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When I Run...

The American Heritage Dictionary defines Humility as: “The state or quality of being humble; freedom from pride and arrogance; lowliness of mind; a modest estimate of one's own worth; a sense of one's own unworthiness through imperfection and sinfulness; self-abasement; humbleness.”

Over the past two years or so, this has been a hard lesson for the Lord to teach me. Through a very long series of unfortunate family events, I came to realize that I had a false sense of humility. I would present myself as humble in word and even action, but in my mind, I wasn’t even on the same planet. I came to see that I counted myself as more worthy in my mind. Today, that turns my stomach to say. I was being very judgmental and arrogant. The Holy Spirit wouldn’t allow me to have any peace in my heart as long as I refused to deal with it.

So, I have had to do a lot of soul-searching and asking God to reveal where I am falling short on the topic of humility. Turns out, it is very much tied to pride. Ugh. Pride is a word I have a very visceral reaction to. It is akin to holding a mirror to your face and seeing a very nasty sunburn. It’s very difficult to look at. And when you start poking at it, and trying to peel it away, sunburned skin beginning to crust and flake. It seems like a never-ending process, peeling it away can be painful or at the very least, uncomfortable, and you are still left with tender, red skin beneath it that needs to heal and only then does the reflection improve. Until you get sunburned again and repeat that process, AGAIN. When I hold that mirror up to my face, I am always hoping to see less pride and more of Jesus in the reflection.

It's been a process to understand how to let go of pride and embrace the beauty of humility. I am gaining a good understanding of pride. But what exactly is humility as Jesus would define it? What does that look like, practically? Well, it starts with the understanding that I have no merit or ability to save myself. And as I accept the mercy of God’s grace, I do it with humility and gratitude and give my life to Christ and become a servant to others. I can never allow myself to forget that He gave me life through giving up His own life. That He has taken my unrighteousness from me and given me His righteousness. That He has taken possession of my mortal life, in exchange for eternity with Him.

Functionally, it probably looks like:

1.      Remembering what He has done for me.

2.      Confessing my sins to Him daily.

3.      Demonstrating restraint when I sense a wrong committed (against myself or another). Don’t get crazy.

4.      Don’t hold grudges, but rather be the first to forgive when a wrong is done, no matter who’s at fault.

5.      Seek opportunities to serve others, especially those of lesser social status.

6.      Take a back seat, giving others the opportunity to be acknowledged.

7.      Remember to submit to authority (I know that it a hard one in today’s upside-down world, and there are Godly exceptions, but obedience, whether adult or child, is a necessary trait to cultivate in God’s economy.)

8.      Genuinely examine critiques or advise from others, looking for opportunities for personal, professional, and spiritual growth.

Humility is ultimately a condition of the heart. And it is good to remember what happens when I let pride run unchecked in my heart. I become arrogant, opinionated, stubborn, lazy, and entitled.

 A quick reading of Satan’s fall (context of the kings of Babylon and Tyre) shows us how rotten and evil pride is.  Isaiah 14:12-14 reads: “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God, I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’

And in Ezekiel 28:12-18 it reads: “Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “‘You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald, topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl. Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared. You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you. Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So, I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones. Your heart became proud on account of your beauty, and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. So, I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings. By your many sins and dishonest trade, you have desecrated your sanctuaries. So, I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you, and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching.”

Pride is why Satan fell and I believe it is still pride that is at the root of all our sin and the cause of our sin. So, it would seem that the farther away from pride we can remain, the closer to reflecting Jesus is the mirror would be possible. I press on towards the goal, no matter how often I fall. With God’s grace, hopefully my strides between falls will become longer and longer. Wouldn’t it be something to feel what the 1924 Olympic runner, Eric Liddel felt when he ran? He once said to his sister, “I believe God made me for a purpose. But He also made me fast.

 And when I run, I feel His pleasure.”

I want to run distances like Eric, and feel His pleasure, too.

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