Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I Don't Deserve This

“God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.” James 4:6

God’s Word is very direct and it is always truthful—it is a powerful discerner of both the thoughts and intents of the heart! This must be fully understood and believed, or it will not change us, as it is promised to do. We may read it, study it, hear sermons preached about it, take notes on what we hear—we may even teach its truth ourselves—but it will have no effect upon us, unless we believe it to be true.

When reading verses like this in James, we may breeze past them with a sigh of relief, praising God for His acceptance of us and therefore the promised abundant grace at our disposal at all times. But could our gratefulness be insincere? Could our sigh of relief actually be an avoidance of introspection from the Almighty? What is pride…what does it mean to be humble?

The English word humble comes from the Latin word humus, which means earth. Webster’s defines humility as not being arrogant or assertive, reflecting a spirit of discretion and submission. The Greek word that James used in chapter four, indicates that of disposition—taking on the manner of lowliness, whether choosing that position or being forcefully placed in that position—regarding a certain circumstance. God gives grace, James declares, to those who purposefully dwell in a state of surrender, regardless of what is happening around them—regardless of what is happening to them. This is where it begins to break down. This is where I personally can begin to “cover up” my pride and deceive even myself that it does not exist in my own heart.

Pride is a hindrance to our inheritance. Can you reflect inner peace at the same time you are being falsely accused? Can you sing for joy despite the pain being inflicted? Have you ever known contentment within a situation you pray will change? Have you been given Christ-like love for those who irritate you? Do you own the ability to endure whatever may come? We are promised these realities through the Spirit—but we will never experience a single one without the willingness to “turn the other cheek to those who strike [us]” (Lamentations 3:30 NLT). Jeremiah preaches in Lamentations, chapter three, that it is good “to submit to the yoke” and that there is blessed hope only to those who “lie face down in the dust” (vs. 26-30 NLT). We are not given the choice to suffer insult or not—but we are always given the ability to choose humility in the midst of it!

If pride is the hindrance to gaining these precious possessions, then I believe that our attitude is the manifestation of that pride. The definition of a DRA (my mom’s creation—translated, dirty rotten attitude) can be summed up in 4 little words: “I don’t deserve this!”

Attitude is a response—a bad attitude is a bad response! I don’t wake up deciding to be grumpy, unforgiving, or just plain mean, just for the fun of it. No—it is because someone rubbed me the wrong way, it is because I was treated unfairly, it is because God continues to allow prayers to remain unanswered, and I, arrogantly choose to respond incorrectly. I take these situations, situations beyond my control, and I decide the best way to deal with them (which is, whatever makes me feel better, of course). It brings some sort of relief to strike out at that which causes pain. Although this is sin, it is easily justified—I am experiencing pain, or rejection, or frustration at the hand of another—and my flesh convinces me that I can take care of the problem as I see fit!

Are you guilty of choosing attitudes according to how they make you feel? Are you willing to humble yourself in only certain situations—willing to forgive certain people and not others? We must be very careful of this—the promise of God’s grace comes after the declaration of his judgment! He tells us that He will resist those who choose to resist Him. When we resist what He is allowing, as if we deserve better, we are resisting Him. Again, this is strong language and not something we would easily admit to. We don’t have to—God defines what it means to resist Him, for us—and therefore we are without excuse! “The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy” (James 3:5).

What makes you sinless?—committing one error in comparison to your neighbor who has committed a hundred? What makes you humble?—all the right responses you have chosen in comparison to the one little attitude you are holding on to that says, “I don’t deserve this!”? There is great danger in this kind of thought process. We deserve hell!

“Be afflicted and mourn and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up” (James 3:9-10).

When we choose to not put on humility we bring the judgment upon ourselves. We are essentially telling the Lord, “I don’t need You—I don't need more peace or more love or more contentment,” and His response is, “Okay!” With His arm stretched out against us, He purposefully turns His face away! Our behavior measures out His mercy! That is what James is teaching! You want grace abounding more and more? “Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded” (James 3:8).

Humility says, “I am nothing! You, O Lord, are everything! I don’t deserve this; I deserve far worse. It is Your blood that redeems me. Show me my sin! Help me not to evaluate the sin of another—even those sins that are committed against me. I surrender to You completely. I choose, right now, to lie face down before Your throne, and I trust You alone to lift me up!”

He will, for “the Lord is good unto them that wait for Him…although He cause grief, yet will He have compassion according to the multitude of His mercies” (Lamentations 3:25, 32).

“God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.” James 4:6

3 comments:

  1. Welcome to the blogosphere!! Yay! Can I add you to my links??

    Love you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Deana. My blogspot address should have been easier to remember!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dear Deana! You have a gift! "I don't deserve this" prompted me to look closer at my responses to certain situations. Humility, you write, - is to purposefully dwell in a state of surrender. I catch myself slipping out of this state. Instead of dwelling it is often visiting...

    I will see you Wed at the Bible study.

    ReplyDelete