All You Need Is Love: Humility
Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. John 13:1
Love calls for humility in lots of different ways. Sometimes we have to apologize and ask for forgiveness when we have wounded someone we love. Or we have to set aside our own preferences and priorities in order to help another person accomplish a goal or agenda.
On the last night He spent with His disciples before His crucifixion, Jesus humbled Himself before them. To show them that He loved them right up to the end of His life, He took on the role of a servant. At their last supper together, He took a towel and basin of water and washed their feet. They must have been shocked at this display of servitude. But there were two lessons: One, they should love each other the same way. And two, it prepared them for the love He would demonstrate the next day by dying for their sins.
There are many grand ways to demonstrate love. But none is more powerful than the humility of a willing servant.
The surest mark of true conversion is humility. J. C. Ryle
The Humble Love of Christ (John 13:1–17)
I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten. Joel 2:25
A 2003 infestation of Mormon crickets caused more than $25 million in lost crops. The crickets came in such numbers that people couldn’t so much as take a step without finding one underfoot. The grasshopper-like insect, named for attacking the crops of the Utah pioneers in 1848, can eat an astounding thirty-eight pounds of plant material in their lifetimes, despite being merely two to three inches long. The impact of infestations on famers’ livelihoods—and the overall economy of a state or country—can be devastating.
The Old Testament prophet Joel described a horde of similar insects ravaging the entire nation of Judah as a consequence for their collective disobedience. He foretold an invasion of locusts (a metaphor for a foreign army, in the minds of some Bible scholars) like nothing previous generations had seen (Joel 1:2). The locusts would lay waste to everything in their path, driving the people into famine and poverty. If, however, the people would turn from their sinful ways and ask God for forgiveness, Joel says the Lord would “repay [them] for the years the locusts have eaten” (2:25).
We too can learn from Judah’s lesson: like insects, our wrongdoings eat away at the fruitful, fragrant life God intended for us. When we turn toward Him, and away from our past choices, He promises to remove our shame and restore us to an abundant life in Him.
What can you ask God’s forgiveness for today?
1 Peter 4:7-11
If you have been in the church for any length of time, you’ve probably heard that it’s wise to be accountable to another Christian. Finding a reliable and spiritually mature believer to take on this role is one means of protecting ourselves from temptations that could easily entrap us. When we know we’re going to have to answer to someone for our choices, we are far less likely to yield to sinful desires.
But ultimately, there is an even greater motive for righteous living. Unlike a spouse or close friend who may be able to help us make right choices, our all-knowing God sees even more than our actions—He discerns our intentions as well. It may be possible for us to fool people, but we can never hide from the Lord.
Peter admonishes us to be good stewards of God’s grace (1 Peter 4:10). In the apostle’s day, a steward was a household manager—he himself didn’t own anything but was responsible for his master’s possessions and affairs.
In essence, that’s what the Christian life is like. Every possession, privilege, and duty we have has been given to us by God. And as stewards, we are accountable to the Lord for the way we serve Him, what we say, and how we treat one another. The goal is God’s glory—not our rights, comforts, or pleasures.
Relying on one another through accountability will help God’s children to live as His good stewards. Confiding in a trustworthy believer provides the motivation and encouragement to live in a way that honors our Lord and Savior.
“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” (Genesis 3:21)
This action by the Lord is very significant. God Himself apparently sacrificed some of His animal creation (possibly two innocent and blemish-free sheep) in order to provide clothing for the first man and woman. In the first place, this tells us that clothing is important in God’s plan for human beings; nudity became shameful once sin entered the world.
In the second place, we learn that symbolically speaking, clothing must be provided by God Himself. Man-made “aprons” of fig leaves will not suffice, as they represent human works of righteousness which can never make us presentable to God: “We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). However, God has sacrificed His own “Lamb of God” (John 1:29), pure and spotless, yet also willing to die for us. Thereby “he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10), fashioned from the perfect righteousness of the Lamb.
But in order to do this, the innocent blood of the sacrifice must be shed, for “the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11). When sin entered the world, there also came “death by sin” (Romans 5:12), and “without shedding of [innocent] blood is no remission [of sin]” (Hebrews 9:22).
How much of this could have been comprehended by Adam and Eve as they watched God slay their animal friends so that they once again could walk with God we do not know, but it changed their lives. Just so, when we really see “the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:19) spilled in sacrifice for our redemption, our lives also are forever changed. He hath covered me with the righteousness of Christ. HMM
The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.
I suppose my suggestion will not receive much serious attention, but I should like to suggest that we Bible-believing Christians announce a moratorium on religious activity and set our house in order preparatory to the coming of an afflatus from above. So carnal is the body of Christians which composes the conservative wing of the Church, so shockingly irreverent are our public services in some quarters, so degraded are our religious tastes in still others, that the need for power could scarcely have been greater at any time in history. I believe we should profit immensely were we to declare a period of silence and self-examination during which each one of us searched his own heart and sought to meet every condition for a real baptism of power from on high. POM094
Lord, I do pray that You would move in the hearts of leaders in churches everywhere to prompt this time of silence and self-examination. Stimulate our hearts and quiet us to hear from You. Amen.
I will refine them as silver Is—refined, and will try them as gold is tried.—Zechariah 13:9.
As the purifying process is carried on, “the refiner watches the operation, with the greatest earnestness, until the metal has the appearance of a highly polished mirror, reflecting every object around it: even the refiner, as he looks upon the mass of metal, may see himself as in a looking-glass, and thus he can form a very correct judgment respecting the purity of the metal. When he is satisfied, the fire is withdrawn, and the metal removed from the furnace.” See Jesus, as the Refiner, watching “with the greatest earnestness” the purifying of thy soul in the furnace of earth, His hand has lighted the lire which is now separating the pure metal of holiness from the dross of sin in thee. His loving eye is ever eagerly watching for the moment when the purifying work is done. Then, without a moment’s delay, He withdraws the fire, and the purified soul is removed from the furnace. See, again, when it is that the purification is completed; it is when the Image of Christ is reflected in us, so that He can see Himself in us as in a mirror. Raise your eyes, then, amidst the flames, and see the Face of Jesus watching you with the lender pity and intense interest of His love.
“And ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.” Mal. 4:2
Yes, when the sun shines, the sick quit their chambers, and walk abroad to breathe the fresh air. When the sun brings spring and summer, the cattle quit their stalls, and seek pasture on the higher Alps. Even thus, when we have conscious fellowship with our Lord, we leave the stall of despondency, and walk abroad in the fields of holy confidence. We ascend to the mountains of joy, and feed on sweet pasturage which grows nearer Heaven than the provender of carnal men.
To “go forth” and to “grow up” is a double promise. O my soul, be thou eager to enjoy both blessings! Why shouldst thou be a prisoner? Arise, and walk at liberty. Jesus saith that His sheep shall go in and out and find pasture; go forth, then, and feed in the rich meadows of boundless love.
Why remain a babe in grace? Grow up. Young calves grow fast, especially if they are stall-fed; and thou hast the choice care of thy Redeemer. Grow, then, in grace, and in the knowledge of thy Lord and Saviour. Be neither straitened nor stunted. The Sun of Righteousness has risen upon thee. Answer to His beams, as the buds to the natural sun. Open thine heart, expand and grow up into Him in all things.