“Thanks, I Needed That!”

This morning Peter and I pulled up behind the resale shop downtown to unload some items. As we carried in the boxes, a man who had been working in the alley informed me, “Your front tire is low.”

I thanked him, and a few minutes later we had the inflater connected and the pressure back to normal.

That stranger did me a real favor. Otherwise, I might have ruined the tire.

Another example

If I ask others to proofread my writing, should I hope they won’t find any errors, even if there are some?

If there’s a mistake, I want to know it.

Other more objective eyes could see what mine had overlooked.

But what if it starts getting personal?

Would I be just as grateful to someone for pointing out a serious shortcoming in my life that needs correcting?

Even when correction is gently given (Galatians 6:1-2), why do we humans so often get defensive and feel resentful when we could really benefit from constructive criticism?

It is no time to lash back with, “Judge not that ye be not judged.”

Is our pride showing?

What if the apostle Peter had taken offense when Jesus or Paul had to correct him?

Instead he grew.

David had the humility to admit, “I have sinned against the LORD” when the prophet Nathan rebuked him for his sins (2 Samuel 12:13).

Instead of resenting he repented.

On another occasion David wrote, “Let the righteous smite me in kindness and reprove me; it is oil upon the head; do not let my head refuse it . . .” (Psalm 145:5).

This old head needs a dose of oil occasionally.

How about yours?

young man thinking-tagged

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Before We Criticize

Yesterday I picked up my friend Peter Kennedy. As we drove off, the “ding-ding-ding” warning sounded, and I said to Peter, “Seatbelt, Brother.” He said, “I have my seatbelt on.”

I looked. He did.

I didn’t.

I had a good laugh over that!

There’s a lesson in that

How human it is to be more conscious of others’ perceived faults than our own.

“Why,” Jesus asked, “do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? . . . . You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:3, 5).

The Pharisee in Jesus’ parable prayed in the temple, “God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.

“I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get”

Big Me, little you. O what a good boy am I!

God was not impressed.

The attitude God can bless

But the tax collector, standing nearby, humbly confessed, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” It was that man who went home a forgiven man, Jesus said, while the Pharisee did not (Luke 18:9-14).

Humility goes a long way with God.

Pride gets nowhere.

 

humility-tagged

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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Isn’t That Just Like God?

Who would have thought?

Israel had been eagerly anticipating the long-awaited Messiah. But who could have imagined that His first bed would be an animal’s feeding trough! Or that He would grow up in a poor home in a small town with little to recommend it.

After Jesus began His ministry, Philip excitedly announced to his friend Nathanael, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote—Jesus of Nazareth . . . .” Nathanael exclaimed, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” “Come and see,” Philip replied (John 1:45-46).

Respectable folks could not understand why Jesus would spend so much of His time with society’s rejects.

And the very idea that the Messiah, of all people, would be executed as a common criminal on a despised Roman cross! No, that was absolutely too much (1 Corinthians 1:23; Deuteronomy 21:23).

Why would God do it this way?

God was making a statement.

In explaining why God chooses that which is lowly and unimpressive to accomplish His purposes, Paul observed that in the Corinthian church “there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God” (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).

Pride has no place in God’s kingdom.

Only the humble may apply.

humility-tagged

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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God’s Prerogatives

Many things only God can do.

Unlike God, we cannot create from nothing, nor manage the universe. We cannot be everywhere at once, nor can we know the future, beyond what God has revealed. We are so limited.

Some things God does we can and should do.

We can do good to our enemies, as He does (Matthew 5:43-48). “Be merciful,” Jesus says, “just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36). We are to be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16).

While we can only dimly reflect His goodness, we are to be “imitators of God, as beloved children” (Ephesians 5:1).

Some things we could do, which God forbids.

Revenge is God’s business, not ours (Romans 12:19-20).

We have no authority to alter God’s word or substitute human tradition for Scripture  (2 Peter 3:15-16; Matthew 15:1-14).

Therefore:

Where it is impossible for us to do what God does, let’s humbly acknowledge our human limitations (Job 38:1-42:6).

Where God wants us to do as He does, let’s follow His lead.

Where God alone has the right to act, let’s never trespass on His domain.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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The Micah Principle Applied

What God expects

“And what does the LORD require of you, but to do justice, love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

Seven centuries later John the Baptist challenged his listeners.

When tax collectors asked what repentance would mean for them, John answered, “Collect no more than what you have been ordered to” (Luke 3:13). Do justice!

To the crowds John said, “The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none . . .” (3:11). Love kindness!

John also warned that they should not boast, “We have Abraham for our father” when what they truly needed was to repent (3:8). Walk humbly with your God!

How we respond

The Micah Principle governs how we treat others and how we respond to God.

It is so powerful!

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB: http://www.lockman.org/

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