Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Vanity and Humility

A young believer is plagued by the nagging thought that she is worthless and hopeless, "lame, stupid and unenjoyable". She wonders why it is that "I just don't get why I am such a pathetic person, and yet He has stooped down and put His hand over my life. Praise God! He is truly good, and I will never get my hands around that."

Praise God, indeed! And if you keep trying to get your head around that truth, my young padawan, you will find it stretching to do so, and able to grip more and more of it over your lifetime.

There is both vanity and humility in these thoughts. The vanity is a deadly danger, the very one that brought that shining angel Lucifer down to Hell. The humility is the gracious, God-given ability we all need from God to be able to call on Him.

The vanity is this: We all want some worth apart from God. We want to be able to regard ourselves as having some self-gotten, intrinsic value independent from God that makes us worthy to have been chosen of Him. We just have a hard time with the fact that if there is any good in us at all, it doesn't come from us but originated from the One Who made us in the first place. If we are artistic, it is because God has bestowed that gift on us. If we are responsible and careful, it is because God has made us that way. If we are at all pretty to look at, we had nothing to do with it.

The humility is this: If we have any value, it is because God ascribes it to us in that from all eternity He made a place for us in His plan, and brought us forth at just the right time with all the right equipment, and gave His own life shielding us, His chosen ones, from the consequence of our rebellion. Humility realises the obligation we have to use our artistic talents, our common sense and carefulness, our looks even, to serve him as we have been equipped. What soldier, after all, takes the sword and shield he has been given to fight his master's battles, to make himself a name apart from the one he serves? The righteous soldier fights valiantly, making himself a name of fealty and honor and valor in his Lord's cause. If he gathers himself and army to rally under himself and departs to conquer himself a name, will not the master go out to war against him as a traitor?

Look at your equipment, young believer, modest or weighty as it may be, as it has been given you. Yes, make a name by the way you use it, but let yourself be known as one who uses it in valor for the Lord's cause, for it is He Who has equipped you.

"I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure."
Luke 10:19-21

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