Do you struggle with pride? It comes in many forms. Week before last we started a series on how to keep it humble. You can read the first part: Keep It Humble: Part 1
Turn to Romans 12 or click it.
We're going to look at the middle of a humble pie. The first layer is the crust: Romans 12:2
"And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God."
If you are not in your Word, and I don't mean the kind where you read out of obligation or skim or forget to chew on and understand what you're reading, then you can not renew your mind. And if you want to know the acceptable and perfect will of God, you have to have a renewing. Enough said. Let's move on.
Paul goes on to talk about using spiritual gifts. But we're going to pick up in verse 9. It's too much meat to try to chew and swallow down in one bite (refer to above statement about chewing/understanding), so we're going to pick it apart and savor it over the next few weeks.
Scripture in small bites, goes down not necessarily easier but more manageably. And isn't that what we want? To digest it so we can let it spread to all the parts of our body, fueling it for service i.e. application.
Learn it. Love it. Live it.
How can we keep it classy--humble?
"Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good."
This is the first applicable step. We have to renew our mind--check up from the neck up. But we renew our mind through the Word.
So here it is.
Love without hypocrisy.
In the words of Shakira from the Voice, "This is toughie one."
What do you think loving without hypocrisy means? What does it look like in action?
The KJV translation says, "Let love be without dissimilation." The Greek word for this is "anypokritos" meaning undisguised, sincere.
Think over all your relationships. Are you loving with total sincerity and no ulterior motives? Really examine yourself!
So many times we hear things like: I won't go to church. They're nothing but hypocrites. I can't serve in ministry, I feel like a hypocrite. I really shouldn't even be here.
Can I just say there is a difference between knowing what is wrong and willfully doing it then acting "religious" and working hard to do what is right, while struggling with sin, weaknesses, and bad habits. The latter doesn't make you a hypocrite. It doesn't make the church hypocrites. It makes us human. Flawed. Far from perfect. It means we're progress with lots of potential.
Are there hypocrites in the church? Absolutely. But I believe there are far more Christians trying to live this thing out called life and it won't come without a few slips ups…and even some big ones. Note* Take responsibility for them and apologize. Never try to act like you have it all together. Even Paul made a point to say he wasn't an expert in all this, but he was looking toward the goal--Jesus--and running forward, not looking back.
So how do we love with sincerity? Free from ulterior motives? And how will that humble us?
If we cut our "self" out of the equation by axing ulterior motives and insincerity, we've really just abolished pride. Selfish pride. But how do we even do that? By nature, we are selfish. We are prideful. We are looking for motives that benefit us.
We first: Abhor what is evil.
A woman I love dearly prayed over a women's meeting and she said this, "Lord, let us love what you love and hate what you hate." Not WHO--what.
It's easy to abhor child molestation, physical abuse, torture, rape and murder.
What about adultery, fornication and drunkenness in the forms of our favorite TV shows?
What about dropping F bombs and taking the Lord's name in vain in movies with the disguise of, "Well, that's life. It's realistic." Should it be entertaining?
That's up to you and your convictions. I'm not saying don't watch it. I'm just tossing out some questions for all of us, myself included.
How do we abhor evil? Especially the evil that has become our normal? Our entertainment? Our reality. When we've been desensitized through media outlets?
"Cling to what is good."
Cement yourself, glue yourself, join with, fasten.
How do we know what is good? Below are some scriptures to help us line up with good. To renew our minds. Recalibrate.
Check up from the neck up.
Life Application: This week, I challenge you and myself to meditate on these scriptures. Examine our hearts and see where we fall short. Where do we not line up with God? And then take the ax to what is evil. Cling to what is good. Whatever you may decide to give up, fill it with something good. Or it'll just remain empty. Empty is not good. ;) Do this for one week. Just one. And see if your love becomes more sincere, less selfish. See if the Holy Spirit sensitizes us to what is evil.
I'll be honest, there are things I'm going to have to give up that I find entertaining, but they don't bring glory to God nor line up with scripture. And I'll be even more honest, I don't (at this second) really want to do it--ax it. Isn't that sad? But I will.
Because I want more of Him. And less of me.
Because in the end, I can't take that entertainment with me.
Because this life is all about bringing God glory.
And when I cut out myself…that's really what I want.
What do you want? Will you take the weekly challenge to abhor evil and cling to what is good? Let's get focused.
Prayer: Lord, we love you. We want to love what you love and hate what you hate. Open our spiritual eyes to see what has become our normal that does not line up with Your Word, Your goodness, and Your holiness. Give us the strength to turn away from evil, to ax out things in our life that do not belong. And show us how to fill our idle time with goodness. Convict us, Lord. Break our hearts for our sin. For You are close to those with broken hearts. Mend us, heal us, fill us. Let Your precious Word become a joy to us as we seek to understand Who You are and your perfect will. Teach us, Holy Spirit, as we study and meditate on the scriptures. Apply them to our lives, root them deep in our hearts so that we may not turn from You. And Lord, daily remind us to go low, so that You remain high. For Your glory, in Jesus' name. Amen.
Weekly scriptures to meditate on:
"He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8
"And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness." Genesis 1:4
"This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success." Joshua 1:8
"O my soul, you have said to the Lord, “You are my Lord, My goodness is nothing apart from You.” Psalm 16:2
"Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it." Psalm 34:14
"Every one of them has turned aside; They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one." Psalm 53:3
"But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, That I may declare all Your works." Psalm 73:28
"A good man deals graciously and lends; He will guide his affairs with discretion." Psalm 112:5
"You are good, and do good; Teach me Your statutes." Psalm 119:68
"It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the Lord." Lamentations 3:26
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16
"But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you…" Matthew 5:44
“The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light." Matthew 6:22
"A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit." Matthew 7:18
"Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good." Romans 7:12
"For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil." Romans 6:19
"Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” 1 Corinthians 15:33
Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers." Ephesians 4:29
"Test all things; hold fast what is good." 1 Thessalonians 5:21
"Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God." 3 John 1:11
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