Saturday, October 24, 2009

Teaching on Humility

So Pastor Mike asked me a few weeks ago to take a small group and teach on Humility. It is tomorrow night & I thought I would post my notes...

Humbleness: The quality of being humble; humility; meekness.

Humble: having or showing a consciousness of one's defects or shortcomings; not proud; not self-assertive; modest

Psalm 7:10~God protects me like a shield; he saves those whose hearts are right.

God protects the person whose heart is right toward him. Having your heart right toward him doesn’t have anything to do with being perfect or knocking yourself out trying to do the right thing all the time. A person who has an upright heart knows that he or she isn’t perfect. That person realizes that his only hope comes from the fact that Jesus died to make things right for him.

Admitting those things takes humility. That’s a word that most people don’t talk about very often, maybe because their picture of humility is a weak, super-shy person who looks at the floor all the time. But for a real picture of humility, look at Jesus. It’s one of the most outstanding parts of his personality.

A heart that’s humble is the kind of heart God is looking for. That’s the kind of person he can use to get the job done. He protects that person in a special way because he knows that person is ready to do what he wants.

Psalm 62:9~The least of people are only a breath, and even the greatest are just a lie. On the scales, they weigh nothing; together they are only a breath.

It seems weird for David to say that we humans are only a vapor, like a puff of air, and that none of us is truly great. After all, when he was a teenager, he killed the giant Goliath with a slingshot! Then he led Israel’s army to defeat the mighty Philistines in battle after battle. He became the greatest warrior and king in Israel’s history.

But David knew that everything he did was nothing compared to God. He had a grip on just how huge God is. David tells us that strength and loving kindness belong to God. When a person begins to really understand (in his or her heart) how powerful and how kind the Lord is, it’s impossible to be cocky. When you begin to see yourself as you really are before the Lord, you’re amazed at how awesome he is and how little you are.

God uses little people. He uses humble people—people who are seeing how small they are compared to him. He doesn’t want us to go around thinking we’re dirt. He wants us to go around thinking about how enormous he is.

Psalm 85:8~I will listen to God the Lord. He has ordered peace for those who worship him. Don’t let them go back to foolishness.

Faithfulness, the way God defines it, is not a stuck-like-glue observance of a bunch of rules you learn in Sunday school. What’s going on inside you is more important to God than what you do. So the faithful person obeys, not because he has incredible willpower, but because his heart is turned toward God all the time. When a faithful person fails, he is quick to admit it, talk to Jesus about it, and accept his forgiveness. The faithful person is bumble, meaning he doesn’t think he can live his life…any part of it…without God.

This is the kind of person God gives is a way-down-in-your-gut confidence that everything that happens to you, good or bad, is something he will use to bring you closer to him and make you more like him. As your friendship with Jesus grows, this peace will take root in your heart. He promises it will!

John 13:13-15~You call me Teacher and Lord, an you are right, because that is what I am. If I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash each other’s feet. I did this as an example so that you should do as I have done for you.

Jesus gives his apostles a lesson in humility when he washes their feet. He tells them that they are to follow his example. And we, as followers of Christ, are to do the same. Meeting the needs of other people and sacrificing your own is the example of Jesus, and we are to be like him. Did you know that when you feel sorry for yourself, one of the best things to help you feel better is to do something good for somebody else? And if you are acting like Jesus, it may cost you something…some time, some energy, some money, maybe even your pride.

Sometimes we can serve others secretly, and God gets all of the glory. Jesus came and humbled himself by being a servant to others. Being Christlike means that we humble ourselves and do the same. It’s the whole point of our time here on earth…following his example, looking more and more like Jesus.

Phillipians 2:8~And when he was living as a man, he humbled himself and was fully obedient to God, even when that caused his death…death on a cross.

Read John 13:1-17 Washing His Disciples' Feet

1-2 Just before the Passover Feast, Jesus knew that the time had come to leave this world to go to the Father. Having loved his dear companions, he continued to love them right to the end. It was suppertime. The Devil by now had Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot, firmly in his grip, all set for the betrayal. 3-6Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, "Master, you wash my feet?" 7Jesus answered, "You don't understand now what I'm doing, but it will be clear enough to you later." 8Peter persisted, "You're not going to wash my feet—ever!" Jesus said, "If I don't wash you, you can't be part of what I'm doing." 9"Master!" said Peter. "Not only my feet, then. Wash my hands! Wash my head!" 10-12Jesus said, "If you've had a bath in the morning, you only need your feet washed now and you're clean from head to toe. My concern, you understand, is holiness, not hygiene. So now you're clean. But not every one of you." (He knew who was betraying him. That's why he said, "Not every one of you.") After he had finished washing their feet, he took his robe, put it back on, and went back to his place at the table. 12-17Then he said, "Do you understand what I have done to you? You address me as 'Teacher' and 'Master,' and rightly so. That is what I am. So if I, the Master and Teacher, washed your feet, you must now wash each other's feet. I've laid down a pattern for you. What I've done, you do. I'm only pointing out the obvious. A servant is not ranked above his master; an employee doesn't give orders to the employer. If you understand what I'm telling you, act like it—and live a blessed life.

It’s a fascinating story about humility. Can you imagine sitting in the same room as Jesus only to have him come up to you and wash your feet? Your feet…the ugliest and smelliest part of your body! WOW! Jesus displayed the ultimate act of servant hood in this illustration. We need to serve others in the same way.

What does it really mean to be humble? It means that someone will do anything asked and will do it with a willing heart and a good attitude. It means that you put down the wonderful things about yourself just to love and serve other people. If you know anything about the life and ministry of Jesus, then you know that he was a humble servant. He even said that he didn’t come to be served but to serve. If that was Jesus’ attitude, how much more should it be ours? From now on, work on being humble enough to serve others rather than being served yourself. You’ve heard that pride comes before a fall. If we are humbled before him as servants, we are imitating Christ…and that’s what our Christian walk is all about.