Faith Like Birds - Part VII
I have never taken the pursuit of the humility of Jesus as serious in my life as I’ve been taking it in the last few months.
The more I study the life of Jesus, the more I am fascinated by it.
He was single in His focus. He lived to please His Father. He was dependent on the One who sent Him. And His diet consisted of a lifestyle of obedience. Of all the adjectives Jesus could have used to describe Himself, He chose these two: “I am gentle (meek and humble in heart.” (Matthew 11:29). Indeed, it’s these two attributes that we are to learn from according to the same verse.
As a result, I’ve become utterly convinced that humility was the greatest thing Jesus taught and demonstrated. It was present in His birth, His life, and His death. His attitude revealed it and His actions reverberated with it. He never thought of Himself. He completely surrendered His will. And He came to serve.
It is because of these revelations that I have made the following prayer my own: “Make me aware of every kind and form of pride that exists in my heart and from within me the humility that both Your light and Holy Spirit are attracted to.”
That very prayer has stirred up more of a battle within than I had ever anticipated. I’ve learned that when you desire to have something of the Lord’s formed within you, you need to be ready to do battle with its antithesis. The very pride that I believe God has shown to be lurking within my heart as a result of that prayer is the pride of jealousy.
I have struggled greatly with this green eyed monster over the last few months.
I have found myself feeling jealous toward those who are enjoying what I am tempted to want by way of relationships, positions, honor, encouragement, achievements, and success. Not only that, I’ve found myself being suspicious of those I’ve felt jealousy toward and have judged them. I’ve presumed to know their motives and have projected my struggles on them.
Why am I telling you these things?
The Bible says that if we have jealousy in our heart, we shouldn’t be arrogant and lie about it (see James 3:14). Denial never helped anyone. It’s pride in our reputation that keeps us from being vulnerable and honest.
When you come to understand what Scripture has to say about jealousy, the last thing you’ll want to do is deny its existence. • Jealousy is straight up evil, demonic, and invites disorder (see James 3:16) • Jealousy tears you up from the inside (see Proverbs 14:30)
• Jealousy is overpowering and causes you to feel like you have no self-control (see Proverbs 27:4)
• Jealousy makes a person furious (see Proverbs 6:34).
I’ll be honest — I hate feeling jealous. It breaks my heart. I want to rejoice when others are preferred or celebrated before me. I really do… I don’t want the glory that comes from people. I want the glory that comes from God… and yet… I find myself tempted in this area.
There are certain things that I feel prone to because of what I didn’t have growing up. A life riddled with rejection can often lead someone to crave specific things — recognition, appreciation, approval, and acceptance. Although I know that these things are ONLY satisfied through Jesus, the enemy targets me in these areas. Such cravings can leave a person vulnerable to jealousy, envy, anger, frustration and bitterness. Our answer is never in what we think we crave from people; it’s in what can only be found in a relationship with God.
Believe me when I say that if anything less than Jesus is the answer, it will always be the problem.
You find out what you crave when its absence frustrates, agitates, or upsets you.
If we are serious about wanting God’s attitude and heart formed within us, we mustn’t run from anything the Lord may be showing us about ourselves that He wants to deal with. The word of God judges the thoughts and intentions of our hearts (see Hebrews 4:12). It reveals where we are — our attitudes and way of life. We don’t read it, per se. Rather, it reads us!
I wonder if we sometimes blame the devil when God is showing us the contents of our hearts. I think it’s imperative that we learn the difference between conviction and accusation. I’ve never felt condemned through conviction. Condemnation is the work of accusation.
There’s never been one sin my life that I hated that I wasn’t set free of… and I hate jealousy. Whether it’s a temptation or something that is truly a matter of the heart, one thing I know: I DON’T WANT IT.
I see that I wasn’t created for it. I know that it’s not who I am in Christ, nor is it who He is in me. It’s the result of self-centered thinking. It’s concern is itself — what it wants and what it thinks it deserves. It’s rooted in pride and insecurity and the answer is humility.
I thank God for what His light reveals. I can’t repent of what I’m ignorant to.
Please know that the closer you get to the Light, the more aware you become of what lurks within. The reason for this is contained in the fact that your heart is what’s most precious to God. It’s the hidden person of the heart that He’s attracted to — not your degrees or achievements (see 1 Peter 3:4).
What’s revealed is not an occasion to fall apart or to forfeit your identity; it’s an invitation to change your mind and ask God to build the opposite stronghold in its place.
He shows us what’s ultimately hurting us and what we weren’t made for.
If we choose to make the humility of Jesus our aim and goal, then we must be willing to fight what stands in opposition to it — every form of pride.
Remember: Your job is to change your mind (repent). His job is to deliver you from it.
What you confess, He is faithful to cleanse (see 1 John 1:9).
- Brian Connolly, Itinerant Minister & Author