IN DEBT to the Believer and the Unbeliever
"Both to Greeks and to barbarians
(to the cultured and the uncultured), both to the wise and to the foolish,
I have an obligation to discharge and a duty to perform and a debt to pay."
Romans 1:14 (Amp

26 June 2010

"In His Humility" (Devotional)

As I've been meditating on this most recent chapter "In His Humility" in the 31 day devotional, "The Believer's Secret of Living Like Christ", I continue to be caught on the words "He emptied himself", and it causes me to reflect on myself. And when I do this, I see so much in me that needs to be "emptied", parts of the old man and old nature that continues to peak its head out at times, and I see how necessary it is for me to bring that old man and that flesh to the cross, to keep it nailed there. (I call it cross-time)
I love the part in this chapter that says that its not sin that makes and keeps us humble, but it's grace that we need to do this, that the "heaviest laden branches always bow the lowest". Now surely sin will bring us to that place of brokenness and repentance, humbling us, and causing grace to flow through us, but what we need more everyday is not sin but grace alone. We need His grace that pours through us in the goodness of His love that causes our branch to bow low when we are walking in obedience, knowing that it's all Him and nothing in us that is giving us life, knowing that we are nothing without His grace and His life giving Spirit flowing through us.

I want to be that river that God flows through, that river of life and love that brings healing and restoration to others. I want His grace flowing so heavily through me that the river in me flows deep and wide and freely, where there is no blockage to hinder or stop it. I want that grace flowing, Lord, Your grace that abounds and is sufficient for all my needs. I draw upon Your grace, Lord, for myself and for Your house, and for my church family. Let Your grace flow down into us in such a measure that we walk and live in the humility of Your manifested life in us. Let us be those "heavily laden branches" that bow low in the self-abasement that knows that there is nothing in us that has earned this grace, but it is Your love alone that has found its entrance into our hearts and the freedom to flow through our lives. Make us Your instruments of grace, Lord. Flow through us and bring life and healing to our city and to the land. Amen and amen

"In His Humility"
Andrew Murray

"In lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves.....Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God......made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
Phil 2:3-8

     This wonderful passage includes a summary of the most precious truths that surround the person of Christ.  There is first, His adorable divinity: "in the form of God." "equal with God".  Then comes the mystery of His incarnation, in that word of deep and inexhaustible meaning.  "He emptied himself--made himself of no reputation."  The atonement follows, with the humiliation, and obedience, and suffering, and death from which it derives its worth.  "He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."  And all is crowned by His glorious exaltation: "God hath highly exalted him."  Christ as God, Christ becoming man, Christ as man in humiliation working out our redemption, and Christ in glory as Lord of all: such are the treasures of wisdom this passage contains.
     Volumns have been written on the words this passage contains.  And yet insufficient attention has been given to the context in which the Holy Spirit gives this wonderous teaching.  It is not a statement of truth for the refutation of error, or the strengthening of faith.  The object is a very different one.  It was primarily to deal with any pride and lack of love--the setting of Christ's example before them so they would humble themselves as He did.  "In lowliness of mind each counting other better than himself. Have this mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus."  He who does not study this portion of God's Word with the desire to become humble as Christ was has never used it for the one great purpose for which God gave it.   Christ's descent from the throne of God and the humiliation of the cross reveals the only way by which we can ever reach that throne.  The faith which, with His atonement, accepts His example too, is alone true faith.  Each soul that would truly belong to Him must in union with Him have His Spirit, His disposition, and His image.
     "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God made himself of no reputation....and as a  man humbled himself."  We must be like Christ in His self-empting and self-humiliation.  In this first great act He emptied himself of His divine glory and power and laid it aside; this was followed up by the no less wonderous humbling of himself as man to the death of the cross.  In this amazing twofold humiliation, the astonishment of the universe and the delight of the Father, Holy Scripture with the utmost simplicity tells us how we must be like Christ.
     And does God really expect this of us? Why not? or rather, how can He expect anything else:  He fully knows the power of human pride.  But He also knows that Christ has redeemed us from the power of sin, and that He gives us His resurrection life and power to enable us to live as He did on earth.  It is as our example that we not only live through Him but like Him.  And further, as our head, He lives in us, and continues in us the life He once led on earth.  With such a Christ, and such a plan of redemption, can it be otherwise?  The follower of Christ must have the same mind as was in Christ; he must be like Him especially in His humility.
     Christ's example teaches us that it is not sin that must humble us.  That is what many believers think.  They consider sin as necessary to keep us humble.  This is not so.  There is a true humility that is the beginning of something more, consisting in the acknowledgment of transgression and shortcomings.  But there is a humility which is more heavenly still, even like Christ, which consists in the self-abasement that can only wonder that God should bless us, and delights to be as nothing before him to whom we owe all.  It is grace we need, and not sin, to make and keep us humble.  The heaviest laden branches always bow the lowest.  The greatest flow of water makes the deepest riverbed.  The nearer the soul comes to God, the more His majestic presence makes it feel is littleness.  It is this alone that makes it possible for each to count others better than himself.  Jesus Christ, the holy One of God, is our example of humility; it was knowing that the Father had given all thing into His hands, and that He was come from God and went to God, that He washed the disciples' feet.  It is the divine presence, the consciousness of the divine life and the divine love in us, that will make us humble.
     It appears to many as impossibility to say: "I will not think self.  I will esteem others better than myself."  They ask grace to overcome the worst outbreaks of pride and vainglory, but an entire self-renunciation, such as Christ's is too difficult and to high for them.  If they only understood the deep truth:
He who humbles himself shall be exalted." " he who loses his life shall find it," they would not be satisfied with anything less than entire conformity to their Lord.  And they would find that there is a way to overcome self and self-exaltation: to see it nailed to Christ's cross, and there keep it crucified continually through the Spirit (Gal 4:24; Rom 8:13). Only he who heartily yields himself to live in the fellowship of Christ's death can grow to such humility.
     To attain this, two things are necessary.  The first is a fixed purpose and surrender to be nothing and seek nothing for oneself, to live only for God and our neighbor.  The other is faith to appropriate the power of Christ's death as our death to sin and our deliverance from its power.  The fellowship of Christ's death brings an end to the life where sin is too strong for us; it is the commencement of a life in us where Christ is too strong for sin.
     It is only under the teaching and powerful working of the Holy Spirit that one can understand and receive this truth.  But God be thanked, we have the Holy Spirit. Oh, that we may trust ourselves fully to His guidance! He will guide us, it is His work. He will glorify Christ in us. He will teach us to understand that we are dead to sin and the old self, but Christ's life and humility are ours.
     Thus Christ's humility is appropriated by faith.  This may take place at once.  But the appropriation in experience is gradual.  Our thoughts and feelings, our very manners and conversation, have been so long under the dominion of the old self that it takes time to permeate and transfigure them with the heavenly light of Christ's humility.  At first the conscience is not perfectly enlightened, the spiritutal power of discernment has not yet been excercised. But with each believing renewal of the consecration in the depth of the soul, "I have surrendered myself to be humble like Jesus." power will go out from him to fill the whole personality--until in face, and voice, and action the sanctification of the Spirit will be observable, and the believer will truly be clothed with humility.
     The blessedness of a Christlike humility is unspeakable.  It is of great worth in the sight of God: "He giveth grace to the humble."  In the spiritual life it is the source of rest and joy. To the humble all that God does is right and good.  Humility is always ready to praise God for the least of His mercies. Humility does not find it difficult to trust.  It submits unconditionally to all that God says.  The two whom Jesus praised for their great faith were those who thought the least of themselves.  The centurion had said, "I am not worthy that You should come under my roof"; the Syrophoenician woman was content to be numbered with the dogs. The humble man does not take offense and is very careful not to give it. He is ever ready to serve his neighbor, because he has learned from Jesus the divine beauty of being a servant. He finds favor with God and with man.
     Oh, what a glorious calling for the followers of Christ! To be sent into the world by God to prove that there is nothing more divine than self-humiliation. The humble glorifies God, he leads others to glorify Him, he will at last be glorified with Him. Who would not be humble like Jesus!

You who descent from heaven and humbled Yourself to death of the cross have called me to take Your humility as the law of my life.
Lord, teach me to understand the absolute need of this.  A proud follower of the humble Jesus; this I cannot be. In the secrecy of my heart, in my house, in presence of friends or enemies, in prosperity or adversity, I would be filled with Your humility.
My beloved Lord, I sense the need of a new, a deeper insight into Your crucifixion and my part in it. Reveal to me how my old proud self is crucified with You. Show me in the light of Your Spirit how I am dead to sin and its power, and how in communion with You sin is powerless.  Lord Jesus, strengthen in me the faith that You are my life, and that You will fill me with Your humility if I will submit to be filled with Your Holy Spirit.
Lord, my hope is in You alone.  In faith I go into the world to show how the same mind that was in You is also in Your children, and teaches us in lowliness of mind each to esteem others better than himself. May God help us. Amen

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