Tag Archives: humility

5 Life-Changing Lessons

A few mornings ago, while sitting on my couch chatting with the Lord, I came across truths that I had never seen before in His death on the cross. May we glean from His example as we also choose to “deny ourselves, pick up our cross and follow Him“.

These are the points the Holy Spirit revealed to me during our time together:

1. Leading up to His death, Jesus intentionally invested into the lives of those He dearly loved as His close friends.

“When the hour came, Jesus and His apostles reclined at the table. And He said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God’.” Luke 22:14-16

This is an invaluable lesson in demonstrating how we should wisely invest our time to build and maintain relationships. The Kingdom of God is about people, not works or titles. And one of the best places for building relationships (including evangelism) is the dinner table – an intimate setting where people come together to enjoy a common meal and engage in deep conversation.

2. In approaching His time of suffering, Jesus ran to the Father for help. In the presence of the Everlasting Father, Jesus was strengthened to endure the cross and fulfill His will.

“He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.’ An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” Luke 22:41-44

As we go through hard times, just as Jesus faced more than we could ever imagine, we must turn to God and ask for help. In the Lord we find the real strength that we need to endure whatever is laid out before us. We will often need the Lord’s divine intervention in many of our life circumstances. Therefore, we cannot afford to forsake humility in an effort to be self-reliant. Draw close to the Father because He waits for us, just as He waited for Jesus in the garden of  Gethsemane.

3. Jesus made the choice to confront His close friend, Judas, on the night He was betrayed by him.  Jesus didn’t go into denial, pretending nothing happened and suppressing His feelings. Nor did He curse Judas in an outburst of rage, only to later regret the words He had spoken. Nope. This Holy King boldly confronts the wrong done against Him in absolute gentleness. Gentleness. He makes the point that what was done to Him was not okay, that Judas had crossed His personal boundary line.

“While He was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss Him, but Jesus asked him, ‘Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss’?” Luke 22:47-48

If someone has hurt us (because it will happen), may we take on the yolk of Christ and gently confront them with the offense in love. Confrontation is not something to be avoided, but embraced. Jesus set the perfect example of how it should be done.

4. Jesus carried the cross (the very means by which he would die)  to be crucified (a death for the worst of sinners) by the human race (those He created in His image). In meek boldness He shook the very core of mankind when He proclaimed, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Forgiveness is what Jesus chose to bestow upon those who unjustly hurt Him. Pay attention to this statement, beloved. If the Son of God (with all power and glory) experienced unjust pain and heartache while living here on earth as part of the human race, then we (without power and glory) will also experience unjust grief and sorrow. What are we to do in these unfortunate situations? Forgive them. Run to the Father to draw the strength to forgive their wrong doing. He will be faithful to honor you by honoring Him.

5. Even in the midst of the most uncomfortable situation (hanging on the cross in extreme pain and fatigue), Jesus still chose to evangelize and encourage a soul that was lost.

“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him, ‘Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and save us!’ But the other criminal rebuked him. ‘Don’t you fear God,’ he said, ‘since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ Jesus answered him, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23: 39-43

Talk about not losing sight of a goal. Jesus makes it very clear that despite Him being in His last hour, His heart was still for the lost. And make no mistake, beloved. Jesus never recounts the sins of this man, but lovingly welcomes him into His kingdom. If we are serious about following after Jesus, shouldn’t we also have a heart for those that do not know Him? And not to judge or criticize the way they live their lives, but to love them?

May we recount the decisions Jesus made during His last hours here on earth, and through His grace apply them to our own lives. Praise be to this great King of glory!

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The Benefits of Choosing Thanksgiving

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Being thankful requires us to take action.

In fact, a heart of thanksgiving is the product of intentional choices – a mind that deliberately focuses on the positive thoughts (even in the midst of discomfort or suffering) and a mouth that speaks praiseworthy, life-giving ideas (versus complaining and grumbling).

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think of such things.” Philippians 4:8

So, what’s the big deal in being thankful?

Well, for starters, it deeply pleases the heart of God. It’s like an early morning “pat on the back” for His holy provision of the countless blessings He chooses to bestow upon us – the breath in our lungs, the God-given ability of our bodies to fight off infection, eternal salvation through Jesus Christ, clean running water, bees to pollinate the fresh crops we eat, and the fact that Earth is in the exact proximity from the sun to sustain life and keep us from being consumed by its fiery rays.

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” Psalm 100:4

Thanksgiving shows God the admiration He deserves. And it’s a reminder that we’re nothing without Him which keeps us humble.

“I will give to the Lord the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the Lord, the Most High.” Psalm 7:17

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17

“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” James 4:6

Secondly, thanksgiving ushers in a spirit of freedom. Our own human minds often serve as a main source of oppression. Christ not only died so we can have eternal life, but He also died so we can live in freedom.

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

When our thoughts become engulfed in the details of our own lives (our financial problems, our health concerns, our relational issues), we can easily become enslaved by pessimistic thinking (focusing on what isn’t going right and becoming blind to the needs of others). Yet, the same can be said when we focus on the problems of others (complaining and criticizing the character of others, or leaning on strength of self rather than God in any area of ministry), and are unable to freely enjoy all God has given us.

Thanksgiving gently forces us to take our eyes off of ourselves and onto God. And we can never go wrong by gazing at Jesus.

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:16

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

This morning, feelings of being overwhelmed and discouraged started to envelop my heart. And within minutes after brewing my hot cup of tea, God lovingly reminded me to focus on the positive. He suggested that I focus on His goodness, specifically His sovereignty and the redemptive healing He alone ushered into my life. Not surprisingly, His advice was nothing less than brilliant. Soon my dry, parched soul began bubbling over with a refreshing spring of praise.

“Then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” Deuteronomy 6:12

“Give thanks to the Lord, call on His name; make known among the nations what He has done. Sing to Him, praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts. Glory in His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always. Remember the wonders He has done, His miracles, and the judgements He pronounced.” Psalm 105:1-5

God is good regardless of our circumstances.

        “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Application Questions: 

1. What about God prompts you to be thankful today (who He is, what He has done for you in the past, what He is doing for you in the present, or even promises that He has made to you concerning your future)?

2. What can you do today to proactively prepare yourself to be thankful in the times that grumbling, criticism, or complaint can be easy to do?

3.  How can you encourage others to be thankful through your own actions?

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Leading Like Jesus: A Guide to Biblical Leadership

John Quincy Adams, the sixth American President, once said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

In this statement, we can see the leadership style of Jesus. When you think about the way He chose to live His life, doesn’t it ignite something deep within you that longs for more? This is great leadership. Servant leadership, in fact.

Jesus has always been a forerunner. He leads by example, and He only expects from others what He also expected from Himself as the King of Glory. As ambassadors for Christ, if we ever find ourselves leading in any other way than that which Jesus demonsrated, then we may need to reevaluate the motives of our hearts.

 Are we leading others by serving them, or are we leading others by looking to be served?

We all like recognition. We desire promotion, and we get excited when our peers applaud our efforts. Sometimes, our desire to be approved by others  precludes us from seeking after approval from the Lord.

“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” Proverbs 29:25

How does the Lord lead us? 

While waiting for my car to be serviced this morning, I grabbed a cup of coffee at a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts and began reading the Word. The Lord brought me to Psalms 23:1-3:

“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.”

We can see here that the Lord’s sheep lack nothing, and that He promotes rest for His sheep in a beautiful setting. He gives good things, allows them to relax in the appropriate season, and respects boundaries. This shepherd leads His followers beside quiet waters (allowing for times of reflection, and processing of thoughts and ideas). He also acts to refresh their souls (offering encouragement and insight for growth).

As I continued reading, my attention was brought to another verse in Psalms 25:9: “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way.”

Jesus is the epitome of humility, a characteristic required for true servant leadership. Even as the King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus always possesses a modest view of His own importance in comparison to His glorious Father. All leaders at some point will need to confront this same power struggle that inevitably lies deeply within our souls.

Humility is an antagonist to our natural desire for self-promotion (to be recognized) and approval from others. Any desire to be noticed by man tends to come from a heart of pride or deep-rooted insecurities. When we’re leading like Jesus, there is no room for this. He alone must be our portion as we seek a yolk of humility to cover our hearts.

“Jesus called them together and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant’.” Matthew 20:25-26

“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers-not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.” 1 Peter 5:2-4

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:3-8

“He must become greater; I must become less.” John 3:30

If you’re interested in understanding the importance of humble leadership stay tuned for the posts titled “A Purposeful Humility” and “Avoid the Pitfalls of Pride” scheduled for later on this week. Thank you for choosing His Daily Dose today!

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