Humility Clothing

Easter lily

Stinging arrows of truth got my attention at a workshop on humility that I recently attended at a conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. I am stuck on these two things. Self-preservation and accomplishment. These comprise my inner voice, my motivations for doing anything really. My old self. My false self. My ego-centered self.

Romans 13:14 says, “Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” This is where Easter leads me. I want to put on the new self. Really I do. I want to clothe myself in Christ. But, so much gets in the way. So. much. I get in my own way.

Romans 14 whispers to me a description of true humility. Things like acceptance without quarreling over disputable matters. Not treating people with contempt or judgment. Loving others sincerely. Trusting the Lord in all the affairs of believers, strong or weak ones. Belonging to the Lord, therefore belonging to the community of faith, the whole community – not just one denomination. Realizing that we can never say “we have loved enough.”

Because Jesus lovingly emptied Himself on the cross to pay the penalty for my sin, how then can I not “reject ALL prejudices and personality preferences” to love – sincerely love others? It doesn’t make sense. I can’t seem to reject my prejudices. And I can’t seem to get past my wiring and my masks. Even my strengths. My weaknesses. And my interference in God’s timing and purposes. Why can’t I simply depend on God and not the opportunities that come along that become my replacements for dependence on Him?

This Easter, the cross reminds me that I must clothe myself in Christ’s humility by the grace of the Holy Spirit. I don’t want to stay stuck in self-preservation and accomplishment. I’ve got to get rid of my list of people who don’t measure up. I’ve got to stop thinking that I know what everybody ought to be doing. I need to listen up and not be the half-listener I am at all the wrong times. I need to give up all claims to territory. God is the owner.

The truth is – God went to great lengths to help me put on the new redeemed self. He can also be trusted to expose my old self and put it to death. Goodbye to self-preservation and accomplishment. Hello to Easter. Psalm 37:39-40 says, “The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; He is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in Him.” He delivers us from ourselves…

My Easter prayer. I want the self that resembles Christ. I do. That self is transformed by God’s Spirit. That self experiences the fullness of Jesus. That self is motivated to grow up in Him and encounter Him through His Word. Become like Him. That self gives up the right to be right. That self puts rights aside. That self loves sincerely.

Romans 12:9-10 says, “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.”

I want the self that resembles Christ.

 

 

 

 

Is Anything Too Hard?

Ap 23

Photo Credit – Kim Clayton Lance

Is anything too hard for the Lord? This is not a trick question. My wandering heart often says “yes.”

Yet, Easter is the emphatic “NO.” Remembering this “NO” is difficult when the distractions of the world shut out the truth of the gospel. When life is unfair. When life doesn’t work according to schedule. When hurts get deeper and deeper. When what I want is all that is important. When cancer strikes. When jobs are lost. When friends become enemies. When infertility strikes. When family dynamics are dysfunctional. When aging becomes a gauntlet instead of a gentle passage of seasons.

Genesis 18:13-14 says, “Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.” ” And, Sarah did.

Isaiah 9:6 says, “For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” And, this happened.

There is a song recorded by Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood called “Somethin’ Bad.” I think of the lyrics sometimes and see how closely they describe life’s non-song, true experiences. The ultimate “somethin’ bad” really did happen! Jesus emptied Himself and died on the cross to save me from my sin and rebellion. He was horribly crucified so that I could become spiritually healed and right with God. He gave His life so that I could live eternally with Him.

Could there have been another path? The answer is still… NO. When my faith is waning, I am Sarah. Full of doubt. Out of patience. Tired of hoping. Wondering if God can be trusted after all. Trying to figure out if I can make things happen on my own. Trying to be a fixer. Saying to myself, some things might be too hard for the Lord.

Then God’s Spirit nudges me back onto the path of grace. He strengthens my faith. He reminds me that I have let the trappings of Easter crowd out the truth. He rids me of doubt. He shows me that true Easter somehow got buried in the rubble of Easter egg hunts, Sunday dresses, spring colors, bunny rabbits, and sugar treats. He restores hope. He turns my impatience around. He whispers, “Sarah, trust me.”

Nothing is too hard for Him. He conquered death. He was resurrected. He broke the power of sin. He is completely trustworthy. He loves everlastingly. Psalm 37:1 says “do not fret…” and Psalm 37:7 says, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him…” And, Sarah did have a son.

And, we have The Son.