GoDeeper with Andy B, as he focuses on humility, particularly in receiving correction.
He gives some examples of people receiving correction and touches on why it is so important to remain humble.
So! Staying humble; not becoming proud. You might even talk about it as receiving correction. So what do we mean by that?
Well, perhaps you are driving at 40 miles an hour in a 30 mile an hour road in the UK – you’re going to need to have some correction. That might be in the form of a speed camera and a letter through the post and some points on your licence. It may well be a police officer who stops you and you end up with points on your licence and a fine - not good! But that's receiving correction.
Correction might also be in the sporting world.
A friend of mine and I, we joined the gym together - with Jo. And as we were at the gym; I didn't know what I was doing at all!
I didn't know whether to push or pull or what. I was more interested in the mechanics of how this stuff worked. But anyway, so I asked lots of questions and somebody helped me and show me how to do it - so I didn't damage myself in anyway.
But my friend was more confident and he started doing some exercises with some weights and he was pulling away and doing all this stuff, and one of the trainers there walked over and said, ‘can I just correct you on what you're doing ‘cos if you carry on doing that, you're going to damage your shoulder coz you're not lifting it in the right way’.
You need to be much slower and more controlled, and you need to measure the weight you can lift and all this sort of stuff.
It was really fascinating. But he corrected my friend and he helped me as well because we did it the correct way.
So correction - we don't like that in the modern world. Receiving correction sounds horrible and terrible, but it's part of life, isn't it - we all have correction in different ways.
If you're, I dunno, you're in the school play and you're doing the thing when you get in the wrong word. Somebody needs to correct you and say, ‘can you receive some correction, please, and have the correct lines’.
So correction isn't quite the heavy thing we often think about when we see receiving correction, but that's really what being humble is about, it's about being able to receive correction,
So there's 4 scriptures were going to look at. I'm gonna read out one, but there's three more that have the same topic, the same kind of verse, the same theme.
So Matthew chapter 23, verse 12.
We find exactly the same basic point in Proverbs, Chapter 3, verse 34.
And then it's repeated once more in 1 Peter Chapter 5 verses 5 through 7.
And today I'm looking at James Chapter 4, verses 6 and 7 where we see the same theme, the same topic, the same word, the same warning.
“But He gives more grace. Therefore it says God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” (ESV)
In our current world, pride is a big thing. We want to be proud of what we are doing. We should have pride in this, have pride in that and the problem with pride is - it's not a good thing.
“Pride comes before a fall” isn't actually biblical thing, but it's very true and we see pride relentlessly through scripture coming before something bad happens, which is why it's important to stay humble. If we’re getting really full of pride in our exercising, we're going to come a cropper and do something stupid.
If we try to fix a bike and we're not putting the bolts on the right way round and we just levering away at this bolt we're going to snap something; it's going to go wrong, ‘I know what I'm doing, it just needs to be tight’. Well actually, then we need to look at the torque settings and get the bolt to the correct torque and then it won't snap and we won't hurt ourselves.
Getting proud is not a good thing.
It's good to have pride in what you're doing, but we should still be - have a level of - humility about who we are and what God is asking us to do, especially as disciples and followers of Jesus Christ being humble, staying humble, being correctable is really important.
If you had to choose between 2 people to spend some time with, would you choose the person that was ‘full of it’, and would beat you at everything and laugh at your face cause you're so rubbish?
The pride person? - that's not who you want to be with.
Or would you want to be with somebody who was more humble, who was really good at what they did - but didn't laugh at you when they got something good?
Well you’d wanna be with the latter person wouldn’t you. And God is exactly the same, He doesn't want to be with us when we're in a proud place
Now James comes up with an interesting point because he said “draw near to God - verse 8 - and He will draw near to you.”
The thing is, how can you draw near, or away, from a God who is supposedly omnipresent? How can we get something that is everywhere closer or further?
But this is really talking about our heart attitude.
Are we trying to get nearer to God or further from Him?
Which one of the two are you gonna do? If we're getting pride in our life and we’re allowing pride in, and being so proud about everything; to override our emotions and all the rest of it. We're going to be pulling ourselves away from God, and God wants us to pull near to Him.
And when we’re struggling with things, there's a lovely answer in here - God doesn't run out of grace. I sort of write this down and paraphrased it a bit, but God doesn't run out of grace. If we wanna remain humble, God is right there! All we've got to do is ask.
We’re never gonna face stuff - in this life - that we can't handle with God. And it's the with-God-part that's a really important part, that often gets left off.
With God. We can handle anything that He wants us to face!
Doesn't mean to say we gonna handle it, and face it, and it'll be great, and we’ll get a Ferrari and a big house - that's not the point.
Handling stuff with God - so that we can face whatever, He is with us, to help us cope with and face; means we have the grace to get through it because God doesn't run out of grace.
He's God. He has endless resources!
Now you might have a particular opinion on whether we should have chapters and verses in the Bible, or whether we should have headings and subtitles to chapters - I think it's quite helpful, personally.
But there's 2 here that are brilliant: “Warning against unworldliness”, “Boasting about tomorrow”, so that's chapter 4, the first verses and then boasting about tomorrow is the latter half.
If we're boasting about tomorrow, we are full of pride.
Warning against godlessness. Well, don't boast about tomorrow. You can follow those through. You don't even have to read the rest of the scripture and we've got a really good moral point here.
“Warning against worldliness” - if we're allowing who we are and what we are to become greater than who we are in Christ we’re becoming proud, we're becoming prideful. And when we get prideful, when we allow pride to rule, our life, then all of a sudden God is getting pushed away by us, from us.
God always wants to be near us. We need to stay near to Him
But there's a great thing here. So if we look at these first few races of James 4, sorry verses 6 through 8, there's a little formula we can follow.
Submit to God - The very first thing.
You've got a problem in your life. You've got a thing, a feeling, a think, oh I should do, this; I shouldn't do that. Well, let's get on our knees.
Jo and I quite often get on our knees, either side of our bed - opposite each other – with a prayer book in the middle and we get on our knees, and we pray before God. We submit to him all sorts of things.
Last year we needed a job, we got on our knees in prayer; we got as a family and we prayed and God gave us a job almost immediately.
Doesn't always work that way - by the way - it did on that occasion and we were grateful for that.
But submit to God means - whatever I want, I'm putting it at the foot of the cross. So Jesus spoke the words ‘not my will but Yours’, and that's the heart submitting attitude we should have.
Resist the devil doesn't necessarily mean that we're going to run around with a sword trying to wave at the air to get rid of the devil. That's not what this is about.
We are called to stand and standing means truths of Scripture, so we can defend ourselves against what's going on because we know what the Bible teaches us. That's what standing is all about.
It may well mean praying against what the devil is doing. We should be doing that too.
“Draw near to God. He will draw near to you.”
So let's come close to God by being humble and submissive.
Now I wanted to touch on submissive, just as I close.
Submissive. Submission. It sounds like a really dirty word from the old. We should just throw out; it's gone with the Ark and all the rest of it.
However, God calls us to be submissive to him.
And the thing about submission is you can never, ever, force anybody to be submissive. You can force them to do what you want, but you can't force them to be submissive, ‘cos being submissive is a heartfelt attitude.
We have to be free - to want to choose - to be submissive to somebody else.
So if you're getting pulled by the police ‘cos you're driving too fast, you should be submissive to the person God has put in authority to correct you in that situation - ‘cos you’re driving too fast.
So we will be corrected, but we should be submissive.
I've been pulled by the police quite a few times when I was driving lorries, because I used to drive in an area where they had lots of issues with lorry mounted crane.
So I always getting pulled by the police to be checked. I was always clear as I drove within the law - the crane is always good, or if there is a problem, it wasn't on me.
But I was always humble with the police officer, and the guys from the ministry, who were there to check the vehicle, ‘cos you know what? They’re put in a position of authority?
I'm not going to be able in their faces about ‘how dare you stop me’ - they've got a job to do.
The fact that they stopped me four days in a row - I wasn't bitter about it ‘cos you know what, they're just doing their job.
So actually I was genuinely humble about that and they actually recognised who I was. I got away quite quickly, and they said ‘if you had been really funny with us we’d have checked everything’ - and why wouldn’t they!
Let's be submissive to those people in authority. It might be our parents; it might be a school teacher; it might be a police officer; it might be leaders of our church.
But let's have a submissive heart. And when we submit to people - to the people God puts in authority over us - it will enable us to have a more humble heart.
If we’ve got an issue we’re struggling with and let's get on our knees and pray and say ‘Lord, what's your desire for me so that I can be truly humble in who I am, and what I'm doing?, and having a humble attitude?‘
Corrie Ten-Boom basically said this (my paraphrase): ‘In this life we're going to face troubles and they're going to prepare us in this life for the next life.’
So don't be so stressed when things don't go your way. So let's remain a level of humility about who we are - let's be submissive, in order that we can be corrected because God desires the disciples of Jesus Christ to be submissive to God.
Just like Jesus - Lord of Lords, King of Kings - was submissive to God on the cross, we should still be submissive to Jesus, and to those that God puts in authority.
So let's be humble. Let's not be proud.
Let’s be people that we can, we would want to be, near so that people want to come near us and we can show Jesus to them.
So let's have humble hearts and if you struggling or we are struggling let’s get on our knees in prayer before God, and submit to him and seek His face, and he will draw near to us.
Written by Andy B