Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Battle for Humility

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  (Eph. 4:1-3)

Humility is hard.  It is hard for me to write about because it is hard for me to live out.  

When God calls us to something, whether it is a big change or a small act of obedience, there is a certain sense of pride in walking it out.  But, at least in my heart, what can also easily creep in is pridefulness.  

It is the adoption community, in the homeschooling community, in the stay-at-home mom community, 

in the church community.

I am a member of all of these and guilty of pridefulness in every one of these areas.


Pridefulness is divisive and ugly, and it is the very opposite of love...

"Why would you adopt from a foreign country when there are kids right here who need families?"
"Why would you adopt from the United States when kids are starving to death in other countries?"
"Adoption is God's call for me, so it must be for you as well."

"Homeschooling is God's call on me, therefore I bet you should be doing it too."
"Private Christian school is the only choice for Christian parents."
"Public school is the right choice for Christian parents because we need missionaries in the schools."
"Classical education is the best method."
"Charlotte Mason is the right educational method."
"Unschooling is the most biblical way to raise kids."

"Christian moms should not work outside the home."
"Christian moms who work outside the home are more influential on the world around them."

"My church 'gets it' (whatever "it" is) better than the others in town."
"You don't go to Sunday School?  tsk tsk."

Need I go on?
Oh, how guilty I am.  And I bet you recognize a few of these yourself...or could even add a few.  (Believe me, I could.)

Sisters, I keep thinking about this Scripture...

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good.  (Titus 2:3)

Now that I am over 40 I guess that makes me an "older woman" to many young women out there, and that is ok with me.  But in looking at what this verse means I have to ask, "What is good?"

Homeschooling?  Adoption?  Motherhood?  My church?

The answer is yes!  These are all good!  But they are not the ultimate "good."  They are acts of obedience.

The answer is to teach obedience to whatever God asks of me, of you, of us.  The answer is to realize that Scripture is our authority and God will use us all in different ways on this earth but the way He uses us will always be consistent with His Word.

I have a precious friend, a prayer warrior, who said that instead of being proud of living the lifestyle God called her to, she is just so thankful He revealed His will to her.  And isn't that the antithesis of pridefulness?  Gratitude?

If I stop patting myself on the back and realize that my life is blessed by no great work of my intellect or spiritual aptitude, but because the Lord granted me the grace to hear His voice calling me to be a stay-at-home join my particular church, if I just live in gratitude for His guidance and teach my sisters to do the same then that is what is good.

Obedience is good.  And what God asks of you may look very different from what He asks of me.  It will always be true to His Word, but it may not follow whatever formula I have created as the mark of a godly woman.  That formula, the one that comes from me, is a form of legalism.  That formula is the result of my pride.

This is what the Word of God says:

Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.  For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.  But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:1-7)

Now I am not saying we are not to speak truth, correct, or rebuke in love, but I have got to remember that I cannot use my emotions or personal filter as the standard.  My instruction must come from the Scriptures or else it simply is not valid.

So that is my battle today.  Humility.  I pray He will foster that spirit in me and in you, filling us with gratitude for His calling and for the faith to obey Him even when others do not think it makes sense.

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