Monthly archives: February, 2017

God > Me

 

16250339 - man kneeling in prayer before a dramatic sky

16250339 – man kneeling in prayer before a dramatic sky

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.

Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.”  – Philippians 2:3

 

 

I love a good “Peanuts” cartoon. This one, in particular, shows Linus telling Charlie Brown, “When I get big, I’m going to be a humble little country doctor. I’ll live in the city, see, and every morning I’ll get up, climb into my sports car, and zoom into the country! Then I’ll start healing people…I’ll heal people for miles around!” In the last frame, he exclaims, “I’ll be a world famous humble little country doctor!”

 

Charles Schultz, the cartoonist, was making fun of how difficult it is for us to be humble.  Often, we start out with the goal of being a humble little whatever, but before we know it, we’re into being a world-famous, humble little whatever!

 

But, can you really blame us? We live in a world that screams, “ME!” Everything’s about me.  Look at my success. Look at my beauty. Look at how good I am at __________________.  I’m all that and a bag of chips!

 

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary states the word humble comes from the Latin word humilis which means low or lowly; from humus ‘ground’. Being humble is described as not proud or haughty; not arrogant or assertive; having a spirit of deference or submission; ranking low in a hierarchy or a scale.

 

But, can you even imagine living in a society where being humble is the norm?

 

Aren’t you and I, at times, the very opposite? If we take a look in the mirror, aren’t there probably more times than we’d like to admit that we are proud and pompous…and very proud that we are proud and pompous? We step on or step over people that we disagree with, differ from or are in our way. We make special effort to emphasize ourselves and make our thoughts and opinions known. We spend a countless amount of money, time and energy to make sure that we fit into this hierarchy that we consciously or subconsciously yearn to feel a part of.

 

Shift gears with me and think about John the Baptist. Here’s a guy who could have been proud; and, rightfully so I must add. Who else (apart from Jesus Himself) could claim to have been filled with the Holy Spirit while still in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15)? Who else could have the important title of being the forerunner of the Messiah (Luke 1:17,76)?  How about this…who do you know that Jesus affirmed to be the greatest man in history (Matthew 11:11)?

 

Yet, John teaches us an ultimate lesson in humility. He really lives I Corinthians 13 where it says that “Love is not proud.” If we could just get his famous one-liner down. Just think of what a difference it would make.  “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30).


Love Demands Encouragement

 

• Student council tips •

“Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” (Proverbs 11:25) The principle behind this is golden: When you pause and take the time to encourage someone else, you, in turn, will feel encouraged and a sense of deep fulfillment. In our culture of, “What do I get in return?” in light of doing something for another person, this really is a Biblical promise that delivers.
When was the last time that you were encouraged by someone? I’m guessing you can remember the time rather quickly.  You see, it only happens on occasion. But, when it does, it has quite the impact. It may have been a simple act of kindness or a life defining moment that changed the trajectory of your life. Our words carry such power. “In the tongue is the power of life and death.” (Proverbs 18:21)

 

Often we are given the opportunity to encourage people with our words, but how often do we walk through that door? Isn’t it just more convenient to listen to that little voice in your head that says you don’t have time or energy to be encouraging? Besides, you have enough on your plate already? And, why isn’t someone taking the time to encourage me?

 

There are so many good things about encouraging someone else. First of all, God demands that we encourage others, “Love doesn’t boast…” (I Corinthians 13). So, when we are encouraging other people, we don’t have the time or space to be obsessed with ourselves. We’re actually being obedient to God’s call whenever we are encouraging someone. Also, there is never a bad time to encourage someone. Can you imagine someone reaching out to you and in turn you let them know that it isn’t a good time right now or that you don’t need encouragement? That’s comical to think of!  Another great thing about encouraging others is there’s no right or wrong way of doing it. You don’t need a degree or training to step in and brighten someone’s day. We have a God-given instinct that allows us (if we’re paying attention) to know just what that person in our life needs. How cool is that!?

 

Here are a couple of ideas that you can do this week to encourage someone in your life. I’m sure that you already know who needs it!

 

  1. Take the pressure off and just listen. There are times when we feel like we have to come up with something momentous and Twitter-worthy to say in a situation. But really, it’s not that complicated. I love the quote I heard years ago at a marriage conference by author Gary Smalley…”They need our shoulder, not our mouth”. Just having someone who will listen and to talk to unfiltered can be so encouraging.

 

  1. Write it in the sky…or maybe on the driveway. What if you grabbed the kids and got out the sidewalk chalk and wrote love notes to your spouse or to your teenager? It doesn’t have to cost money to be a big deal. Sometimes just knowing someone took the time to give you love means the most.

 

  1. Let the Word speak for itself. Grab a dry erase marker and write a verse that will encourage a family member or friend. What a smile it would bring to their face to stumble into the restroom, turn on the light and see that you took the time to think of them. Could be on a big test day, the day of an interview for a job or for no occasion at all other than letting them know that you love them. Sometimes the most loving things we can say is what the Author of love has already said. Oh, and make sure you don’t grab the permanent marker…J

 

  1. Post it everywhere. Nope, I’m not talking on social media (although that could be good, too). Get the post-it notes out and go crazy! If you have access to your spouse/friend’s office, write quick notes that let them know they are awesome. Cover your kid’s bedroom doors with notes that let them know how awesome you think they are. I’m going to bet they won’t take them down for a very long time.

 

“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due when it is in your power to act.” –Proverbs 3:27