#600 (13/5/22)HE GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE
‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.’ (1 Corinthians 13:4)
Yesterday, we considered how God actively opposes the proud person or church. Peter warns us,
‘Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ (1 Peter 5:5)
Today, I want us to see the promise that God gives grace to the humble.
Firstly, this is about salvation. No one can become a Christian without humility; in order to come to Jesus for salvation we admit that we are sinners; we need to come to a place where we admit that we ourselves through our good works; to be saved we must have the humility to receive Jesus as Lord and Saviour. In essence, to become a Christian and experience the blessing of God we must become ‘Poor in spirit’ (Matthew 5:3).
This promise that God will give grace to the humble is also about remaining in a humble attitude each day. This encouragement that ‘love is not proud, rude or self-seeking’ is to Christians. You and I need to remain in the humble, dependent, attitude that brought us to Christ in the first place. Our reading from 1 Peter continues,
‘Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.’ (1 Peter 5:6-7)
We are to choose to humble ourselves each day with the promise of grace and being lifted up in due time. Our humility is tested and developed in suffering. In times of ‘anxiety’ we have a choice: will we turn to our own resources, turn to people, turn away from God or will we ‘cast all of our anxiety on Him because He cares for you’? C. J. Mahaney writes:
‘Contrary to popular and false belief, it’s not “those who help themselves” whom God helps; it’s those who humble themselves.’ (Humility)
RESPONSE - PURSUE HUMILITY SO AS TO GAIN GRACE?
God promises grace - His help - to the humble. How can we pursue humility? C. J. writes:
‘The final item for each morning (and something to come back to throughout your day): Cast your cares upon Him…When we humble ourselves each morning by casting all our cares on the Lord, we will start the day free of care. The humble are genuinely care free. I’ve discovered how true that is about myself and my soul. Where there’s worry, where there’s anxiousness, pride is at the root of it. When I am experiencing anxiety, the root issue is that I’m trying to be self-sufficient. I’m acting independent of God. What’s the solution? “Humble yourself,” God says. How? “Acknowledge your need for Me! Cast your cares upon Me, and I will transform you, C. J. For though I’m opposed to your pride, I’ll give grace to you when you humble yourself, and I’ll make you care free—not responsibility free, but care free. You’ll be free from care. You’ll instead be characterised by joy and peace.” (Humility P. 58)
Can we begin each day by casting all of our worries and needs on God? Let’s not go into our days heavy laden! Let’s come to Jesus and cast all our cares upon Him. There is great promise - the promise of grace, peace and being lifted up in due time for those who do.
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Do you have any encouragements to share from how God has been speaking to you from His word recently?
3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group
On Sunday, we continued with our series 'Becoming Love' from the book of 1 Corinthians, looking at the next three aspects of love.
Please read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
last week we looked at how love is patient and kind. This means that, like God, we endure in our relationships (patience) whilst also showing, sometimes, undeserved kindness (kindness or mercy). This week, we are considering the next three facets: love avoids envy, boasting and pride.
i. LOVE DOES NOT ENVY - Envy (Zéloó) is to be jealous of others. Rivalrous and eager to possess what others have. Envy does not truly believe in the love of God. Deep down, the envious believe that God has overlooked them and favours others more highly. God’s love breaks envy because God’s love assures us that we are perfectly loved and are gifted according to His will.
ii. LOVE DOES NOT BOAST - Boating (Perpereuomai) is to be a windbag. It's to boast, lift ourselves up, show off and draw attention to ourselves. Again, this comes from a failure to understand the gospel of God's grace toward us.
iii. LOVE IS NOT PROUD - Pride (Phusioó) Is to puff or blow up, flaunting for personal benefit, trying to make ourselves look bigger. Pride is Believing we are better than others.
All of these aspects of failure to love, relate to 'Patience and kindness'. Understanding God's patience and kindness toward us free us from envy, boasting and pride.
i) Did you feel that God spoke to you from any particular aspect of Sunday's message?
ii) This section on love is about the correct use of spiritual gifts; how will avoiding envy, boasting and pride ensure that we use our gifts in a healthy manner?
iii) A practice for killing envy, boasting and pride is to be grateful and encourage others. Spend some time doing an 'I SEE IN YOU...' exercise: take time to tell each member of your group what you see in them: gifts, character, specific service for which you are grateful, prophetic words...
iii) In the blog on Monday (#596) I shared a practice for pursuing humility from C. J. Mahaney's book, Humilty. He encourages us to start the day by:
'REFLECT ON THE WONDER OF THE CROSS For me, the most consistently helpful item on the list is this: Reflect on the wonder of the cross of Christ. I believe this will be the most important habit and practice for you as well. To truly be serious and deliberate in mortifying pride and cultivating greatness, you must each day survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died.' (Humility)