Matthew 23:12 (ESV): Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
I can somewhat understand how I can exalt myself, both inwardly and publicly, in various ways. I have exalted myself on more than one occasion. I’ve then just as often been humbled (or humiliated) in the aftermath. It’s interesting how humiliation is most often a public thing. I rarely find myself humiliated in my private thoughts…
So where does the ability to humble myself come from? How can I, being imperfect and human and stupid and insensitive, make myself humble? Is that even possible?
I love Tim Keller’s quote: “Humility, true humility, is not thinking less of yourself. It’s thinking of yourself less.”
And there may be the necessary act in humbling myself. I can’t actively, in a sense, humble myself. But I do take on the attitude and action of Christ-like humility simply by thinking of myself (about myself) less.
So today, Lord, help me to think of others more: how I can serve? how can I pray? how can I actively make the lives of others better?
I woke up early this morning. I don’t know why, really. Maybe it was so I could see this sunrise.
I thought, “Heaven is like this…”
But then I realized there will be a day with no more analogies of “Heaven is like…”
There will just be an eternal day of Heaven is.
Dear ones, as we begin this new year, please be encouraged in your life of prayer by this devotional thought by C.H. Spurgeon. It comes from his classic book of devotions, called “Morning and Evening”.
“Continue in prayer.”
— Colossians 4:2
It is interesting to remark how large a portion of Sacred Writ is occupied with the subject of prayer, either in furnishing examples, enforcing precepts, or pronouncing promises. We scarcely open the Bible before we read, “Then began men to call upon the name of the Lord;” and just as we are about to close the volume, the “Amen” of an earnest supplication meets our ear. Instances are plentiful. Here we find a wrestling Jacob—there a Daniel who prayed three times a day—and a David who with all his heart called upon his God. On the mountain we see Elias; in the dungeon Paul and Silas. We have multitudes of commands, and myriads of promises.
What does this teach us, but the sacred importance and necessity of prayer? We may be certain that whatever God has made prominent in his Word, he intended to be conspicuous in our lives. If he has said much about prayer, it is because he knows we have much need of it. So deep are our necessities, that until we are in heaven we must not cease to pray. Dost thou want nothing? Then, I fear thou dost not know thy poverty. Hast thou no mercy to ask of God? Then, may the Lord’s mercy show thee thy misery! A prayerless soul is a Christless soul. Prayer is the lisping of the believing infant, the shout of the fighting believer, the requiem of the dying saint falling asleep in Jesus. It is the breath, the watchword, the comfort, the strength, the honour of a Christian. If thou be a child of God, thou wilt seek thy Father’s face, and live in thy Father’s love.
Pray that this year thou mayst be holy, humble, zealous, and patient; have closer communion with Christ, and enter oftener into the banqueting-house of his love. Pray that thou mayst be an example and a blessing unto others, and that thou mayst live more to the glory of thy Master. The motto for this year must be, “Continue in prayer.”
It is good to praise the Lord and make music to your name, O Most High, proclaiming your love in the morning and your faithfulness at night, to the music of the ten-stringed lyre and the melody of the harp. For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done. (Psalm 92:1-4 NIV)
I love C. H. Spurgeon’s call to love Jesus with all we are for all that He is. This is from his devotional, “Morning and Evening”
Morning, October 14
“I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.”
— Philippians 3:8
Spiritual knowledge of Christ will be a personal knowledge. I cannot know Jesus through another person’s acquaintance with him. No, I must know him myself; I must know him on my own account. It will be an intelligent knowledge—I must know him, not as the visionary dreams of him, but as the Word reveals him. I must know his natures, divine and human. I must know his offices—his attributes—his works—his shame—his glory. I must meditate upon him until I “comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge.” It will be an affectionate knowledge of him; indeed, if I know him at all, I must love him. An ounce of heart knowledge is worth a ton of head learning. Our knowledge of him will be a satisfying knowledge. When I know my Saviour, my mind will be full to the brim—I shall feel that I have that which my spirit panted after. “This is that bread whereof if a man eat he shall never hunger.” At the same time it will be an exciting knowledge; the more I know of my Beloved, the more I shall want to know. The higher I climb the loftier will be the summits which invite my eager footsteps. I shall want the more as I get the more. Like the miser’s treasure, my gold will make me covet more. To conclude; this knowledge of Christ Jesus will be a most happy one; in fact, so elevating, that sometimes it will completely bear me up above all trials, and doubts, and sorrows; and it will, while I enjoy it, make me something more than “Man that is born of woman, who is of few days, and full of trouble”; for it will fling about me the immortality of the ever living Saviour, and gird me with the golden girdle of his eternal joy. Come, my soul, sit at Jesus’s feet and learn of him all this day.
“Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
I have always loved this verse. It speaks to me of what I call the upward spiral of delighting in the Lord.
I think of it this way. As I delight in the Lord, He gives me more of Himself through the fellowship of the Spirit. So, I am filled with love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. As I am encouraged and refreshed by this fellowship with Him, it awakens in me a greater desire for *more*. God delights in giving us more of Himself, so He fulfills that desire. So then, I delight in Him afresh and all the more. So I am stirred to yet more Godly desires and leanings, and I pray to Him for them. And, He gives me *more*.
So I am on an upwardly ascending spiral, ever-reaching for Him and for my heavenly home, which becomes more and more my desire…