How Does The New Testament Present Humility

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Colossians 3:12

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; KJV

 

How does the New Testament present humility? According to commentator William Barclay, the classical Greek language did not even have a word for humility that included no sense of shame. The root of the word the apostles used literally means “to depress,” a very expressive word. To the Greeks, humility indicated servility and slavishness. This may have been because Greeks looked down upon anyone who acted in humility as not being an upstanding person of good character. Culturally, it was evil, shameful behavior, as to them it exhibited someone untrustworthy. At best, they would consider the person to be a wimp because they admired people who aggressively took charge, commanding others about.

The Christian approach is entirely different. We will consider a few scriptures that give a description of the way humility enhances one’s character.

Psalm 113:4-7: “For He is high above the nations; His glory is far greater than the heavens. Who can be compared with God enthroned on high? Far below Him are heavens and the earth; He stoops to look, and lifts the poor from the dirt” (The Living Bible).

Psalm 138:6: “Yet though He is so great, He respects the humble, but proud men must keep their distance” (The Living Bible).

Both of these psalms picture God as being of awesome power, but He holds His power in check to achieve a greater good. Rather than destroy through imperious self-centeredness, He pities and builds with gentle, understanding kindness.

Matthew 20:25-28 shows New Covenant leadership: “But Jesus called them to Himself and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.'”

Matthew 11:29 makes Jesus’ insistence on humility exceedingly clear: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Matthew 11:29 is a direct command from the same God described in Psalms, though here He is acting as a Man. His example and commands regarding this continues to be the way Christians are to follow.

Humility is not a weak, cringing approach to life. It is not a denial of power but the deliberate controlling of power to accomplish a greater good. It comes into proper use when a converted person deliberately utilizes a servant approach rather than a natural, proud, and carnal human-ruler approach. It is the attitude that best promotes good relationships because it neutralizes pride and the damage it can wreak. At the very least, it indicates modesty that grows from a genuine self-evaluation that concludes in the person deeming himself worthless in relation to God and His truth.

It is important that we understand self-evaluation better. In the Christian sense of humility, the person is not deeming himself worthless because he sees himself as a vile creature full of sin—though to some degree this is true in comparison to God—but because he is merely a creature, absolutely dependent upon God even for every breath of air. Further, he views himself as possessing nothing intrinsically good, having to receive all good, spiritual things from God as well. Even Jesus had this attitude, and He is our model.

 

We Must Burn Out Before We Give Out Isaiah 28:28

Isaiah 28 28

June 23, 2017

Grain is crushed, though one certainly does not thresh it forever. The wheel of one’s wagon rolls over it, but his horses do not crush it. (Isa 28:28)
Many of us cannot be used to become food for the world’s hunger until we are broken in Christ’s hands. “Bread corn is bruised.” Christ’s blessing ofttimes means sorrow, but even sorrow is not too great a price to pay for the privilege of touching other lives with benediction. The sweetest things in this world today have come to us through tears and pain.
—J. R. Miller
God has made me bread for His elect, and if it be needful that the bread must be ground in the teeth of the lion to feed His children, blessed be the name of the Lord.
—Ignatius
“We must burn out before we can give out. We cease to bless when we cease to bleed.”
“Poverty, hardship and misfortune have pressed many a life to moral heroism and spiritual greatness. Difficulty challenges energy and perseverance. It calls into activity the strongest qualities of the soul. It was the weights on father’s old clock that kept it going. Many a head wind has been utilized to make port. God has appointed opposition as an incentive to faith and holy activity.
“The most illustrious characters of the Bible were bruised and threshed and ground into bread for the hungry. Abraham’s diploma styles him as ’the father of the faithful.’ That was because he stood at the head of his class in affliction and obedience.
“Jacob suffered severe threshings and grindings. Joseph was bruised and beaten and had to go through Potiphar’s kitchen and Egypt’s prison to get to his throne.
“David, hunted like a partridge on the mountain, bruised, weary and footsore, was ground into bread for a kingdom. Paul never could have been bread for Caesar’s household if he had not endured the bruising, whippings and stonings. He was ground into fine flour for the royal family.”
“Like combat, like victory. If for you He has appointed special trials, be assured that in His heart He has kept for you a special place. A soul sorely bruised is a soul elect.”

True Love Is Never Only A Choice

Song of Solomon

June 23, 2017

All the waters of the earth cannot quench this love. It is without rival, without equal. It is an infinite love, incredible, rising in might and power like the sun. A love that approaches the door of your heart with its gentleness and life, and passing through the threshold, pours throughout your entire inner being.

It is so immense that the universe cannot contain it. There are not enough words in the dictionary to describe it. It is sweet and strong at the same time. It surrounds and fills you.

Oh, what more marvelous love is there than the love of the Lord?

 

True Love Is Never Only A Choice
by John Piper

The Deepest Love Does Not say, “I Choose To Be with You”, but ” I Long To Be with You”

This is a gentle pushback on a popular slogan.

There is truth in saying, “love is a choice” or “love is a decision.” It is true that if you don’t feel like doing good to your neighbor, love will incline you to “choose” to do it anyway.

If you shrink back from the pain of nails being driven through your hands, love will incline you to say, “Not my will but yours be done.” That’s the truth I hear in the statement “love is a choice” or “love is a decision.”

But I don’t prefer to use these statements. Too many people hear three tendencies in them that those who use the statements may not intend.

Saying “love is a choice” sounds like the tendency to believe love is in our power to perform, even when we don’t feel like it.

Saying “love is a choice” sounds like the tendency to make the will — with its decisions — the decisive moral agent rather than the heart, with its affections.

Saying “love is a choice” sounds like the tendency to set the bar too low: If you can will to treat someone well, you have done all you should.

“Beneath the will, with its decisions, there is the heart, which produces our preferences.” Tweet Share on Facebook
I disagree with all three of these tendencies.

In their place I would say:

Both at the level of desiring to do good, and the level of willing the good we don’t desire, we are totally dependent on the decisive grace of God. All that honors Christ — both affections and choices — are gifts to fallen sinners (1 Corinthians 4:7; Galatians 5:22).

Beneath the will, with its decisions, there is the heart, which produces our preferences, and these preferences guide the will. “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).

If our love is only a choice, it is not yet what it ought to be.

Here are some of the verses from Scripture that cause me to shrink back from the statement “love is a choice” or “love is a decision.”

God’s love for his people is more than a decision.

“[The Lord] will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).

“I [the Lord] will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul” (Jeremiah 32:41).

“As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you” (Isaiah 62:5).

“How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I hand you over, O Israel? . . . My compassion grows warm and tender” (Hosea 11:8).
Our love for God is more than a decision.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).

“There is laid up for me the crown of righteousness . . . and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8). (That is, we long for Jesus to be here; we desire him.)
Our love for fellow believers is more than a decision.

“Love one another with brotherly affection” (Romans 12:10).

“Love one another earnestly from a pure heart” (1 Peter 1:22).
“If our love is only a choice, it is not yet what it ought to be.” Tweet Share on Facebook
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31–32). (These affectional dimensions are what it means to “walk in love” according to Ephesians 5:2.)

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

“Love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant. . . . It is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:4–6).
Our love for our enemies is more than a decision.

“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). (A prayer for our enemy to be blessed without a heartfelt desire that he be blessed is hypocrisy.)
It is important to hear me say, “more than a decision.” I am not denying there are crucial choices and decisions to be made in a life of love. I am not denying that those choices and decisions are part of what love is. So, I am not saying the statements “love is a choice” or “love is a decision” are false.

But I am jealous that the richness and depth (and human impossibility) of what love is in the Bible not be lost. Hence this little pushback.

 

 

 

True Love Is Never Only A Choice

Song of Solomon

June 23,  2017

All the waters of the earth cannot quench this love. It is without rival, without equal. It is an infinite love, incredible, rising in might and power like the sun. A love that approaches the door of your heart with its gentleness and life, and passing through the threshold, pours throughout your entire inner being.

It is so immense that the universe cannot contain it. There are not enough words in the dictionary to describe it. It is sweet and strong at the same time. It surrounds and fills you.

Oh, what more marvelous love is there than the love of the Lord?

CLD

 

True Love Is Never Only A Choice
by John Piper

The Deepest Love Does Not say, “I Choose To Be with You”, but ” I Long To Be with You”

This is a gentle pushback on a popular slogan.

There is truth in saying, “love is a choice” or “love is a decision.” It is true that if you don’t feel like doing good to your neighbor, love will incline you to “choose” to do it anyway.

If you shrink back from the pain of nails being driven through your hands, love will incline you to say, “Not my will but yours be done.” That’s the truth I hear in the statement “love is a choice” or “love is a decision.”

But I don’t prefer to use these statements. Too many people hear three tendencies in them that those who use the statements may not intend.

Saying “love is a choice” sounds like the tendency to believe love is in our power to perform, even when we don’t feel like it.

Saying “love is a choice” sounds like the tendency to make the will — with its decisions — the decisive moral agent rather than the heart, with its affections.

Saying “love is a choice” sounds like the tendency to set the bar too low: If you can will to treat someone well, you have done all you should.

“Beneath the will, with its decisions, there is the heart, which produces our preferences.” Tweet Share on Facebook
I disagree with all three of these tendencies.

In their place I would say:

Both at the level of desiring to do good, and the level of willing the good we don’t desire, we are totally dependent on the decisive grace of God. All that honors Christ — both affections and choices — are gifts to fallen sinners (1 Corinthians 4:7; Galatians 5:22).

Beneath the will, with its decisions, there is the heart, which produces our preferences, and these preferences guide the will. “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).

If our love is only a choice, it is not yet what it ought to be.

Here are some of the verses from Scripture that cause me to shrink back from the statement “love is a choice” or “love is a decision.”

God’s love for his people is more than a decision.

“[The Lord] will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).

“I [the Lord] will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul” (Jeremiah 32:41).

“As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you” (Isaiah 62:5).

“How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I hand you over, O Israel? . . . My compassion grows warm and tender” (Hosea 11:8).
Our love for God is more than a decision.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).

“There is laid up for me the crown of righteousness . . . and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8). (That is, we long for Jesus to be here; we desire him.)
Our love for fellow believers is more than a decision.

“Love one another with brotherly affection” (Romans 12:10).

“Love one another earnestly from a pure heart” (1 Peter 1:22).
“If our love is only a choice, it is not yet what it ought to be.” Tweet Share on Facebook
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31–32). (These affectional dimensions are what it means to “walk in love” according to Ephesians 5:2.)

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

“Love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant. . . . It is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:4–6).
Our love for our enemies is more than a decision.

“But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). (A prayer for our enemy to be blessed without a heartfelt desire that he be blessed is hypocrisy.)
It is important to hear me say, “more than a decision.” I am not denying there are crucial choices and decisions to be made in a life of love. I am not denying that those choices and decisions are part of what love is. So, I am not saying the statements “love is a choice” or “love is a decision” are false.

But I am jealous that the richness and depth (and human impossibility) of what love is in the Bible not be lost. Hence this little pushback.

 

 

We Must Burn Out Before We Give Out Isaiah 28:28

Isaiah 28 28

June 23, 2017
Grain is crushed, though one certainly does not thresh it forever. The wheel of one’s wagon rolls over it, but his horses do not crush it. (Isa 28:28)
Many of us cannot be used to become food for the world’s hunger until we are broken in Christ’s hands. “Bread corn is bruised.” Christ’s blessing ofttimes means sorrow, but even sorrow is not too great a price to pay for the privilege of touching other lives with benediction. The sweetest things in this world today have come to us through tears and pain.
—J. R. Miller
God has made me bread for His elect, and if it be needful that the bread must be ground in the teeth of the lion to feed His children, blessed be the name of the Lord.
—Ignatius
“We must burn out before we can give out. We cease to bless when we cease to bleed.”
“Poverty, hardship and misfortune have pressed many a life to moral heroism and spiritual greatness. Difficulty challenges energy and perseverance. It calls into activity the strongest qualities of the soul. It was the weights on father’s old clock that kept it going. Many a head wind has been utilized to make port. God has appointed opposition as an incentive to faith and holy activity.
“The most illustrious characters of the Bible were bruised and threshed and ground into bread for the hungry. Abraham’s diploma styles him as ’the father of the faithful.’ That was because he stood at the head of his class in affliction and obedience.
“Jacob suffered severe threshings and grindings. Joseph was bruised and beaten and had to go through Potiphar’s kitchen and Egypt’s prison to get to his throne.
“David, hunted like a partridge on the mountain, bruised, weary and footsore, was ground into bread for a kingdom. Paul never could have been bread for Caesar’s household if he had not endured the bruising, whippings and stonings. He was ground into fine flour for the royal family.”
“Like combat, like victory. If for you He has appointed special trials, be assured that in His heart He has kept for you a special place. A soul sorely bruised is a soul elect.”

Mrs. Charles E. Cowan