The Power of Humility
By Lonnie Lane
Recently God began to put something on my heart which I believe He would have us all consider. It has several parts to it. The first one goes like this: We all have expectations of what Yeshua’s coming and the ultimate Kingdom of God will be like but few of those expectations are what they will actually be like. It is hard for us to imagine what is so far beyond our realm of experience, let alone try and project ourselves into them.
One reason is that the Fall keeps us focused on ourselves rather than being filled with God and His thoughts and ways, which He’s already told us are higher than our own. (Is 55:9) One ‘fall-out’ of the Fall was that mankind became painfully self-conscious, whereas previously Adam and Eve were blissfully secure in their existence. And so, our focus in life is largely on getting our needs met, our longing for security, on our desire for importance and recognition, perhaps our own vindication for where we’ve been misunderstood or mistreated, and so on.
The point being, it is only in limited measure that we who are the Lord’s actually “have the mind of Messiah” (1 Cor 2:16) as Yeshua had no concern for such matters. His trust was in His Father and His desire was to do His will and bring Him glory. Quite a contrast of motives, wouldn’t you say?
Secondly, there are people who are the Lord’s sheep who are wandering the hills under the evil eye and oppression of the devil, both those who have yet to come to know Him as well as those who have strayed, or even been ousted from the flock, whom God longs to bring into His sheepfold where they will be safe. The only way they come is through the helping hands and healing hearts of those who are yoked with God as co-workers with Him.
For many of us this will require change in our lives and hearts. This change is one of a humility which only God can produce in a person. The humility God is looking for in His people is likely to be that which will bring about His Word finally and fully coming to pass. This kind of humility will be the key.
We are all familiar with Yeshua’s words in His mountain-top sermon, “Blessed are the meek (humble or gentle); for they shall inherit the Land.” Perhaps He was thinking of Deut. 1:25-38 when Moses recalled to the people the story of how the men who spied out the Land didn’t trust God and believe Him when He said He’d give them the Promised Land because the obstacles seemed so great.
Only Joshua and Caleb believed but the others didn’t: “Not a single one of these people, a whole generation will see the good Land…. except Caleb…. I will give it to him and his descendents… because he has followed the Lord fully.” Imagine, if those other 10 men had believed God, that entire generation would have entered the Land instead of dying in the wilderness. The meek, those who would have humbly believed God and acted on it, would have inherited the Land.
Meekness then, or humility, in God’s eyes, is equated with believing what He says and walking it out obediently. Humility is not subservient to others; it’s not taking a position of weakness. Rather, it is having the courage to move forward into what God has said despite the circumstances or appearances or the opinions of others to the contrary. True humility is believing Yeshua is Lord and that the Word is true and acting accordingly, no matter what.
There is an expression called “cognitive dissonance.” It means being out of harmony with what you know to be true; doing other than what you believe. One example might be if we consider how few of us actually share our faith with others or concern ourselves with the ‘lost sheep of the house of Israel” or any other sheep not yet safe in the fold, even though we know that Yeshua clearly told us (all) to “go and make disciples.” Could it be that the real problem is not that we don’t have the gift of evangelism, but that we are meekness-deficient.
Perhaps I need to ask myself, is my focus on me and staying in my comfort zone rather than allowing Him to instill within me His longing to rescue lost sheep in the way He rescued me? Do I really want Him to make that change in me to make me more like Him?
Thirdly I believe God wants to give to those to whom He’s able to impart such humility the power of God that comes with tenderness and mercy. We will stand before Him one day in judgment of the deeds we have done based on the motives of our hearts not our doctrines or those of the church to which we belong. He wants to bring a sanctification to our hearts so that our belief in His Word is soaked through and through with tenderness and mercy. Then He can trust us with His power. Is has been said, “Truth without love is tyranny; love without truth is only sentimentalism.” There is no Kingdom power in one without the other.
Only God can really do this work of sanctification in us. But we can present ourselves to the Potter for His Hand to remold us into such a likeness. Those who will allow Him to work this humility into their lives, I believe He’s saying, will find rest upon His holy mountain with Him. The tricky part to this, however, is that if we are aware of our humility rating and how humble we’ve become, our eyes are on ourselves and we’re likely to become proud of being humble.(!) On the other hand, experiencing the peaceful fruit of righteousness is a clue that you’re in the will of God.
Fourthly and important in this exhortation from the Lord, is an awareness of what can be seen from above, from His holy mountain with Him. It is a dividing of the waters, waters which in the end will be either bitter or sweet, into which all people gravitate and move, either toward one stream or the other. I believe God is saying further that many are in the “valley of decision” (Joel 3:14) without realizing it. As the valley seems so wide, they don’t know they’re in a valley, let alone one of decision.
But it will narrow and it is by the desires of one’s heart that we are impelled in the direction of righteousness or away from righteousness. That is to say, toward the ways of the Kingdom of God and the light and likeness of Yeshua, or toward the ways of the world and the increasing but often unsuspected darkness.
We must be wary of compromise, even in the smallest measure, in that which our hearts desire. We are exhorted to “watch over your heart with all diligence for from it flow the springs of life.” (Prov. 4:23) It is the desires of our hearts that cause us to drift down one stream or the other, impelled by currents that send us with the flow. We can be unaware we are drifting in a direction we don’t really intend to go when the undercurrents are pulling at us. It is easy to become desensitized to uncleanness in the world we live in.
There is no neutral ground at least I believe God is saying that what we think is neutral is really drifting away from Him. If we think, “I want to do the will of the Lord. I’m ok living my life as I have been even though I wouldn’t make the cut for A-team for Disciple University,” we may be being pulled by undercurrents of apathy, and borne on lukewarm waves that won’t take us to where we expect to be.
The days grow darker. How do we know? Besides the growing complacency about increased immorality, look at the reports of anti-Semitism in the world today which in some places is reported to be greater than in Germany in 1938. As it goes with the Jews, so it goes with the world.. What God said to Abraham under a Middle-Eastern sky several millennia ago still holds: “I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who curse you,” (Gen 12:3) meaning the biological sons of Abraham.
When a nation or the world comes against those children of Abraham, they are in opposition to God and He is in opposition to them. That’s not because of how wonderful the Jews are. It’s because God chose to use the Jews to reveal who would be humble before Him and who would not. It’s a choice we all have the freedom make.
We need to “choose for yourselves today whom you will serve,” (Joshua 24:15) just as Joshua told the children of Israel. We, like they were, are surrounded by the enemy who has no interest in having us take the land for God. We can, though, ignore the giants in the land who want us to think of ourselves as no stronger than grasshoppers, and believe God and move forward in faith-filled humility and obedience to what He’s (been) telling us. Then we will see the promised land of all the Gospel provides for us and we will we have the joy of seeing God move in the lives of others in the power of mercy and compassion as co-workers with Him.
We realize it has not always been popular to extend friendship, let alone mercy and compassion to the Jews. In some places that’s also been true for befriending Christians who, like the Jews, are bound up in the bundle with God. It may be that way even in America at some point, though we pray not. Who will have the humility before God to be courageous enough to believe His Word and to bless whom He blesses when it’s political incorrect and costly to do so?
If we are not faithful with the little things today, how will be we remain faithful when the stakes are higher? Are the desires of our hearts today keeping us from obedience in the small things? We cannot delude ourselves by saying, “When it really matters, I’m there, Lord, right with You.” We may be too far down the stream to have that grace extended to us. We may be out of reach for it.
Jeremiah said, “If you have run with the footmen and they have tired you out, then how can you compete with horses?” In other words, if we are not winning the skirmishes of little temptations and so we’re dabbling in the seemingly inconsequential things of the world (as if they didn’t matter) how will we win the bigger battles when they have the strength of horses behind them? If even the momentary and little desires of our hearts cause us to fellowship with compromise so that we’re drifting in currents we aren’t even aware are pulling us into the territory of unrighteousness, however briefly, how will we be strong enough to take our stand with the Gospel against the tides of opposition?
The subtlety of the seduction was made clear to me this week. Wanting to spend some time with my Mother who lives with me, I would sometimes watch one of her TV shows with her. One day the Lord spoke to my heart and said that those programs did not add one thing to my life. It was then that I realized how often I was doing it. They were not only wasted hours but I was entertaining myself what He called sin. Now, I really knew that. But I got sucked into watching even though I didn’t exactly plan to watch.
Despite the fact that the good guys more or less win in these cop shows, before my eyes in one hour I could witness any or all of the following: dishonesty, lying, cheating, stealing, murder, pride, immodesty, adultery, fornication and a few words I would never have said. The desire of my heart was first to be with Mom, but it was also to be entertained, to just take some time off from my busy day and tune out for a while.
“That was a ‘good’ show,” we might say, because we were entertained by it, not realizing we’d been drawn into polluted waters which if I stayed in them an hour a day headed down-stream. Something Isaiah said came to mind: “Woe unto those who call good evil and evil good.” (5:20)
This writing was not meant to be a vendetta against television and while I do know that there is much that is both good and godly on TV (take “It’s Supernatural” for instance, Sid’s show), while we’re talking about television, did you know that TV was the invention of several scientists who were commissioned to the task by one particular political leader’s request that they find a way to influence people’s thoughts and choices while in their homes?
They came up with the idea of television. Entertain the people, they said, and you can get them to think as you want them to and so they devised the technology to do so. Does that sound like the devil’s plan or what? This monumental idea was in fact introduced to the world at the 1936 World’s Fair. The scientists were from Germany and the political leader was Adolph Hitler!
Since God began to drop the seeds of awareness of how the desires of my heart subtly yet decidedly influence whether I am moving in the ways of God or away from Him, I am newly aware of the temptations and “undercurrents” throughout my day that want to lead me away from God as quietly but surely as a canoe drifting with the currents down a stream. Sometimes I just need to stick an oar in the water and paddle my way toward shore the solid ground of God and the surety of His salvation.
There I can rest my self-conscious soul while absorbed in meditating on the Humility of Yeshua Himself, and in the power that is inherent in His mercy and compassion. Then the Kingdom of God becomes a bit more real to me though I’m still not sure what it’ll be like when Yeshua comes. I just know He’ll come. He said so. I believe Him.
Before He returns Yeshua will have a “one new man” body of people. His Word says that too. Though we don’t know just what that will look like either, we can be sure this “new humanity” will be characterized by godly humility before Him and unto one another. When the desires of our hearts are aligned with the desires of God’s heart in every way, we can only be one with each other as we are with Him.
Lord, purify our hearts and change us that we might share in the humility of Yeshua. Amen.
Lonnie would enjoy hearing your response to this or her other articles. You may send them to email@example.com and she will be glad to respond to you. Use this same address to contact Lonnie about speaking engagements. Please put "To Lonnie" in the subject line.
Scripture marked NASB taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. Emphasis added.
Lonnie Lane comes from a family of four generations of Jewish believers, being the first one saved in 1975. Lonnie has been in church leadership for many years, and has planted two “one new man” house fellowships one with her brother Michael Lane in the Philadelphia suburbs and the other in Jacksonville, Florida, where she now lives near 6 of her 8 grandchildren. Lonnie is the author of “Because They Never Asked.” She is the Producer of Messianic Vision's radio and TV shows and the International Prayer Co-Coordinator for Messianic Vision's intercessors. Click here to order Lonnie's book, "Because They Never Asked: A Jewish Family's Search for God".