If there’s one thing God is continually reminding me of it’s my pride—the self-serving willingness to pick fault in my circumstances, other people, and basically anything that can be observed. Pride is a heinous trick, blinding us to many realities of truth that are perfectly visible with a pinch of humility’s perspective.
Upon the prideful life we forget the following truth that will, every single time, liberate us to live at joy through service:
“The challenge of our day is not to rise to the top but to live faithfully among the least, because of who He is.”
What truly qualifies us to serve?
Is it really a theological degree? Is it skills and competencies? Is it the sponsorship of a referee? Is it a calling? Perhaps it’s all these, a combination, or maybe even none.
The parental root of service, that which empowers all our capabilities, is a virtue so often spoken about, yet so rarely lived. I know this in my own life. Even small inconsequential conflicts have their way, at times, of swinging my focus off the tremendous good and onto the fleeting bad. I fixate. From this bad state, I decide a course of action. Then, suddenly, and it so often happens, God’s Spirit works miraculously within my heart to make me see the truth of matters—I’m in the wrong!
Again... again, I’m relearning about these parts of myself. When I think I’m right I’m usually wrong.
When a salient sense of humble recognition arrives, and I begin seeing the world less threateningly, all is well again, and then I’m fit to serve once more. How amazing it is that God allows us to serve, to discharge our special ministries, when we’re in scattered spiritual states. We may not be effective, but we’re still allowed.
The kingdom that is within the heart of one believer, one humble enough in his or her moment to recognise where Jesus would be, compels that one believer to do cheerfully the least of all. No complaint is thought or heard. They are pleased just to be involved. There are no bold dreams of leading and having followers. They have no glued aspirations to be the next Rob Bell or John Piper or Rick Warren.
Yet, there is the humble recognition, from within myself, as I muse upon the humility of believers who, every day with barely an exception, do such simple tasks, receive no thanks, and are pleased to do what they can despite their challenges. These are better than I; a person so dependent on recognition; a person so sometimes very critical.
But the facts of my reflections are not the end; they solemnly reflect the grace in God to allow complaint before the Holy Spirit’s gentle facilitation of humility through the revelatory agency of truth.
God is kind in revealing our pride gently to us.
Called to serve—the feeling of youth,
But feelings surmount and threaten the truth,
At this the Spirit takes us aside,
All in order to quash our pride.
Humility speaks as a primal dirge,
Dealing with pride’s flesh-felt urge,
Promising to work gently within,
The Holy Spirit deals with our sin.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.