Pride in Our Humility

July 11, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Personal Growth

By Rosemary Flaaten –

How do you describe humility? Doormat…subservient…inferior?

I grew up being taught to never think too highly of myself. The attached interpretation was that I best not consider myself good at something. The only acceptable pride was the extent of my humility.

Jesus’ life and words give evidence that the humble are blessed when we have an accurate perspective of who we truly are. Humility is not abasement or self-ridicule anymore than it is elevated and cocky. Humility is seeing ourselves as God sees us – nothing added and nothing subtracted.

Humility does not allow us to hold on to our past sins and failures, thus defining ourselves by them, which deflates our character. Christ has forgiven our sins and in His sight we are righteous. Humility accepts the clean slate offered and prompts us to move forward from our mistakes. We become blessed when we see ourselves as God sees us.

Conversely, humility does not allow us to revel in our accomplishments thus hoping to receive significance from them. God has not chosen to love us because of our excellent works. Rather, He loves us and proclaims esteem on us because we are His creation. He loved us enough to have His Son die in order for us to be in relationship with Him. We are blessed because of Christ.

Seeing ourselves as God sees us – nothing more or less – is humility. When we accept God’s view, we truly do inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5). We inherit the opportunity to let go of our past mistakes and move into the possibilities of today. We inherit a freedom that was previously stifled by perfectionism or shame. We inherit a glorious future of acceptance and esteem. We inherit hope.

PRAYER: Lord, help me to take off my glasses of both inferiority and arrogance and instead put on the glasses of humility so I might see myself as You do.

BIBLE VERSE: Have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place…” (Philippians 2:5 – 11 NIV)

Characterology

By Rosemary Flaaten –

I love learning new words, especially when they have fifteen letters in them. I recently heard the word “characterology”. I immediately was drawn to understand its true meaning. “Ology” refers to the study of something and “character” could be described as the combination of features and traits that form our individual nature. So, characterology is taking a good hard look at who we truly are, especially when no one else is around or watching us.

This resounds with the psalmist David who cried out to God to study his character. “Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24 NIV).

One of the Holy Spirit’s roles is to illuminate sin in our lives. Sure we’d rather call them character flaws, but things like pride, envy, and deception are not just imperfections, they are sins. Like Adam and Eve, we will try to hide our sin from God, others and even ourselves. I often make the study of my character as superficial as possible. I skim over actions and attitudes that fall outside of God’s desires for my life, choosing to slough over them rather than confess and change them. I cheapen God’s grace by ignoring the repentance to which He calls me.

All too often the study of my character is at a third grade level rather than a more advanced level of spiritual maturity. The hard work of characterology, involving true study, will bring about maturity and transformation. Being a student of the character of Jesus will help me become more astute at discerning and responding to the Holy Spirit’s revelations of the offensive ways in me.

Characterology is more than a big word. It is an advanced class in spiritual formation into which we can to delve wholeheartedly with God’s guidance.

PRAYER: Lord, I ask for courage to delve into the study of my character.  Thank You for Your love and grace in the midst of my mess.

BIBLE VERSE: “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.” (Psalms 51:6 NIV)

Whatever

May 7, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Rosemary Flaaten

What is on today’s to-do list? Is it to put the finishing touches on the big presentation? Is it to clean up a lingering mess in the storeroom? Is it to grade papers? Is it to get to your exercise class? Is it to have lunch with your daughter? Our lives are full of tasks, some menial and routine, others extra special. Whatever the task you will tackle today, God has gifted you with this opportunity for a purpose, and His directive is for you to do your work in such a way that it glorifies Him.

It doesn’t matter if you are a teacher, plumber, corporate executive, child care attendant, nurse, computer programmer or salesperson, God has called us to do our work to the best of our ability. Usually if we do our work well there is affirmation that comes our way. We may even get paid for the work we do. But momentary compensation, affirmation or esteem should not be our primary purpose for our work. The Apostle Paul instructs us that “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV)

Synonyms for the word “whatever” include all, everything, and encompassing. The “whatever” in this scripture is not just talking about the ministry you lead at your church, the Sunday School class you teach or the shut-ins you visit on the weekend. Rather, it encompasses everything we do –working, driving, eating, sleeping, chatting, and exercising. Everything is an act of worship and should be done so that God is glorified, uplifted and extolled.

This may seem plausible when all is going well, your coworkers are picking up their share of the work, your boss is congenial and you feel confident in your abilities. It takes a much greater commitment to see the opportunities to glorify God when the project list is too long, your employees are threatening mutiny and your friend just screamed at you. Glorifying God in all we do is not dependent on situations. It is to occur in spite of our situations.

What are you tempted to do poorly or exclude from your “whatever” list?

PRAYER: Help me this day to choose to glorify You in all that I do – from the menial to the meaningful.

BIBLE VERSE: “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV)

Then and Now

March 28, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Rosemary Flaaten –

We all love life-change stories. Someone was once a drug addict, living on the streets, and now they have a family and are a contributing member of society. Someone was bankrupt, and now they own a multimillion dollar business. Someone chose adultery, but now have returned to their marriage and are loving, honoring and devoted to their spouse.

Then-and-now stories are inspirational. They give us hope that, despite the mistakes we have made, we can enter a new present that will enable a future of change.

Reflecting on then-and-now stories made me think of my own story of transformation. No, I never lived on the street, suffered bankruptcy or cheated on my spouse. But, before asking Jesus to be my Lord, I lived a life without God.

The apostle Paul’s letter to the Colossian church gives a then-and-now story that mirrors my life: “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation” (Colossians 1:21-22 NIV).

Before I committed my life to Christ, I was fearful of death, failure and just about anything that went “boo” in the night. Now, I have an abiding trust in God’s goodness and His plan for my life. I may not get it right all the time -– actually I will not get it right all the time – but God, in his amazing grace and love, picks me up and sets me back on the path of grace.  He never shames me, but simply loves me and draws me further to a likeness that reflects His character.

What’s your then-and-now story? How has God’s presence in your life brought about transformation? What change has come about in your life because of God? I encourage you to tell others your story of transformation. Don’t ever feel its not dramatic enough to speak about. Every little step of change is worth celebrating. The angels are rejoicing, so let’s celebrate on earth, as it is in heaven.

PRAYER: Lord, I ask for opportunities to share my story of the difference You have made in my life.  Use it for Your glory and to further Your kingdom.

BIBLE VERSE: “Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy” 1 Peter 3:15 (The Message).

A Suspicious Thought

March 7, 2020 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions, Worship

By Rosemary Flaaten –

I generally don’t think of myself as a suspicious person. One of my strengths is positivity and, perhaps  to a fault, I see the best in people, believing them to be trustworthy. But, I’ve noticed a sliver of suspicion, not so much about others but towards God. Oswald Chambers is noted as saying that the root of all sin is the suspicion that God is not good.

Our first parents, Adam and Eve, aligned themselves with the questioning of the serpent, “Is that really what God said?” Up until that moment, they believed that God loved them, and that He had their best interests are heart. That simple question flooded their minds with doubt and sin was ushered in on the wheels of suspicion.

We do the same thing. Deep in our souls we wonder, “Is God really good?”

I’m not going to offer a trite response, instead, I offer you this challenge: Take two pieces of paper, placed side by side. At the top of one, write “good” and on the top of the other write “bad”. With pen in hand, start creating a list on each page of all the things in your life that fit on either one of those pages. Things such as a house to live in would go under the good. It may not be big or fancy and it may have a large mortgage, but if you have a roof over your head, then it goes on the “good” page.

Family members and friends should be listed on the “good” page. Perhaps, within those relational spheres there are unhealthy relationships. Those names can go on the “bad page,” only if nothing good has ever come of those struggles.

Hopefully, our physical or emotional health is readily placed on the “good” page. But, there are seasons in our lives when our health is more bad than good, so place it accordingly.

I am amazed that my accumulation of “good” heavily outweighs my “bad”. The prolific blessings in my life give evidence that God’s promise through Jeremiah continue in my reality: “I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them” (Jeremiah 32:40).

God’s goodness is truly astounding!

PRAYER: O God, enlighten the eyes of my heart that I will see your goodness so prolifically bestowed on me and then grant me a heart of gratitude.

BIBLE VERSE: “Your goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6 NIV).

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