Archives For humility

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Lent is a season of reflection, traditionally a time of giving up things in order to draw closer to the Lord. I have no problem with this. There are things we all could, and should, give up. How much time, for instance, do we here in America spend watching televisions versus in Bible study and prayer? What about social media–Twitter, Facebook, and other social games (such as Words With Friends).

It certainly would not hurt to spend less time doing those things, or to go without them, during Lent. How much of a sacrifice, however, is giving up Facebook for Lent? In our culture of entitlement, I would say not much at all. It is the sacrifice of the least common denominator, and something which is rather convenient to do.

Folks, it is not a hardship to give up Facebook, or Twitter, during this season. Especially if one announces one’s intentions via social media. That does not bespeak of the humility associated with the Lenten season, and really only serves to self-aggrandize:

“Look at me! I’m giving up social media for Lent. See you in forty days.” (Don’t believe me? Search Twitter. You will see. Or check this article on Gizmodo).

Which is why I’m not giving up social media, blogging, or an online presence during Lent. I am not interested in drawing attention to myself by highlighting my humility (which is really just pride, cleverly disguised). What I am giving up, if I give up anything at all, is between me and my Lord.

If you are giving something up, making a sacrifice of some kind, please don’t tell anyone. Just do it. Let it be between you and Jesus. He already knows all of your idols, inordinate affections, where you spend your time, energy, and attention. My rule is simple: if we are give anything up, it should be something near and dear to us.

Not something outside of us. Because anything outside is merely a symptom of an inner condition. A sacrifice would not necessarily be giving up social media, television, online gaming, etc., but rather laying down our rights, our pride, our arrogance, and our vanity. It is not the thing, but rather the why behind the thing that matters. It is motivation that is key.

And in motivation, the heart is central.

My best advice? Get in a place where you can be quiet before Jesus, and ask Him what–if anything–He wants you to give up this Lenten season. I guarantee the answer will surprise you.

Jesus is like that.

The Utter Humility of God

randomlychad  —  September 27, 2012 — 6 Comments

Forgive me if this isn’t clear, as it has come to me as in a mirror dimly. And like shower-fogged glass, it’s clearing slowly.
My wife and I were at a Bible study, and a question was asked: what’s the most stunning attribute of God? What immediately came to mind was: his humility.

The very notion stunned me.

I don’t know about you, but I have always thought of the Lord as high and lifted up. “As the heavens are high above the earth, so are my ways and thoughts high above yours” declares the Lord.

Very true–yet it misses the mark. Because the Incarnation was his idea! Follow me here:

God consented to humble himself to experience all that is to be human: by the Holy Spirit, he became a clump of cells in Mary’s womb, gestated for nine months, came wet squalling, naked, cold into this world. And was laid in a manger.

Because there was no room for God in the Inn.

He further consented to all the ignomimies of humamity: as an infant, he couldn’t walk, or talk–and soiled himself daily. Think on this!

The very Word, who called the universe into being by his word, couldn’t speak! (“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”). The God who made it all, lying helpless in the care of people he’d made!

That is utter humility!

But he continued, and in a further display of his ways and thoughts being higher, further humbled himself to the death of a cross! The most ignominious death of that era–reserved for common criminals! (“Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”).

But his abject humility didn’t stop there, friends!

In a way, he abases himself still–for he daily deigns to relate to such as you, and me!

He bids us enter into the same kind of relationship he had with his disciples. He calls us friends.

The very God of the universe consents to conspire with us in the universe’s remaking! He humbles himself to converse with such as you and me, bids us enter in to him!

Behold the humility of your God!

Have you humbled yourself today to enter into him? Have you followed his example?

“Humble yourself in the sight of God, he shall lift you up.”

So, Sharideth Smith and I are riding together (along with a whole host of other awesome bloggers) on Bryan Allain’s BlogRocket. She’s guest posting for me here today, and I’m laying some smack down on the ladies over in her crib (hey, turnabout’s fair play, right?). On a related note, in an unfortunate bit–albeit MotorCop approved–of Internet double-parking, I’m also guest posting for Alise Wright. So, please go over there and check out my bearing of soul.

Anyway, with her scintillating snark, and absolutely deadpan sense of of humor, here’s the “Wednesday Addams” of Christian blogging, Sharideth Smith:

'MMA fight' photo (c) 2009, Peter Gordon - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

so the pastor wars are on. maybe not directly between the rock star super shepherds, but battle lines have been drawn among the fans.

fans?

yes. fans.

Continue Reading…

>Recording Graphics by Lloyd Dangle at USC Creativity & Collaborationphoto © 2000 Norman Lear Center | more info (via: Wylio)

It is a truth so axiomatic that it almost goes without saying; almost, but I’ll say it: artists, creative types, are among the most neurotic people I know. And I should know: I’m one of them (is that egotistical to say?).

Therein lies the rub, for what other group of people is there that simultaneously wants to be recognized for their talent(s) while yet feeling extremely bad about being so recognized? Not only that, but we creatives are an insanely jealous lot, given heavily to the sin of comparison. “I wish I could write like…”

There is a great tension that we live in: between feeling–knowing–we have something to say (whether it be written, painted, sculpted, photographed), and doubting the voice with which we say it. There is a tremendous vulnerability here, in self-expression, that leaves us open to these plaguing self-doubts. “How will I be received?” “How will I be perceived?”

In writing this, I feel somewhat like a magician giving up trade secrets, but this I know of a certainty: especially as pertains to creative type work, the ego is so bound up in the work that there is an almost inevitable juxtaposition that occurs, where the lines between the self and the work overlap, blur, become (in our minds) indistinguishable.

And that, I think, is what distinguishes the pro from the amateur: the ability to divorce one’s ego from the work, to take rejection in stride. To realize it’s not necessarily a rejection of the self, but of the work. And that there is more, and better, work ahead.

This is a hard fought battle, one with which I struggle everyday. And I think even more so because I am a Christian. Those reading who are of similar faith will understand. What I mean is that we flog it pretty hard, day-in-and-day-out, trying to get noticed (or our work noticed) and then feel bad for drawing attention to ourselves. There is a particular guilt there that feeds the neuroses mentioned above. We think “where is the humility in drawing this attention to myself?”

It doesn’t have to be this way. We–I–need to embrace the fact that God gave us certain talents, skills, abilities, the exercise of which brings Him glory, honor, and dare I say, pleasure. He put the desire to create there. Embrace it. Be the conduit who, while seemingly drawing attention to the self, is truly pointing others to God. It’s a delicate balance, but it can be done.

I leave you with this: the secret to conquering pride is to be just as proud of another’s work as we are of our own. Of course this requires dying to ourselves everyday.