Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Lesson in Humility

This picture is not real clear because it's not a picture I wanted to take. Actually I didn't take it, because it's a vision of something I'd like to forget. But my husband did capture the moment on his old cell phone and for the sake of this post, I'll share it with you.

Last week, I offered to go with my husband as he took wagons from our farm to another field. Once we arrived he decided to fill the wagons and we enjoyed a little uninterrupted conversation in the combine. All was going well...he was combining and I drove the tractor and wagons so he could unload on the go. We were finishing up and he told me to pull the wagons on the road and pick him up on the other end of the field. Sounded simple enough.

I turned out of the field onto the end rows, glanced back and saw the tire crack off. It seemed to happen in slow motion, but there was nothing I could do as I next watched the wagon tip and bushel upon bushel of corn flow out. I was sick. My husband was heading the opposite way, so he saw nothing. I didn't have my phone so I couldn't call him. So what did I do? Sat there and cried for awhile.

I felt terrible. I'd made a huge mess. I glanced out the tractor cab and saw dollars on the ground instead of corn. Eventually, I saw Job start making his way towards me. I got out of the tractor and saw everything up close and started to cry again. I walked to him sobbing and shaking.

"Just relax. It's going to be OK," were his first words to me. He assured me it wasn't something I had done and was a mishap he'd actually experienced before. At this point, the rain started to fall and his brother was on his way with the skidloader, our kids and shovels.

We jumped in the combine and my stomach continued to churn as I remembered I was suppose to lead Titus24U that evening and share about humility. I told Job, "I'm going to call Jackie and tell her I can't do it." He assured me it would be fine and that I would be going.

Once we met up with the clean-up crew I felt terrible all over again. Here I'd made the mess, but they were sending me home to lead Bible study while they would get soaked scooping up grain. My little Jaylyn saw the distressed look on my face and reminded me, "Mommy, it's not your fault."

As I headed home much went through my mind..."Sometimes God humbles us in our humility." "It takes humility to receive grace." And "If we want our kids to be humble, we'd better live out humility." Friend, we do need to humble ourselves in order to die to self and obey God.

I'd been knee deep in study of this topic that is broad and deep and He used this experience to continue the lesson. Friend, let me ask you - what is humility? What does a humble person look like? I think we can all give general answers and examples, but Biblically this is a big, important topic that can be somewhat hard to understand.

Prior to my study, I would have said humility is the opposite of pride. It's NOT that cocky NFL player who is all about me. This is true, but there is so much more. Andrew Murray said, "Pride is the lack of humility," which I thought was an interesting perspective. Especially when I connect it with a Susie Larson quote, "Insecurity is a form of selfishness, which is pride.

Now for someone who's battled insecurity for most of my life this quote hit home. For years, I at times labeled my insecurity - my shyness, my lack of confidence, my fear of speaking up, my worry about what others thought, as humility. And friend, that is SO wrong.

Humility is all about God, not me. Humility is an emptying of self. Being humble requires confidence, in Christ. Humble people focus on God, not self. When we're humble we acknowledge God as Creator and remember we are simply His creation. In Greek, humility means to submit self, a meek, gentle and lowly state.

Humility is needed to learn and teach, lead and follow, give and receive, help and be helped, share and listen, receive criticism and rightly confront, serve and be served, ask and offer. Humility is necessary if we want to be like Jesus...the one who was HUMBLE.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 
who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God 
something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing 
by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself 
by becoming obedient to death - even death on a cross!" 
Philippians 2:5-8

Friend, there is so much more I could say, but I believe it will mean more if God is the one talking, so I'm going to do something a bit different and leave you with some homework. Everytime I sat down to search the Scriptures and dig into God's Word on this topic, He spoke to my heart...and convicted it too. That's not necessarily an easy thing, but let me assure you it is a good thing. 

If you're up for the challenge, here's some notes from our local Titus24U gathering that will get you started. I encourage you to humble yourself and ask God to teach you and transform you! I pray your lesson won't include a mess like the one I described above!! Feel free to print this out. I'd love to hear what God teaches you, so be sure to comment. I believe this lesson in humility will last a lifetime, so if we can learn from each other, we perhaps can avoid some humiliation and grow in our humility!

A Short Study on Humility
Words From Others
“Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” C.S. Lewis
“Humility is the proper estimate of one’s self.” Charles Spurgeon
“The level of our faith matches the depth of our humility.”
“Lack of humility often is the cause of much of our difficulty.”
“Pride is refusing to accept God’s gifts or taking credit for what God has done; Humility is accepting the gifts and using them to praise and serve God.” (Bible notes - Luke 1:48)

Words from God
As you read these Scriptures think about these questions - "What do they tell you about humility? Where does humility come from? What does it lead to? Is it necessary for a believer? Why?

Proverbs 3:34, 11:2, 13:10 29:23  
Jer. 6:16-19
Psalms 25:9        
Isaiah 57:15
Philippians 2:3-11        
1 Peter 5:5-6
Colossians 2:18-23, 3:12                
Eph. 4:1-2

Examples of Humility
As you read of these influential people, take note of the role humility played in their life.
Abraham - Genesis 18:27-32
Jacob - Genesis 32:10
Moses - Ex. 3:11
Joshua - Joshua 7:6
Job - Job 42:2-6
Elizabeth - Luke 1:43
Jesus - Matthew 11:29
Paul - Acts 20:19

Humility Homework
Define humility -

Describe a humble person -

Think about your roles - What does humility look like in each of them?

Humility is a matter of heart…take some time and examine yours -
Am I humble?
Do I serve with joy?
Do I compare myself with others?
Am I jealous? Do I envy?
Do I strive for praise? Long for approval?
Do I react wrongly when others are praised?
Do I forgive? Do I accept forgiveness?
Do I judge?
Am I humble in seemingly insignificant daily tasks?
Do I desire to be more humble?
How can I grow in humility?

Write a Prayer for Humility (Verses to consider- Ps. 26:2, 51:10, Jer. 18:6, Is. 66:2, 1 Peter 3:3-4)


Anonymous said...

wow Jill what a scary experience that must have been. I can hear Job saying those words along with Jaylyn.... how so true about humility - i too have thought it's the NFL football players not me... i keep learning. :) Thanks for sharing this blog and so thankful no one was hurt. Bev

Unknown said...

Jill, you have no idea... this post is a gift from God, packaged beautifully with a bow on top... and random corn kernels as confetti... I cried through this post. I cried over your beautiful heart that mourned over a mistake which wasn't yours. I cried as your family poured out God's grace with undeniable love.

Through the years, I've prayed for God to help me to lay down my pride so I could grow in humility. Tomorrow is a big day for our family... a surgery for my sis, which I pray brings healing after this 14+ year battle. Needless to say, I've been packing my backpack with things I wanted to get caught up with as I wait. THIS is the first on my list. THANK YOU! I love you! xoxo

Amber Paulsen said...

Jill, thank you for this post and "Study on Humility". I printed it off and hope to look up the verses. My husband and I pray almost daily that God uproots our pride, yet I feel like I see my pride daily. May the Lord help us be humble and be used by Him for His glory. And dear friend, may the Lord God Almighty give you back double for what you lost. He is able, He is faithful, and He is a great provider. Be blessed!

Anonymous said...

Jill, bless your heart!! I am hoping that corn was rescued and was able to be used as you all intended. I am excited about doing the short study on Humility. I'll get back to you with some thoughts when I complete it. Thank you for sharing this "homework" with us.
You continue to be in my heart and prayers,
Mema Jeanne

Jill Beran said...

It was definitely more depressing than scary and like Job said, it could have been worse and happened on the road. I join you in this life-long learning class!!

Jill Beran said...

Grateful God timed the posting of this for you Noelle!! I pray God used your time with Him and in His Word in powerful ways!! Grateful for His answered prayers in a good surgery for your sis and now asking Him for healing and comfort. Blessings to you!!

Jill Beran said...

Amber, I think when we are asking Him to uproot our pride we see it clearer than ever!! Our hearts are so deceitful, but thankfully God works with us to purify them! If you get to the study, I'd love to hear how God uses it to speak to you!! We were able to get most of the corn picked up and run through our screener...thank you for your prayers!! Blessings back!

Jill Beran said...

Mema Jeanne,
We were able to get most of the corn picked up and clean, so that was good. Grateful you are going to be digging into God's Word...looking forward to what He has to say to you!! Thanks also for your prayers and continued thoughts and messages!! God times them well!!