Devotional Thought of the Day:
9 How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. 10 I have tried hard to find you— don’t let me wander from your commands. 11 I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:9-11 (NLT2)
“God resists the proud, but gives his grace to the humble,”11 the Apostle Saint Peter teaches. In any age, in any human setting, there is no other way to live a godly life than that of humility. Does this mean that God takes pleasure in our humiliation? Not at all. What would he, who created all things and governs them and maintains them in existence, gain from our prostration? God only wants us to be humble and to empty ourselves, so that he can fill us. He wants us not to put obstacles in his way so that—humanly speaking—there will be more room for his grace in our poor hearts.
In our devotions this morning, we came to the verse in psalm 119, Drvien by some need, I looked up the word pure, and was a little surprsed by the definition. One of my Hebrew dictionaries talked about that form of the verb being translucent or transparent. About having nothing in you that people couldn’t see, therefore being innocent.
We talk about leaders needing to be that way, about being transparent, about their agendas being clearly seen. We need to be as well. So that people see what they get. So that we don’t try to hide anything from them, from ourselves, or believing that somehow we can hide things from God.
That brings a different view on God and his insistence on simplicity and on humility. Humiliation is a way of stripping ourselves of all that obscures the transparency and translucency. It affects our pride, because often what we are proud about is not an accurate portrayal of who we are in Christ. Simplifying it and clearly seeing who we are.
Sometimes revealing that reveals the cracks in our personality, and how we are broken. To see that revealed is not easy. It can only be handled by depending on God toll fill in those cracks, to make us whole again, even as He has promised. He will do this, and the final creation of our lives, fully transparent, will reveal what God has made in us, what God has made of us.
A masterpiece, a work of art, something that God himself treasures.
Lord, help us to trust in You, as You remove layer after layer of that which we created to obscure who we are…and help others see the new creation You have made of us, so that it can happen to them as well!
Escrivá, Josemaría. Friends of God . Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Devotional Thought of the Day
8 No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 (NLT)
16 Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted! 18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20 (NLT)
581 How humbly and simply the evangelists relate incidents that show up the weak and wavering faith of the Apostles! This is to keep you and me from giving up the hope of some day achieving the strong and unshakeable faith that those same Apostle s had later. (1)
The simplicity and pastoral care with which the Fr. Josemaria Escriva wrote his simple sentences astounds me. I may not agree with everything he writes, but there is so much which resonates with me. Simply put, he often puts the words to what I know and struggle to explain.
This is true today, as I struggle with how the church (myself included) struggles to reflect the love of Christ into a broken and dark world. We get so caught up in our own pain, the sense of betrayal we have felt, our own anxiety and paranoia that we fail to trust God, to have faith in His promises.
The task to have a world, a country, a community that glorifies God seems overwhelming, and even impossible. The world wants what it wants, its version of justice, its version of freedom, its version of love and hope, and we seem surprised that it is at odds with what we know from scripture.
And rather lament over the brokenness of the world, we lament over the loss of power and the loss of our dreams. As we do, or faith wavers, we doubt, we give way to our feelings.
To this loss, the words in blue above speak strongly. We aren’t alone when we struggle; the apostles struggled just as much as we do. They walked for 40 days with the Lord Jesus, after he rose from the dead, after being beaten, crucified and a spear strike into his heart and lungs. And in Matthew’s gospel, it tells us, their faith wavered, they doubted, they knew anxiety and fear. (What else did they need – they had Jesus, risen from the dead!)
That they did, that God continued to work through them, that they would go on to grow in their trust of God is amazing. 10 of 11 of the men there would die, brutally, because they took the task Jesus commissioned them for very seriously. They made disciples, they baptized people and taught them to treasure what God had given them in Christ Jesus.
But first they doubted, first their faith wavered, and Jesus even rebuked them a time or two… for not trusting Him, for not turning to God.
That is where humility comes in, of knowing we are children of God, people who are his, and are welcome to depend on Him. Even when we don’t understand the world any more than it understands us. It is at that point where we need to be humble, to be meek, to find our confidence, not in our strength, not in our ability to argue, not in our witty meme’s or comebacks. We need to be humble, to walk with God, to seek out the justice of the cross. To know the love of God, shown in Jesus bearing the wounds that would bring healing to all the broken people, all the broken relationships in the world. Including us.
As we find that healing in Christ Jesus, we can help others heal.
That requires trusting God… and being humble enough to admit our need, our dependence on Him.
Lord Have mercy on us!
1. Escriva, Josemaria (2010-11-02). The Way (Kindle Locations 1387-1389). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.