How did your last week's challenge/life application go? Did you give honor to those in high rank i.e. every believer? Was it difficult? I'd love for you to share about that in the comments or email me privately.
This week, we're moving on. With two challenges under our belt, it's time to step it up. Literally. But if you'd like to catch up:
Keep it Humble Part 3
Let's look at Romans 12:11 "...not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;" NKJV
The verse before that is about showing genuine affection to our brothers and sisters in Christ.
I want to look at this verse in the KJV because I like the wording. Here it is:
"Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;"
How does this apply to us in the context of humility, in keeping it classy i.e. humble?
Let's break down the words in the Greek and then put them together for richer meaning and application:
Look at the Greek word for slothful. Oknēros. It means, sluggish, slothful, backward. Oknēros comes from the root word: okneō to delay, hesitate
The Bible has several things to say about being sluggish and slothful. Let's peek at just a few scriptures.
"And they said, Arise, that we may go up against them: for we have seen the land, and, behold, it is very good: and are ye still? be not slothful to go, and to enter to possess the land." Judges 18:9
This verse comes right off the end of the twelve spies getting a good look at the land God promised to them. Promised Land. It was a place that flowed with abundance and it was a gift God wanted them to have. They had work to do to get it. They had to partner with God. Trust Him to go before and fight their battles, but they were going to have to do a little sword raising themselves. We too have to raise our swords--the Word of God--to fight, but Jesus Christ has gone before us!
Only two out of the twelve wanted to go in. Joshua and Caleb. "Let us not hesitate! Let us not delay! Let us not move backward, but go in and take what rightfully belongs to us."
You and I have "land" to possess. Dreams to fulfill. Promises given to us by God. Family members who need saved, reconciliation, freedom from sin, weakness and addictions. Don't delay. Don't hesitate! Go in. Raise your "sword" and possess what God has already given. ALREADY.
But what does that word business mean? In the KJV, the word is diligence. Not lagging in diligence.
That word (business/diligence) in the Greek is spoudē and it means earnestness in accomplishing, promoting, or striving after anything; to give all diligence, interest one's self most earnestly
It comes from the root word speudō which is probably strengthened by this Greek word: pous, pronounced pooce, meaning a foot, both of men or beast; often in the orient, one put his foot on vanquished; of disciples listening to their teacher's instruction are said to be at his feet
The minute I read this phonetically and read the definition, I made a connection. Have you?
The definition of pussyfoot is "to refrain from committing oneself; to avoid making a definite decision or stating a definite opinion because of fear, doubt, etc.
Isn't that exactly what the Israelites did? Pussyfooted around and never got to see their Promised Land, never had the chance to live out the God-given promise. Fear. Doubt. Uh, yeah, giants lived in the land. But God is much bigger than a giant. And He had already promised them. He is faithful to keep His word.
How often have you missed out on God's promises and blessing because of pussyfooting around?
Let's look at one more example of being slothful/sluggish and then we'll connect it to staying humble, if you haven't already.
"By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through." Ecclesiastes 10:18 KJV
Here it is in an easier translation:
"Because of laziness the building decays, and through idleness of hands the house leaks." NKJV
Obviously if you don't keep maintenance on your home, it's going to leak and decay.
But what about your spiritual home? "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?" NKJV 1 Corinthians 6:19
What happens when you become slothful with that? Same thing. Prepare to decay and leak if you aren't caring daily for your home. Feed it. Part of maintaining a healthy functioning home is renewing daily in the Word. We learn to imitate Christ through His Word. We learn humility through knowing Him.
But let's go one step further and finish out Romans 12:11.
"…fervent in spirit, serving the LORD."
We're back to loving with zeal what is good. Remember the first part of this passage, "abhor what is evil; cling to what is good." Fervent means to love with zeal what is good and serving the LORD, it means in a good sense, to yield obedience; to be a slave, serve, do service; devoted to another to the disregard of one's own interests
When we, as His disciples, sit at His feet (studying His Word), bank on Him asking us to serve. Sometimes, it may seem like too much. Too hard. Too exhausting. Too big. Giant-sized. We may entertain the idea of pussyfooting around, thanks to fear and doubt and etc.
But we are commanded to not be lazy, hesitant or to delay. We are to serve with fervor--with zeal and love for what is good (and what God asks of us is always good) and we are to serve the LORD in this manner. To yield to obedience, devoted to Him and not our own interests. To think of others first.
And this, my friends, will humble us. The fact that God wants us to fulfill our destinies--that He's even mapped out a wonderful destiny for each of us alone should drop us to our knees in humility--He wants us to do incredible things for others. It's humbling.
Love without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil and cling to what is good. Give honor to those who have been bought with a price and see them through the blood of Christ. And stop pussyfooting around, raise your sword, slay giants. Don't hesitate.
Move it! Move it!
"Look, the Lord your God has set the land before you; go up and possess it, as the Lord God of your fathers has spoken to you; do not fear or be discouraged.’" Deuteronomy 1:21
"And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.” Deuteronomy 31:8
Life Application: This week I challenge you to find ways to serve in your local body, to serve another believer in Christ. And I challenge you to spend time daily in your Word, in order to maintain your spiritual home. If God has been nudging you to obey in a certain area...move it! This week! Today!
Prayer: God, we love you. We thank you for gracing us daily with the opportunity to sit merciful at your feet to learn, to be filled with Holy Spirit as we search your treasure trove of scriptures and as he guides us into all truth. It is a privelege to daily serve you. Give us the strength, help us to cast off all fear and doubt--to settle into the peace of knowing that you go before us. You are faithful to accomplish everything that concerns us. You never leave us or forsake us. We are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ. May our hands never be idle, never lazy. But alert. Full of zeal, passion, and gratitude. And may we be humbled as we serve you wholly. In Jesus' name, amen!
Why do you think serving others promotes humility?
PS I'm over at the amazing Married...with fiction blog today talking about my critiquing services and common mistakes I see. Come on over and say hi! And if you need someone to partner with you, see my critiquing/editing page!