Thursday, October 30, 2008

Humility in Days Like These

C. S. Lewis said in Mere Christianity that “pride is the greatest sin.” Lewis said that pride for the most part is competitive. The devil fell because he wanted to be like God or should I say, he wanted to be God. God does not put up with such silliness

In Matthew 18:1-4 Jesus overheard his disciples discussing who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of God. He then provides an illustration bringing a little child into their midst to teach them (and us) a lesson. (“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:1-4)

Do you live your life in childish competition with other people or in childlike dependence upon God? We like the disciples are competitive. Competition moves us forward; in many ways it is good but competition run amuck is childish. We have all seen the screaming child clutching a toy through tears and anguish screaming “mine”. When these children do this we consider them childish and honestly repulsive.

C. S. Lewis said the sure sign that we have pride is when we so readily see it in others (like this little child). Yet we as adults, and may I say Christian adults, seldom recognize it or address it in our own lives.

We can judge and smirk at the first century disciples arguing over who would be first in the kingdom. “How immature they are” we say. Yet we act and live in such a way to attract attention to ourselves rather than to the Lord who saved us. We put much effort in being good. Being good so the world will notice how upstanding we are when in reality we come off as arrogant, prideful and distant.

We live in perilous times. Financial crisis continue to loom on the horizon like a hungry wolf; in our gut we know change is coming. Our politicians in this election cycle scream for change; change is proclaimed everywhere. But I think it is all bunk; it will be more of the same.

Jesus said in Matthew 18:2 in part…"unless you change (be converted) and become like little children, (not childish but possess a childlike faith, with no agenda, fully trusting in the Lord) you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Buckle up, Christian—perilous times mean change; politicians promote change. But the change Jesus talks about to Christians is this: it’s time to be humble. Yes, humble; humble enough to accept God’s free Gift of Salvation. We must “change and become”. Who are we to put our puny fist in the face of God and question His sovereignty or power? We should be on our knees asking for forgiveness. Amen

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