it from outside. But, the problem is, living in Biblical community is hard. It hurts and it takes a lot of effort, so I’m posting my top 3 reasons why I don’t want to live in community, in no particular order.

 

1 – I have to let people in

2 – I have to get over myself

3 – I have to love other people

 

I have to let people in.

Try as I might, community isn’t possible alone, or even effectively with 2 people (sorry hubby). So, for me to live in community, I have to let other people into my life. This gets scary and hard in a hurry. This means I have to get to know people, and not on a surface level what’s your name/age/occupation. I have to really get to know them. When they ask me how I’m doing, I can’t give my pre-programmed “fine”. I have to ask questions about their lives and care about their responses. Spend time sharing life with them, learn who they are as a person, and what the Lord is doing in their lives. Actually listen while they talk, become intimate friends and trust them.

 

Whoa. Time out. Trust them? Yep, I said it. To me, apart from the gospel, trust is the largest (and hardest) building block for community. You see, my problem is, as great as people are, they’re not perfect. So this means at some point or another, this person is more than likely going to hurt/disappoint/fail me. I’m not being pessimistic here, just realistic. (And I know enough about my own heart and past to know that it’s been true of me, and I don’t think it’s an isolated issue with myself.) Now I have to let someone in to my life, share intimately with them, all the while knowing this non-perfect thing is true? And I have to be trustworthy for them? And I have to look at them as righteous and forgiven because Christ bought it for them? Yep. Ohhh man.

 

I have to get over myself.

Living in community requires open, honest, authentic relationships between its members, so to be in community, I have to live an open, honest, and authentic life. The carefully constructed bubble to show only the best side of myself that I’ve been perfecting since I was a child has to burst, and honestly, I’m not sure I want it to. I like my bubble. I like people only thinking great things about me, the things I want them to think about because it’s all I’ve shown them. I like looking great on the outside because the inside isn’t so pretty most of the time. Living without the bubble is scary, and it carries serious consequences for how I live my life from here on out.

 

Living without the bubble means no more hiding behind the facades that have so long been my protection. My sin is open before my own eyes and the eyes of others. They know my secret, that I’m not really that great, that I have struggles and pride and unbelief. They know that I don’t have 4 hour quiet times every day and that my prayer life is erratic. They know the truth and I can’t lie to gloss over ugliness anymore. They know my life is, GASP, messy!

 

I have to love people.

This is where the community slope gets even slipperier. These trustworthy people that I’ve been sharing life with, who now know I’m a sinner, I have to love them. And not in a cursory luv ya sense, in a I love you and am committed to this relationship in a God honoring gospel living sense. Shoot. I’m good at the luv ya love. Great at it actually. I can cook a meal when someone has a baby and say I’m praying for you and send a note like you would not believe. But the bearing your burdens with you, mourn when you mourn, rejoice when you rejoice gospel kind of love, that’s a bit more challenging.

 

This love is challenging because I have to actually spend time with people to know how to love them and to know what kind of love they need at that time, really be involved in their lives. (Obviously they don’t know how busy I am with myself and my things and the burdens I’m carrying or they would not be asking for this type of love.) This means that I have to get my hands dirty in the mess of their lives like they do in mine. And not only are my hands dirty in their mess, I’m up to my eyeballs in it, sharing it with them. Carrying it when they can’t, dragging them through it when they can’t stand under it, and all the while I’m supposed to love and encourage them in the gospel AND be thankful AND honor Christ in my heart? Seriously?

 

 

So there they are, my top 3 reasons why I don’t want to live in community, and I assure you, there are plenty more where those came from. I am more selfish, prideful, and sinful than you would ever believe, unless of course you’re in that group of people who have intimate, trusting, honest, messy, inside the bubble relationships with me, those folks aren’t surprised at all.

What are your reasons for not wanting to live in community?

 

leslie washburn Meet The Guest Author

Leslie Washburn is making her blog debut in fine form sharing her thoughts about Biblical community. She and her husband Derek have been married 5 years and are active members in their local church. They both have a strong desire to become better practitioners of biblical community with the people that the Lord has placed around them. Leslie loves to read authors such as Tim Keller, C.S. Lewis, and J.K. Rowling. When she is not reading, she and her husband enjoy cheering on the Wolfpack of NC State University.

God Want’s Christians To Pester and Bother Him

I admit I have always been prideful in my prayer life. That is to say, I make an effort to get by without God until I get in over my head. I sometimes reason that this matter is too small for God, or this health concern is just God’s way of purifying me so I just need to suck it up and keep on going. These sentiments are froth with pride and deny God the opportunity to show Himself the loving heavenly Father that he truly is. I believe this as I write it but I guarantee you I will be struggling with it 30 minutes from now. So to help me remember, and maybe it will help you too, I post the following sermon montage by Matt Chandler, pastor of the Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas. Enjoy!

 

HT: Tim Challies

The Power Of Moral Authority

mother-teresa
“Because power corrupts, society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.”

– John Adams

President Adams was right on the money when he made the previous statement. Power does corrupt and the only safeguard against such corruption is moral authority. There is one aspect of his statement, however, that sadly doesn’t apply to us today. I am convinced that many in our society don’t demand moral authority in their leaders because they neither have it nor do they even know what it is.

The best way to define moral authority is by illustration. In 1994 then President Bill Clinton invited Mother Teresa to speak at the annual National Prayer Breakfast. She, in her calm demeanor, stood in the face of a host of left-leaning and outright liberal political types and delivered an address that called into question the worldview and practice of many in the room. Here is a short excerpt of her address:

But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child – a direct killing of the innocent child – murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love, and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even his life to love us. So the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love – that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts. By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems. And by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching the people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. That is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.

No one stood and jeered her. No one booed her or tried to shout her down. In fact, some observers recall that the room was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. How could a poor, old woman like this silence the mouths of America’s liberal elite? The answer is that she had moral authority. Her life of service, love and devotion to the poor, and dying of Calcutta had earned her the right to be heard.

As authentic Christians we are called to be salt and light. We are to preserve from and prevent evil while pointing the way to Christ. We can only do this when we have harnessed the power of moral authority just like Mother Teresa. This means loving God with all our soul, mind, heart and strength and loving our neighbors as ourselves.

How well are you doing? Does your talk line up with your walk? Do you even bother to speak out against wrong and injustice? Do involve yourself in things that will allow you to make a difference? I hope your answer to these questions is yes, but most of all I hope that you begin to harness the power of moral authority.