Summary: Humility is the key to salvation, sanctification and evangelism.
“O Lord, It’s Hard to be Humble”
You wouldn’t think it would be all that difficult.
We were all formed from the same dust of the earth, by the same Creator.
Basically, our bodies are pretty much the same.
We all get sick, we all need to eat, all of us are lonely at times, everyone has insecurities and fears, we are all sinners, and we’re all going to get old (Lord willing) and then eventually die.
I remember as a real young kid thinking that the guy who played the Six-Million Dollar Man on t-v and was married to Farrah Fawcett—Lee Majors was just the coolest person in the world—almost god-like.
Then, one day, my dad told me, “Kenny, Lee Majors has to put his pants on one leg at a time just like everyone else.”
This revelation was quite startling, and at first, a little difficult to accept.
It is hard to come to grips with the fact that the idols we worship are no better than we are.
And it may be harder still, for us to realize and accept that we—ourselves—are no better than anyone else.
I remember when my sister Lisa found out that she was going to have to get glasses.
She ran into the house, up the stairs, and into her room crying and wailing!
I asked my mother why Lisa was so upset by the fact that she needed glasses.
My mother replied, “Don’t worry Kenny, Lisa has just found out that she is not perfect.”
When did you first find out that you were not perfect?
When did you first find out that you needed a Savior?
The founder of Methodism, John Wesley—up to the age of 36—had always been extremely successful.
He was a scholar.
He was an overachiever.
He was a well-respected Anglican Priest in the Church of England.
He had never really failed at anything in his life…until…until…he came to America, landing at Savannah, Georgia in order to convert the heathens over here.
But his trip was a disaster.
Not only did the Americans have little interest in what he was trying to tell them…he also fell in love with a young woman who did not feel the same way about him as he felt about her.
So, one morning, an angry Wesley refused to serve this young lady Communion…which was against the law…a warrant went out for Wesley’s arrest…and he quickly got back on a boat headed back to England…feeling like a failure for the first time in his life.
It was during this time that Wesley began to question his faith and his relationship to God.
About this time Wesley reflected in his journal, “I was still under law,’ not ‘under grace’; for I was only striving with, not freed from, sin: neither had I the witness of the Spirit with my spirit, and indeed could not; for I ‘sought it not by faith, but, as it were, by the works of the law.’”
A little later Wesley went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where someone was reading Luther’s Preface to the Epistle to the Romans.
“About a quarter before nine,” Wesley writes, “while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed.
I felt that I did trust in Christ,
Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”
From that point on, the heart of Wesley’s understanding of God was Grace!
What is the heart of our understanding of God?
So often we must be humbled…by something outside ourselves…before we are able to humble ourselves.
O Lord, it is hard to be humble!
We are a society which is caught up in “works righteousness.”
But now this “works righteousness” does not necessarily involve our Christian faith.
In this generation, in our society “works righteousness” involves our looks!
We spend loads of money on ‘hip’ clothing, hair dye, the latest styles, the trendiest diets…
…we are working to look young.
Works righteousness also involves how much we ‘know.’
We are in a fast-paced world and knowledge is power, is it not?
Material wealth is another bit of “works righteousness” we are striving for.
But with all these things…
…biology does its work to show us what a sham all these delusional ways of living and striving really are!
Works righteousness gets us no-where does it not?
And for the Pharisees of Jesus’ day…that was all they depended on!
They were the ones who followed all the laws…plus a whole bunch more they had come up with on their own…to the tee…and were quite certain that by doing this they were better than everyone else…