Saturday, July 14, 2012

The thing about humility and intimacy with Christ

Ok, so I have a few things I wanted to talk about today. First I wanted to share something that God laid on my heart this week. I went to a youth summer camp as a chaperon this last week, and let it be known that even as a leader God still speaks to us at youth events...just in case some of you assumed you reach spiritual maturity as an adult.

One of the last sermons that the speaker spoke about was the details of the death of Christ, and what a love story this was for us and how we should not be ashamed of Him because of what he went through for us. But his main verse he based his sermon off of was Psalm 56:8

"You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?"

This verse hit me so hard. I had completely forgotten about it. I get so wrapped up and lost in how big God is that sometimes I forget how small God is as well. That He is a being to be feared and respected as God of the universe, but also that he is a God who is actively and intimately involved with us individually. The very idea that he keeps track of every tear I shed is such an incredible and reassuring notion.

I am a very private crier. I don't cry in public and in general I don't cry much at all. But for those times that life overwhelms me, and hurt is so real I can barely breathe...I find my refuge in the shower. Yes. I pretty much have my bawling sessions in the shower...that way no one will bust in on me and ask me a bunch of questions about what's wrong, why am I crying, and try to console me. You can cry as much as you want in the shower, and when you get out, no one will know the difference because you are wet all over. I think just realizing that God knows those moments that I have...when my tears are mixed with shower water...that he knows intimately how many tears I've shed, reminded me that we are not the Israelites of the Old Testament. We don't have to go through rituals and sacrifices and priests and elders to get to Jesus. He is readily available right where we are. Even butt-naked in the shower. It reminded me that I can sit face to face with him and speak directly to him. I have forgotten this, and I wanted to throw it out there for others who may be dealing with the same feeling of disconnect with a God that seems so big at times, that someone so small and insignificant as me might just slip through the cracks a bit. Not with God.

The second thing I wanted to share was about humility. I read this today from Wisdom Hunters and it hit me squarely between the eyes.

'“I waited while you spoke, I listened to your reasoning; while you were searching for words, I gave you my full attention.” Job 32:11-12a

A loving listening ear is a valuable gift you give to those the Lord puts in your path. Do you hear the hurt in your husband or wife’s heart? Are your ears engaged with empathy in prayerful patience, before suggesting solutions? As you listen well, you represent Christ well. As you listen well, you love well. As you listen well, you honor well. Humble listening waits patiently so as not to run ahead of hearing well—it gives space to the process.

Most of all, a servant of the Lord is sensitive to the voice of the Lord. We humbly submit to His speech expressed in Holy Scripture and confirmed by the Holy Spirit in prayer. Godly counsel also validates the voice of God. Lastly, people or institutions in authority over us are a mouthpiece for our Master Jesus. His established authorities are boundaries for our protection and progress. So, listen to and obey the law of the Lord and the law of the land. Indeed, humility is slow to speak, quick to listen and always ready to serve.

“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” James 1:19-20 '

I don't know about you but I love to help people with their problems. I relish times when people want MY advice about things. This is the wrong attitude. It's something that I need to work on. I find, when people do talk to me, I'm mostly just thinking about what I want to say next instead of seeking help in my heart from the Lord to guide my speech and give me the words that will guide and direct them according to the Spirit. I love the phrase here "Are your ears engaged with empathy in prayerful patience, before suggesting solutions?" ...BAM. I needed that hard core.

Anyway. I hope this encourages you as much as it has me.