My grandfather had a saying that if I heard escape his lips once I undoubtedly heard him say it a hundred times…” I never met a pie I didn’t like”. This simple phrase has held true for me as well…perhaps with the exception of rhubarb…in my humble opinion…that doesn’t make the list of good pie.
If pie is so good, and it is. You only have to ask grandpa and I…and millions of others who agree with us. Have you ever wondered why they call it “Humble Pie”? Is it because it is bitter like the one and only example of rhubarb? Or is it instead because it is supposed to be good like every other pie on the planet. I submit to you it is the latter and not the former. “Humble Pie” is not just good, it is very good and turns out that unlike almost any other pie…it is extremely good for you!
Jesus spoke very highly of the benefits of humility. He said in Matt. 18:4 that whoever humbles themselves like a little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. In Luke 18:14 is recorded that Jesus said “and everyone who exalts himself will be humbled; and he who humbles himself will be exalted”. Jesus reiterated these truths by proclaiming them other ways as well; “The last will be first, and the first last”, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it”. He even shared parables with His disciples about the importance of humility such as which seat to take at a wedding feast (the least prominent one available) and which one to avoid (the most prominent available), explaining that the former was the only choice that allowed for blessing while the latter left too much room for shame. It is clear from these and many other of Christ’s teaching as well as the entirety of His life’s example that humility is held in the highest regard in the Kingdom of God.
I know that we often think of “Humble Pie” as something we are forced to eat when we have been unable to deliver on our word, and sometimes that is when it is served to us, but not without warning that it was on the menu. God’s word is clear that saying we will do this or that without the condition of it being the Lord’s will is simply a form of pride, because we have precious little control over what we will be able to do in the future. I wish I could count the number of times my mom quoted to me from Proverbs during my teen years when I was acting without humility; “Ken, Pride cometh before the fall”.
However, when consumed correctly “Humble Pie” is warm and delicious and has many good spiritual health benefits. Proverbs 3:34 says that God gives grace to the humble. Proverbs 29:23 speaks to the fact that a man’s pride will bring him down, but the humble in spirit retain honor. In Philippians chapter 2 Paul writes that if we practice eating “Humble Pie” the way we should, such as not thinking too highly of who we are, and by esteeming others higher than ourselves, we will be imitating Jesus in a most desirable way and it will be evidence that we have the mindset of Christ. James lets us in on a few more of the spiritual health benefits of a nice sized slice of “Humble Pie”. He also writes that God gives grace to the humble, and adds that if you humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, that He will in fact lift you up. Peter echoed those sentiments when He again wrote that God gives grace to the humble and that if we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, He will exalt us at the perfect time. Proverbs says that “The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility.
Humility is the currency in the economy of the kingdom of God. If we want to be rich in the kingdom, then we must allow humility to seep into every area of our lives. Jesus made it clear that we should be storing up treasure in heaven. There is little doubt that this is what He was talking about. How we learn to live here in this life, in this world, will determine our wealth in the next. Make no mistake, I’m not talking about “earning our salvation” …we can’t do that. I’m not suggesting that if we perform enough “good works” we somehow curry the favor of God. What I am saying is that if we live a life of humility…real humility, the kind that permeates every part of our lives, we will look an awful lot like Jesus who undoubtedly has the highest standing as Lord of lords and King of kings. Looking like Him, acting like Him and being connected to Him does matter now and will matter then.
James the brother of Jesus asked this all important question, and I ask it of you again today. Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.
I said it before, let me say it again “I never met a pie I didn’t like”. Apple is awesome, sour cherry is scrumptious, pumpkin is pleasingly spicy, …rhubarb is even good if you add strawberries…but humble pie…humble pie is divine!
So now, eating all the humble pie you can consume…go be awesome!
Hi this is Lynn Brown! Pastor Ken asked that this week I give you my thoughts on a Thursday, so thanks for joining me!
As a teacher, the Saturday before Labor Day is the literal calm before the storm. It does look somewhat different this year but as I woke this morning I was no less excited for what is to come, and no less aware that another school year is upon me. I’ll save you the lengthy to-do list that is making its way into every corner of my brain! If you know a teacher, he or she probably needs coffee!
It was Saturday morning and time for my daily read. Normally, I’m just reading through the Bible and though I’ve done this maybe five times now, there is still more to be gleaned every time I read through it again.
Over the last couple of months, I have been book hopping in my bible, choosing from the Old Testament and also from the New. Yesterday I finished Romans for the some dozenth time and this morning instead of doing my usual bible roulette, I turned to Pastor Ken and asked him what I should read next. His reply was, “If you want encouragement to start the school year, read Phillipians, it’s the ‘sugar bowl’ of the New Testament.” After chuckling and talking about his analogy for a second, he suggested that I take my time, and not read through it too quickly, rather, reading whatever amount of verses I needed to each day until I felt encouraged by something or discovered something I could ponder for the day. So that’s just what I did.
I only made it to chapter 1 verse 6, and I know many of you will be familiar with it. Now, Paul wrote this joy-filled book of encouragement from prison and in his letter to the Romans he reminds us our joy comes from the Lord, in spite of the circumstances we face and that joy is the antidote to our fear and anxiety. In my NKJV verse 6 reads: “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
First it says we can be confident.
I don’t always “feel” confident, and I’m sure you know what I mean when I say that – my mind can think, re-think and overthink until I am unsure of myself. Christ did not create us for doubt, he wants us to do what we are able to do, always relying on Him for the rest. “When we are weak, He is strong.”
Next, it says “He has begun a good work in us.”
This world is full of poor examples, which is not what Christ created us for. The Bible says he created us in his image, and that is good. Remember with every character you meet, that they too, were created in His image, whether they are currently living that out or not. We are all made in His image and have the DNA of our creator. We must live like we are in Him and of Him, and not allow defeated messages to play in our minds, but always remember He has begun a good work in us.
The verse finishes by saying He will complete what he started; He won’t let us down. This is my favorite pearl in this verse, it simply says to me that the Lord, our creator, redeemer and friend, will never give up on us; He is my author and finisher and isn’t finished with me yet! Again, the world is full of people who give up, who don’t finish what they start, who stop just shy of realizing a goal. Let’s be who God intended us to be, living in full confidence that “He who created a good work in you will be faithful to complete it!” So now, with that confidence, go be awesome!
Romans 8:38 & 39 (NLT) And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We all face many different problems in life, at times they seem to be really big and other times more manageable. Sometimes we have a solution for them and sometimes we don’t. Of great concern however, is do we allow those problems to position us? Do we allow them to decide “How we are”? Or as the verses above indicate, has our position already been determined? Will we decide to walk in our predetermined position even in the face of huge unresolved…perhaps even unresolvable difficulty?
Though the scripture above doesn’t necessarily give us a solution to any particular problem it does give us a viable answer to all of them. When we ask ourselves the question, “What am I going to do now?” the answer can rightly be: “I don’t know yet, but this current crisis won’t separate me from the love of God which is made known to me in my relationship with Christ”! That answer may not do anything to solve the problem, but it will do everything to cement our position. Why is that so important? It is critical in fact because we have an enemy who knows that if he can get us to look at our condition instead of our position he can call into question the goodness of the God we serve. Then he can try to convince us that if God really, really loved us He wouldn’t allow us to go through our particular current trouble. That ploy is designed to kill your joy, steal your peace, and destroy your faith…all three of the plays in his playbook. Resist those considerations…they are lies!
If life has taught me anything it is that our problems aren’t permanent, not only do they change in frequency and severity, but tomorrow will bring along with it another crop of new ones. That being said our problems should never be considered to be our position. These verses clearly illustrate that no matter what the problems may be, where they may come from, or how severe or critical they may seem…they do not determine our position. Our position is determined by the fact that no crisis can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus! Why does it matter? Practically speaking, the fact is that our emotions are associated with our position, and our decisions are often affected by our emotions. If we want to make beneficial decisions, we have to view a situation from a positive solid position. When our circumstances are tumultuous, that can be highly difficult unless our position in Christ is what we are considering first and foremost.
I will never forget the moment I was diagnosed with cancer almost two years ago, I immediately looked into my wife’s lovely face and declared, “This isn’t going to steal our joy”. To this day I am grateful for the intervening of the Holy Spirit and His wisdom that gave me that answer to such a scary circumstance. It became, and has continued to be our mantra every time this disease rears its ugly head in our lives. When we found out it would require surgery we declared…” This isn’t going to steal our joy” When my recovery from surgery was longer and more difficult than I anticipated and caused me to wonder if things would ever improve…we declared it again. Later when radiation as well as other treatments became necessary we declared it yet again. Have we been lying to ourselves about the problem? No. We both knew then as we know now, cancer is not good, and is unwelcome, yet is an ongoing part of our story. But has our position changed? No. We are both still immensely and intensely loved by God in Christ Jesus. Has our position made a difference in our outlook, emotions and subsequent decision making ability? You bet it has!
Scriptures like the one referenced today are critical to Spirit filled, power driven, successful living. Our creator God knows that, and so, gives such direction to us. Jesus said it, “In this world you will have trouble…but take heart I have overcome the world”! One of the ways God lovingly directs us to take heart is by considering first our position, then our problems. I am so thankful for a God who would not create us and let us flounder in the difficulties of life, but rather One who gives us instruction such as this from His word to point us to how we can press forward no matter how big or worrisome the trouble ahead.
2 Timothy 3:16 (NLT) All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
So now, recognizing your position, and standing firmly in it…Go be Awesome!