You’d think the longer you walked with the Lord, the more you endeavored to follow hard after Him, fellowship with Him deeply, and pay attention to what He says… With all that, you’d think you’d have certainty about what you ought to be doing with your life. Wouldn’t you?
Well, I don’t.
Even when the gates have slammed shut and He clearly has me in a time of rest from active (overactive?) ministry, why do I feel guilty about spending so much time in prayer, meditation, and good reading (the Bible and other books that encourage me in the right direction)?
I think it must be what I’m listening to, all mixed up together. Most of it’s the voice of the world (and maybe even the devil), coming through the mouths and pens of “good people,” including Christians.
The world has an undeniable sway in our lives. And I know I’m sensitive to criticism—by which I mean I’m so likely to take it to heart that I deem myself utterly unfit, unusable, and disqualified.
There is such a thing as all that. Unfit, disqualified. And I know we as a church don’t pay enough attention to God’s disqualifiers He clearly gives us in scripture. But where the lines blur and pathways beyond the fork of decision hide in fog, that’s where I get bogged down in uncertainty.
Some people that I know (the movers and shakers) will say, “Go for it!” and shove all that uncertainty aside. Other Christians (like George Muller, whom I greatly admire and through whom God did such tremendous ministry) will say don’t proceed until you are sure and settled in your own soul.
So who to listen to?
“Well, God, of course!” the simplistic answer says, but troublesome truth is, it’s easier for me to hear people’s words than His.
And now I take some time aside to read William Law’s teaching (from the 1700’s) on humility – and he is pointing out that concern over others’ purely human opinions of ourselves is a good indicator of pride—the opposite of humility—which is the whole concept of “it’s not about me”!
Hm. I do best at this point to remove myself as far as possible from people’s opinions of me and my efforts all together, and try, through prayer, close attention to scripture, and as thorough an application of it as I can muster, to determine God’s opinion and direction alone: asking, “What would please Him?”
See what an exercise this business of humility is! If I care how acceptable people think my house, furniture, car, clothes are—or, yes, my abilities, gifts, accomplishments—I’m traveling down the pride road rather than the humility one. All that is about me, about what people think about me. And my concern should be what I lead people to think of my Christ, my God.
I have a lot to learn, still—and unlearn, as William Law points out: all the worldly mindset so deep-ingrained within me, exactly counter to that vital but elusive quality of true biblical humility.
I’m sure I’ll be writing more posts about this endeavor in the future.