See Your Calling

26  For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.27  But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28  and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29  that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30  But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God–and righteousness and sanctification and redemption– 31  that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.”1 Corinthians 1:26-31 (NKJV)

There are a few things in seeing our calling. Most important is recognizing that it is about His kingdom, not us. The next is the expression, ‘The Lord doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.’ This runs counter to our culture. I used to work in HR and we were taught to hire the most qualified candidate for the position. That was the practice, though my own focus was always ‘hire to character, train to content and if you get both great.’ I would rather hire someone I need to train but can trust than someone with great skill whose character I am not comfortable with.

In the same way Jesus looks at our hearts first. He also puts us in places where we need to trust Him. Think about Paul the highly educated Pharisee. He was a perfect fit to take the gospel to the Jews. Where was His primary calling – to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15).

One aspect of seeing our calling is going where Jesus sends us. The second is that a calling implies a future commissioning. We may know where we are called but Jesus commissions us once He sees our hearts are ready. When we are ready others recognize His work in our lives. Our commissioning may be a formal ceremony, a sense of release in our spirit or an informal acknowledgment from others who recognize the anointing we carry but it will happen if we are found faithful (1 Cor. 4:2).

The Call of Corporate Koinonia (Communion) Part 2

I closed my last post with Jesus prayer in John 17:20-23 for unity in the church. Key to our understanding is seeing that we were included in Jesus prayer.

20  “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;” John 17:20 (NKJV)

Think about this, we can all trace our physical ancestry back to 8 people, Noah, his three sons and their wives or if we want to be more succinct, back to two people in a garden, Adam and Eve. While Ancestry DNA or 23andMe may not be able to make the link, it is somewhere there. In the same way, we can all trace our spiritual ancestry back to the first century. Somewhere in a little Roman province called Palestine (Israel) our spiritual ancestors heard the gospel, were born again and the word spread to others. Eventually it came to us.

This idea of linkage and connection is a key theme in the NT. In fact the NT knows no idea of Christians in isolation. From the Day of Pentecost onward the focus was on community, a reflection of Jesus prayer. Paul said the body grows through relationships – joints are relationships between parts.

16  from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:16 (NKJV)

Paul calls us to find our common unity in the Holy Spirit through walking in love for one another. Not the insipid ‘tolerance’ of today but a love that actually seeks what is best for others and calls them to His high standard. 

1  I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, 2  with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, 3  endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; Ephesians 4:1-4 (NKJV)

Peter said as His body (there is a unity term, the body of Christ) we are being built into a spiritual house (not houses) and that we are a holy nation (singular).

4  Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5  you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:4-5 (NKJV)

9  But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10  who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10 (NKJV)

Jesus said that He would build His church (His called out ones), not on a man as some teach, but on the revelation of who Jesus is.  

16  Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17  Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18  And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:16-18 (NKJV)

I believe that before Jesus returns He is going to see His John 17 prayer answered in fullness – a church moving and flowing throughout the earth in submission to the Holy Spirit as He leads and guides and builds us into the spiritual house we are called to become. I do not know how He will do this, I simply believe that He will, that in the midst of deep darkness His light will shine brightly (Is. 60:1-2). I desire to do my part to join my heart with His to see this realized in the earth. After all it is up to Him and here is what He promised.

13  Behold, is it not of the LORD of hosts That the peoples labor to feed the fire, And nations weary themselves in vain? 14  For the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea. Habakkuk 2:13-14 (NKJV)

This is our calling! So,

23  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24  And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25  not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:23-25 (NKJV)

The Call of Corporate Koinonia (Communion) Part 1

While I have written a great deal about our individual walk with Jesus, there is another element. We do not readily see it in our rather individualistic culture but it was plain in the first century, the beginning of the church and is all over the New Testament if we have eyes to see.

The word for church is ecclesia and it means ‘the called out ones.’ As His body we are called out but the focus is less on what we are called out of and more on what we are called to become. We are not ‘called out’ to escape something but rather we are building material to be made into something. Paul saw this clearly.

19  Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20  having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, 21  in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22  in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22 (NKJV)

The purpose of our calling is to be corporately be shaped into Jesus dwelling place. This corporate experience can be seen in the early church. I saw something in the scriptures in 1991 that I long to see in our day in a corporate gathering.

It is seen in Acts 4:24-31. The context is the release of Peter and John and the celebration of the corporate body over their release. We do not know how many believers were gathered. Yet, what struck me all those years ago was the first verse in this passage.

 24  So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them,” Acts 4:24 (NKJV)

Here we have the body gathered. They had no PowerPoint or overheads, they didn’t all have their scroll handouts. Many of them could likely not read. Yet guided by an unseen hand they raised their voices ‘with one accord,’ as a corporate body and all prayed the same prayer. This is amazing! There was a corporate koinonia that produced this. The word translated as ‘with one accord’ is used 11 times in Acts and each time, whether or good or bad, it refers to a unity of purpose. The first two references are to the unity in the body prior to the release of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:14, 2:1).

Will we in corporate gatherings as His body come to a place of corporate koinonia where we are all hearing and expressing the same thing from the Holy Spirit at the same time? After all, in accord with His Father’s heart Jesus prayed for this to happen.

20  “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21  that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22  And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23  I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” John 17:20-23 (NKJV)

Intimate One Part 5

In closing this series I have some summary comments. I have expressed the need for intimacy with Jesus and encouraged us to go deeper in our relationship with Him. I have also looked at how we do that with and without scripture. I noted that Jesus said His words were spirit and life and part of experiencing His presence is believing what He said and acting upon it. Now I will look at how we personalize our relationship with scripture.

I think and hope that most Christians have a life verse or verses, scriptures that the Holy Spirit has quickened to us in some way. To help in understanding this I will share one of mine, Isaiah 30:15.

15  For thus says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel: “In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” But you would not, Isaiah 30:15 (NKJV)

What the Holy Spirit quickened to me in this verse was one phrase – In quietness and confidence shall be your strength. Had you known me when I was in my late teens or even early twenties you would not have used this verse to describe me. However, I committed my heart to Him at age 25 and He gave me this verse not long after that. As I embraced the life in this verse it began to change me, and now I find it marks much of my life. I draw strength and confidence from Jesus when I get quiet with Him and seek His heart and voice. I don’t even think about this verse much anymore because it has become integrated into who and what I am. His word has nourished and strengthened my spirit and become woven into my soul.

What I experienced in this process is expressed by Peter.

2  as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 1 Peter 2:2 (NKJV)

Peter is saying that when we are born again we need to engage with His life giving word right from the start. When Peter describes it as milk that implies not simply reading it but taking it in. The context for Peter stating this is at the end of chapter 1 where he extols the importance and power of scripture in partnership with the Holy Spirit.

22  Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23  having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 24  because “All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, 25  But the word of the LORD endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you. 1 Peter 1:22-25 (NKJV)

Clearly there is life and power in His word (see also Heb. 4:12). While the verse I shared may not work for you, in fact it likely won’t if the Holy Spirit has not quickened it to you, use what He has given you. If you do not have a life verse or verses right now ask Him for them and then as He gives them drink deeply and often that they may shape you into what He has called you be.

Intimate One Part 4

The verses below have much to teach us and I will not try to capture all of it in this post. There is however a key aspect that I will highlight – partaking.

3  as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4  by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 2 Peter 1:3-4 (NKJV)

Given the word knowledge refers to an experiential rather than theoretical knowledge, let’s look at how it connects to the rest of the passage. We know from verse 3 that everything we need to live a godly life is rooted in knowing Jesus and the Father. So, read it this way. ‘The Father’s divine power has imparted to us all we need to live a godly life. It comes from knowing Him.’  We are called to share in or partake of the divine nature.

So consider the ‘partaking’ process. When I get up in the morning I partake of breakfast. I ingest physical food for my physical body. When I simply sit with and experience Jesus I partake of His divine nature. Think of what Jesus said regarding the experience with the woman from Samaria.

31  In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.” 32  But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.” John 4:31-32 (NKJV)  

In context, Jesus had just told the Samaritan woman who came to the well to draw water that He could give her ‘living ‘water.’ He was referring to drinking of the Holy Spirit. In verses 31-32 Jesus was obliquely telling His disciples that His encounter with the woman at the well and her response to Him had fed His spirit.

In the church context we can feed our spirit on His word and worship but we can also feed it via direct experience with the Holy Spirit.

48  “I am the bread of life. 49  Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50  This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. 51  I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” 52  The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?” 53  Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54  Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55  For My flesh is food indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. 56  He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him. 57  As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.” John 6:48-57 (NKJV)

63  It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63 (NKJV)

67  Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” 68  But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69  Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” John 6:67-69 (NKJV)

Those in the church who believe that the communion elements magically become the body and blood of Jesus are missing the point of what Jesus taught. The early Quakers were a true spiritual movement and they didn’t practice communion using physical elements, not that we can’t. They believed the elements represented a spiritual reality and so practiced receiving in their spirits from the Holy Spirit by sitting with Him and seeking to receive.

Perhaps you have tried sitting before Him and encountering Him in your spirit and it seemed like nothing happened. Fine, try again. Embrace this saying, ‘The race is not always to the swift but to those who keep on running.’ As I write this I have just returned from a long walk with my wife. For me those are times of conversation and also reflective times and times of encounter with Jesus.

At times during the walk I found myself thinking about the Trinity, at other times quietly singing a worship song under my breath and at other times quietly worshipping in tongues or interceding for people. In the process I was both feeding my spirit and releasing what has been sown into it. This is a regular experience for me. This particular one took place on the beach but it regularly happens hiking in the mountains or walking the dog. My heart is drawn to worship and interact with Jesus. Prior to my retirement from fulltime work I also had these experiences at times while working. We can interact on two levels.     

This fruit I currently experience has long been a regular experience and is paired with long seasons of sowing. At the same time, in the beach walk I referenced above there were other factors that could distract. I have very painful plantar fasciitis in one heel and torn cartilage in my other knee (I often feel two pieces of cartilage moving around and at times they jam between the bones, it isn’t enjoyable). Yet, for the most part during this walk and regularly, I am only tangentially aware of these things because my heart is drawn into communion with Him and that is my focus.

So, pursue communion with the one who is spirit and life and enjoy the journey of obeying Peter’s injunction, “be partakers of the divine nature.”

Intimate One Part 3

If you have been a Christian for any length of time you have likely heard this verse quoted.

9  “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV)

Tragically, this verse is rather popular in evangelical circles. I say tragically because we misapply it. Recently a Christian leader used this verse in a blog post to talk about how we could not trust our hearts. I commented on his post, thanked him for the other aspects, and suggested he rethink his understanding of heart based on what the New Testament (NT) teaches. I also provided support from scripture.

I say that because Jeremiah was writing and speaking to unregenerate individuals. To understand our hearts let’s look at the NT perspective instead.

8  So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, 9  and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Acts 15:8-9 (NKJV)

5  For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. 6  For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:5-6 (NKJV)

33  “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34  Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35  A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.” Matthew 12:33-35 (NKJV)

So, we can see in the NT that when we come to Jesus our hearts are purified. We also see that the place we are called to encounter Jesus is in our hearts. That is where we experience, “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Lastly we are to fellowship with Jesus in our hearts and bring forth from our heart good things, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things.” That seems to be what Jesus modeled. He fellowshipped with His Father in His heart then released what came out of those encounters. You know, simple things like the Sermon on the Mount.  

The important part in this is understanding how to encounter Jesus in our hearts. I am a big fan of reading the scriptures. It has been my daily practice for decades. However, that will not in and of itself lead me to encounter Jesus in an intimate way. In fact what if I don’t have or know the scriptures and am seeking intimacy with Jesus.

Imagine I am a Gentile living in AD 40. I don’t know the Hebrew Scriptures and I was converted under the preaching of Phillip while getting something for my master in the market, I am a slave after all. Now I need to develop an intimate relationship with Jesus. I can’t read my bible because I don’t have one, secondly, like most of the population I am illiterate. Oops, I can’t apply the 20th or 21st Century models of ‘pray and read your bible’ to get to know Jesus. I think that is why Paul told Timothy to pay attention to the public reading of scripture, it was the only way most Christians were going to hear any (1 Tim. 4:13).

There must be another way and there is. Jesus is dwelling in my heart and I can access His voice and presence there. I heard Phillip talk about Proverbs 14:33 (wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding). Not that Phillip provided chapter and verse, after all the scriptures didn’t have chapters and verses then. I also heard one of my fellow believers mention that Jesus had been made unto us wisdom (1 Cor. 1:30).

At my conversion I learned that He now lives in me so knowing that and these two ideas from scripture I begin to thank Jesus that He lives in my heart. When I awake I seek to get still and quiet and ask Him to speak to my heart. While working in the garden I seek to pay attention to His presence. I can’t weigh everything I sense on my own but I can practice corporate discernment with my fellow believers when I meet them in the market ((1 Cor. 14:26-33, 1 Thess. 5:19-21). Given I am a slave I don’t get a day off to attend a home fellowship so I have to embrace it where I find it. Over time I find myself becoming more conscious of Jesus in me and find myself exercising greater wisdom throughout the day (Rom. 8:14).  

While the scenario I have painted is strange if we look at it from the perspective of our modern culture, I believe it was common in the first century AD. So here is my encouragement, reflect on this scenario, imagine yourself in it and practice encountering Jesus in your heart. Get quiet, focus on Him and see what happens to your intimacy with Him.

Next week back to 2 Peter 1 and looking at how we partake of Jesus.

NOTE – My point is not to minimize the importance of scripture. Down through the centuries many believers laid down their lives to preserve them. Rather I want to highlight that the scriptures are a means to intimacy with Jesus, not a substitute, and that down through the centuries many had to find a way to encounter Jesus without access to the scriptures in any meaningful way.

Intimate One Part 2

         I sometimes reflect on the eternal realm, the place of His dwelling. In seeking to understand the concept of spiritual intimacy I think there is an important aspect to reflect on – the most important part of us is not from here! Think about it. When we surrendered our hearts and lives to Jesus He recreated our spirit in His image with His nature.

3  Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4  Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5  Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” John 3:3-5 (NKJV)

17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:1

23  having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 1 Peter 1:23 (NKJV)

         The moment we surrendered our hearts to Jesus a transaction took place in the spiritual realm and Jesus life was released in our spirits. At the moment we received the capacity to interact with the eternal spiritual realm in a way we could not before being born again. Spiritual intimacy with the Father, Son and Spirit requires the development of this capacity. We can see or be aware of the kingdom of God, we then need to learn to enter and live in it (Jn. 3:3, 5).

         In the context of dealing with suffering and persecution Peter, who knew Jesus well, exhorted us to encounter this eternal realm, to know Jesus.

18  but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18 (NKJV)

A further context is that Peter opened this letter with a call to know Jesus in a deeper way and 3:18 is simply reinforcing that message.

3  as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4  by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 2 Peter 1:3-4 (NKJV)

So, the way to be intimate with Jesus, is to experience Him, that is the meaning of the Greek word translated as ‘knowledge’ in verse 3. Knowledge not about Jesus but of Jesus, experiencing His presence. In my next post I will delve further into how we walk this path of knowing, experiencing Jesus, the Intimate One.  

Intimate One Part 1

My motivation for writing this is a song. It won’t be one you know, it isn’t sung at large worship gatherings or played on the radio. A number of years ago a few of us were worshipping (we met weekly for prayer and worship). As the worship leader shifted to beautiful and spontaneous instrumental playing on the piano words came to me that I sang along with the playing and a song emerged. Some of the words were,

I am here to worship, Intimate One

You are all I worship, Intimate One

In my life this release of words and worship has happened a few times over the decades. Some I wrote down, some I never did. My point is that something happens inside of us when we engage with Jesus at a deeper place. In recent months He gave me the beginning of another song, which emerged as I was just sitting and worshipping Him in the morning. I think it portends what is coming in reality to His body. These are the words,

It’s the beauty of the King

It’s the glory of the lamb

The King of all creation

Has visited us again

As we bow before Him now

We know Him deep within

The glory of the Lamb

Cleansing all our sin

I believe that Jesus is calling us as His body to a deeper place, a place of deeper intimacy with Him. I know many of us agree with this and pray for a fresh move of the Holy Spirit among us. What I don’t know is how much we prepare for a move of the Holy Spirit. After all the scriptures say,

1  “Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” Says the LORD of hosts. 2  “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire And like launderer’s soap. 3  He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, And purge them as gold and silver, That they may offer to the LORD An offering in righteousness. Malachi 3:1-3 (NKJV)

Malachi’s message is clear, the One, even the One in whom we delight, when He manifests His presence will release a purifying and purging. Think of the early church and the combination of joy, passion and fear that fell upon the body. Let us pray for His coming, a greater manifestation of Jesus among us, but let us prepare our hearts, for He is coming not to bless our plans and agendas but to more fully unveil His!

Are we ready?   

Version of Worthy of It All by the Burning Ones

Walk Humbly With Your God Part 3

A key aspect to walking in humility is agreeing with His word. An area that is easy to miss is agreeing with what His word says about us once we are converted. As believers we are called to function with renewed minds, a new way of thinking and seeing.

1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:1-2 (NKJV)

Our transformation comes from seeing God and ourselves through the lens of His word, from thinking differently about both. So let me share a brief story. I do a few mediations per month for matters in small claims court. Recently walking into the downtown office building where they take place I was conscious of the security guards at the front and aware that when I arrived I would be given an access card to go places where the general public could not. There is a sense of authority and privilege that comes with ‘access.’

Reflecting on this I wondered how many of us as believers place the correct importance on the authority and privilege we have in our access to the Throne of Grace (Heb. 4:16). No matter what takes place in the halls of power anywhere in or on the earth, we have access to an audience with the creator and ruler of the universe and the opportunity to partner with Him in His strategic purposes in the earth.

Are we humbly submitting to what He says and using our access card?

Walk Humbly With Your God

        

         If we are to walk humbly with God we need a clear understanding of humility. As always, context is important and in the case of Micah humility is presented in the context of first demonstrating justice and loving mercy.

8  He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 (NKJV)

         Practically, humility means that we submit our ideas of justice and mercy, and everything else to God’s ideas. We recognize that we are not in charge, He is. This is humility. I think in general your average Christian believes in submitting to God in theory, just not so much in practice. I made a real commitment to Jesus when I was 25 (a long time ago now). At the time I struggled to accept Christianity, though I had been raised with it, because I didn’t like some of what the Bible said, and honestly I still don’t. However, what I have learned is that I need to bow my knee to His wisdom and sovereignty.

There is a reason I am not in charge of the universe and part of humility is choosing to obey and submit my will to the scriptures because they are an expression of Yahweh’s views.

The Bible communicates His will to us. Where we have significant issues now in evangelical Christianity in the US and Canada is that we have in many ways abandoned a humble submission to His word. It is one thing to debate over the main theological positons of Calvinism or Arminianism because both positons can be defended from scripture. What cannot be defended is the shifting positon of many on social issues. The scriptures are not ambiguous here, and while we may not recognize it, when we seek to reinterpret them in our image we are playing God and refusing to humble ourselves.

If we want true justice and mercy then we need to humbly hold our ideas up to the lens of scripture and change our views where we see conflict. Let’s take a look!.