Saturday, October 22, 2005

What is True Holiness & Humility?

This question was at the forefront of my thoughts for years. When I asked certain people how to achieve Christian humility, they would sigh and say with sober faces "It's a life-long process of surrender." "Surrender what??" I wondered. They were all too happy to make suggestions- thus began a long battle for me. If I enjoyed it- if something was attractive or pleasurable in any way, then it must be prideful, worldly and "wrong". Gradually out went all my favorite music, clothing, hobbies, foods, my wedding band, etc. much to the approval of some fellow church-members. However, in all my attempts to be holy, I became narrow & judgemental. I looked frumpy, felt unnattractive and my circle of influence became miniscule- couldn't relate to most people. Whenever we attempt to MAKE OURSELVES anything, we are just going to get worse! Only the love of God and His Holy Spirit can bring about change in us. I remember going around thinking "Why am I the ONLY one doing the right thing?". I sat around pouting because others were indulging in foods & recreations I no longer permitted myself to enjoy. Eventually, I was burned out from working so hard to be "humble" and "holy" to the neglect of more important spiritual matters. I fell head-long into despair.I remember living among the Amish & other sects of plain people in PA many years ago. From a distance, I had always admired them for their humility and seeming disinterest in material things. I hero-worshipped the plain folk- until my husband & I rented a farmhouse from one such family. It was then I realized how prideful many people are of their "humility". A certain plain man would often brag to us about his horses, how prosperous his farm and large family were. He would rant about the wicked ways of the world- as if there were no faults to be found in he or his family. Hmmmmm Just a few weeks ago, I admitted to The Lord, "I don't know how to be humble- and I cannot MAKE myself be holy. Will You please show me how to be more like You?" The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, "My child, being humble isn't about making a long list of things to get rid of. It's not about all the outward sacrifices- that can lead to false humility. True humility happens in your heart when you focus on Me and see how much I love you. Fruit will grow from that relationship." As I learn to focus more & more on Jesus Christ, His perfection, His love and grace toward me- a sinner, my heart is changing! I take no delight in pointing out faults, because I simply want to love people. My beliefs are no longer held in such high esteem that I feel it my duty to keep everyone else in line. What FREEDOM I have found! I've got Jesus & He has me. Phil. 4:13 says "I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me." If we believe that, then the opposite would also be true. "Without Christ, I can do NOTHING." We must seek Jesus to find true humility- only His merit can make any of us holy.