Jesus' Footprints

Posts Tagged ‘humility

1 Timothy 1:12-17

Thank-you-Jesus-for-saving-my-life-1I was reading this passage and thinking of how we are all indebted to Jesus.  We have done terrible things in our lives but He showed us such love and grace that we could only respond in humility and gratitude.  There are times when my past comes back to haunt me but then I remember Jesus’ love and forgiveness.

Paul writes to Timothy about his past.  He shares how he was once an enemy of the church.  He blasphemed the Lord and persecuted His people but it was done in ignorance.  How many of us have not done things that we later regret out of ignorance?

Paul spoke of how Jesus poured out His grace on him.  “He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry.”  How many of us are called into ministry after the Lord has shown us mercy?  I have heard of men who once on the wrong side of the law become pastors.  At a Women’s Ministry program, a speaker shared her testimony of how life was for her before she found Jesus.  She used to be a drug addict.  

It doesn’t matter where or how we encounter Jesus.  What matters is that once we surrender to Him, He can do remarkable things in our lives.  When people see how the Lord has transformed a person you never would imagine would become a Christian, they can’t help but be amazed and curious.  When Paul began preaching after his conversion, many people were amazed.  They couldn’t believe that it was the same person who used to a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man.  In his eyes, he was a chief sinner among the sinners whom Jesus came to save.  I can almost hear the regret in his words but he sees something positive in this.  As the worst sinner of them all, he can be used to demonstrate how patient Jesus is towards the worst of sinners.  He, Paul will serve as an example to all who in the future should trust Jesus for eternal life.

We, like Paul, are indebted to Jesus for His love, kindness, mercy, grace and patience.  He loved us even when we were rejecting Him.  All that time when Paul was persecuting the church, Jesus loved him.  He knew Paul’s heart.  He knew that Paul was acting out of ignorance and He knew that He could redirect that zeal.  This explains why Paul was so passionate in his work as a minister.  He testified, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10).  It is as if he were working hard to show Jesus that His mercy toward him had not be in vain.

Let us show the Lord how much we appreciate His grace toward us.  Let us do this by the way we live, how we treat others and in whatever work He has called us to do.

Thank You, Jesus for saving us and using us to bring other lost souls to You.

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Let this mjesus-crossind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,  who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God,  but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:5-8).

When I read this the other day, it hit home that Jesus didn’t think anything of leaving the glory of Heaven and coming to earth to live among His creation.   He had no problem setting aside His nature which made Him equal with the Father and taking on the form of sinful man.  Why did He do this?  1 John 3:8 tells us why.  “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.”  Jesus came to undo the work of the devil which he started in the Garden of Eden when he tempted Eve and succeeded.

Jesus wanted to defeat sin in the flesh because it was through the flesh that sin entered the world. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—” (Romans 5:12).   Sin is like an epidemic, a cancer and Jesus is the only One who could completely destroy it.  So, He came into the world as an infant, born to a virgin.  He lived a simple life, worked as a carpenter before He began His ministry.  Throughout His life here on earth, Jesus lived in total obedience to the Father and humbly.

In His humility He defeated the devil in the wilderness, using, not His divine power, but the Word of God to counter each temptation until the enemy had no other choice but to go away.  In humility, Jesus allowed the religious leaders and the roman soldiers to mock, spit, strike and humiliate Him.  Not once did He complain or call down the angels to help Him.  In humility, He carried the cross to the place where they would crucify Him.  On the way, women bewailed and lamented Him but He didn’t think about Himself.  He foresaw what would befall them and warned them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.  For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!’ Then they will begin ‘to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”’ For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?”

I always wondered what Jesus meant by “green wood and dry” and today I learnt that green wood is not used as fuel for fire, whereas, dry wood is perfect for that.  And Jesus is represented by the green wood, as the One undeserving of the cruel treatment He was receiving from the people.  And the people who were fanning the flames, pushing for Jesus’ crucifixion, after requesting that, Barabbas, a criminal be released, were the dry wood.  They were deserving of the Divine judgement that they would one day face.  Jesus was telling the women to cry for these people.  The people who continually reject Christ and His work on the cross are the ones we ought to mourn for the time will come when they will be judged and will be cast into the lake of fire.

In humility, as He hung on the cross, He asked God to forgive the very people who wanted Him dead.  He was dying for them too.  The cross is where we ought to go when we find it hard to forgive those who hurt and humiliate and mistreat us.  In humility we realize that Jesus hanging on the cross in our place is what made it possible for God to forgive us too.  We too are responsible for Jesus becoming a curse for us. Humility is about acknowledging that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory and that we have a Saviour who thought nothing of emptying Himself.

In humility, Jesus thought nothing of the shame of the manner of His death, endured the cross, because of the joy that was set before Him (Hebrews 12:2).  He wasn’t thinking about the shame but the salvation that would be offered to all those who accepted His ultimate sacrifice.  Through His death, many would receive life eternal.  And through His death and resurrection, many would have the same victory over sin and death.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for humbling Yourself and becoming one of us so that You could defeat sin and death.  Sin had separated us from our Father but Your death on the cross, reconciled us to Him.  We will never be able to repay the debt You paid with Your precious blood.  We can honour You by loving others and sharing the Good News about what You did for them on the cross.

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name,  that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth,  and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11).

love does not parade itself, is not puffed up – 1 Corinthians 13:4

Jesus washPride is something God hates.  God loves humble people.  Love is humble.  Jesus gave a fine example of this when He left heaven where He was worshipped by angels to come here on earth.  He was humble in appearance.  He stayed in modest lodgings, slept outdoors, ate with sinners, outcasts and tried to keep a low profile.  He got down on His knees and washed the feet of His disciples.  He was their Leader, their Master, yet He served them.

Jesus was teaching them and us that we should never think we are too good to serve others.  No task is beneath us. We s hould perform every task to the best of our ability and with humble hearts, always thankful that we are making a difference in someone else’s life.  Whenwe see how Jesus, the Son of God, humbled Himself it encourages us to be humble too.  It shows us that pride has no part in the ministry of Jesus.

Pride is selfishness while humility is selflessness.  While He was washing twelve pairs of feet Jesus commanded the disciples to love one another.

Pride is self love.  Humility is love for others.  Jesus wants us to serve others in love and humility.  Love does not boast.  Love does not made a big show.  It does not make a spectacle of itself.  It does not draw attention to itself or put itself on display for all to admire and praise it.  It is not self-important.  It is the exact opposite.  When you show someone love, do so with a humble heart, not expecting anything in return.  Don’t brag about it.  Follow the same advice Jesus gave when it comes to doing charitable work.

“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.  Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly” (Matthew 6:1-4).

Love is not self-serving.  It takes pride in serving others.  Jesus came to serve.   He spent His entire ministry serving others and putting their needs before His own.

The Pharisees and the Scribes wanted Jesus to give them signs but interestingly enough, they had been given signs all along but had failed to see them or acknowledge them.  These signs were manifested in the healing of the sick, the cleansing of the lepers, the lame walking, the blind seeing, the mute talking and the deaf hearing.  Yet people still asked for signs.  Their unbelief blinded them to what was right there before their eyes.  Unlike the Queen of Sheba who went out of her way to see King Solomon because she had heard of his wisdom and wanted to see or hear for herself, the Jews did not go out of their way to see for themselves the glory of the Lord, His wonderful miracles nor hear what He had to say.  Unlike the pagan sailors who were with Jonah who once they saw the sovereignty of God, worshipped Him and became believers, those who professed to know Him did not even recognize that He was with them.

Immanuel was in their midst displaying His sovereignty in a different way but they failed to see Him or acknowledge Him.  Unlike the Ninevites who repented when they heard Jonah’s warning, God’s chosen people hardened their hearts and did not listen to One far greater than Jonah.  The Messiah they had long awaited was there talking to them, warning them but they paid no heed because He did not measure up to their expectations.  They could not reconcile the Messiah, the Son of God, and the King of Kings to the man clothed in humility before them.  To them, He looked no different from the people they fancied themselves to be superior to.  Their spiritual blindness prevented them from seeing that there was a difference in His demeanour—the way He treated others, His vast knowledge of scriptures and the law and of God.  Then there were the miracles He performed, His growing popularity and His many followers.  The Light had come into the world but the darkness did not understand it.

Even when they received the sign of Jonah they refused to accept it and instead bribed the guards, encouraging them to say that His body had been taken from the tomb by His disciples.  Before that they had posted guards in order to prevent Jesus from fulfilling His word.  Matthew 27:62-64 gives an account of the religious leaders going to Pilate in order to secure guards at the tomb.  Their reason for this was, “Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night, and steal Him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.”  They recalled Jesus’ words that He will rise after three days but they referred to Him as “that deceiver”.  They had asked Him for a sign and yet they were doing their best to prevent it.

Jesus rightly says of them, “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted and I should heal them” (Matthew 13:15).

One of the questions in a study lesson was what sign would I like to see and I thought about it.  I thought I would like the Lord to talk to me in a dream as He spoke to Mary’s husband, Joseph in a dream.  Or for Him to tell me something that I share with others and then it comes to pass.  But, then, I got my sign that morning and it was not what I expected but was just as profound.  God reminded me of something I needed to have with me so I had to walk with an extra bag to carry it in.  God once again made it clear to me that every detail in my life, no matter how small it is just as important to Him.  The sign here was His loving care, attention and presence.  Another sign is Him talking to me.  What greater sign do we need than that God Almighty talks to us.  He communicates with us.

There are signs everyday like solutions to problems; a kind word; an encouraging smile; food on the table; money in our bank accounts; waking up every morning and being able to get out of bed.  His word is full of signs.  God speaks to us when we read His word.  A sign is His Holy Spirit, who dwells in us; who recalls scripture to us; who helps us to understand God’s message each time we open the Bible.  People recovering from illnesses, coming out of financial difficulties are all signs.  The weekly Sabbath is a sign.  It proclaims God’s sovereignty and celebrates creation.  Nature is an unmistakable sign.  We ourselves are signs of God’s goodness and mercy.  Jesus came so that we may have life in abundance.  The changing of the seasons each year; the rising and setting of the sun; the babies being born everyday all speak of the Creator of all life.  The signs are there but do we take the time to see them?

One morning as I prayed, I reflected on the humility of Jesus.  He left the glory of Heaven where He was worshipped and praised, where He was with God, the Father.  Jesus, God the Son became the Son of God and the Son of man.  He humbled Himself when He came here on earth in that He came to serve and not to be served.  He came in the flesh as one of us.  There was humility in His birth.  He was born in a manger surrounded by animals and hay.

He was the Son of a carpenter and He too was a carpenter, which makes sense.  It ties in with His ministry here on earth.  A carpenter builds.  Jesus came here to build a relationship between God and us.  He came to build a relationship between Himself and us and with one another.  And when He was to return to His Father, He built a relationship between the Holy Spirit and us.  Jesus was humble in that everything He said and did was of the Father.  He was obedient to the Father in all things, following His will even onto death.  He placed the Father first and us second.

Jesus was humble in appearance and in behaviour.  He wanted to teach us that we should be humble.  God loves humility but resists pride.  Humility allows for God to be in our lives.  It allows us to love Him completely and to totally surrender to His will.  It allows us to recognize our need for Him.  It allows us to love others and each out to them.  Humility allows us to give of ourselves—to be selfless.  Humility is of the Spirit.  We should be humble in spirit.  Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of Heaven” and “Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth”.  Because of His humility and faithfulness, Jesus is now exalted and is sitting at the right hand of God.  He is now King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  His name is above all other names.

Jesus taught us that in being humble we allow God to us to fulfill His plans.  We open ourselves for His will to be done in us for His glory and for the benefit of others.  In doing everything the Father commanded Him to do, Jesus made it possible for us to receive the grace of God by which we are saved from the wages of sin.  Humility led to salvation and an inheritance of the kingdom of God.

Self-exaltation is a deterrent to God. It is what got Lucifer cast down from Heaven.  Psalm 138:6 says “Though the Lord be high, yet hath He respect unto the lowly:  but the proud He knoweth afar off”.  God has no regard for the proud, for those who like to puff themselves up and boast.  They put themselves before God and look down on others.  They are self-involved and do not keep the commandments of God.  They love themselves more than God and others.  Their self-importance blinds them to His will.

The Bible speaks clearly of God’s view of the proud.  We should be humble as our Lord Jesus was.  Pride leaves no room for God to work with us on in us.

I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you” – John 13:15

Humility, gentleness, patience, tolerance are qualities that God desires in us.  Abraham is an example of a man who was humble before God, obeying Him and having unshakable faith in Him.  Jesus too was humble, He was the son of a carpenter, He was gentle and kind to people who went to Him to be healed like the woman who was haemorrhaging and He was patient.  He explained His parables to the people, taught His disciples how to pray, answered their questions and explained the gospel to them.  And with many such parables He spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it.  But without a parable He did not speak to them.  And when they were alone, He explained all things to His disciples.  (Mark 4:33-34)

Jesus was tolerant.  He reached out to the Samaritan woman, defended the woman accused of adultery and had people whom the Pharisees would have deemed, “undesirables” eat at His table.  Jesus left behind the spirit of love, unity and peace.  Jews and Gentiles are able to worship one God because of Him and His peace which is not of this world and which He gave us.  Jesus left an indelible mark on the world.  He saved us and forever bridged the gap between God and us.  His disciples were sent out into the world to spread the gospel, to complete His work, to follow in His footsteps.  And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have

Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth” – Psalm 54:2

When we pray to God, we should kneel before Him, an act of humility for He is sovereign.  We should revere Him and remember that He is almighty.  When we pray we do so with the knowledge that God desires to show us His compassion and goodness because He is a loving God.  The love of Christ is so profound that He gave His life for us.  When we pray to God we should thank Him and acknowledge that He is able “to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us.” (Ephesians 3:20)

When we come to God in prayer we should remember to whom we are praying.  Hannah wanted a child and she turned to the Lord because she knew that He was her only hope.  She prayed continually and in her heart.  She was pouring out her soul to God and she believed that He would answer her prayer because her face was no longer downcast.  And God answered her prayer.  He remembered her and she conceived and gave birth to a son.  “For this child I prayed and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him.”  (1 Samuel 1:12-13, 18, 19, 20, 27)

Samuel is recognised as a prophet in all of Israel.  He Lord was with him and his mother too because she gave birth to more children.  God gave Hannah above and beyond what she asked for.  Hannah praised God and acknowledged His goodness.  “My heart rejoices in the Lord.” (1 Samuel 2:1a)  “There is no one holy like the Lord, there is no one besides You, there is no Rock like our God.” (1 Samuel 2:2)

I have learned that for prayers to be effective they must be specific, such as asking for understanding, strength or for the healing of a loved one.  We should ask for things only God can give you as nothing is impossible for Him.  We must be humble, submissive and unselfish when petitioning God.  “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up.” (James 4:10)  We must be like the publican who recognized that he needed God instead of the Pharisee who felt he didn’t need God.  We must recognise and give thanks to God for His faithfulness and glorify Him in our prayers.

 This was how Paul prayed for the Colossians who were new to the faith.  He asked God that they be filled with knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. (Colossians 1:9)

This was how Hannah prayed.  She was barren and longed for a child.  She prayed to God asking for a male child whom she would dedicate to Him.  She knew only God could open her womb.  She was humble, weeping and praying with all her heart and from the depths of her soul.  She was willing to give up her son to serve the Lord once He granted her request.  Praying to God lifted Hannah’s spirits and she went home, confident that her prayer had been answered.  She recognised that there was none besides God and she rejoiced in His salvation (1 Samuel 2:1).



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