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Inside/Outside Messages

Humility and Submission
God’s Keys to Being Used by Him

You say you have talents you want to use for God. Fantastic! The church is always in need of men and women who are willing to serve God by serving the body of Christ. There is one thing all Spirit-filled church leaders ask of every volunteer—check your ego at the door. Ego? You don’t understand. God has given me the ability to do this or that. I have a great plan for the ministry here, if you will all get out of my way.

Something is lacking in the man who would speak in a way similar to that last paragraph: humility and submission. There is a song that begins, “Oh Lord, it’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way.” We laugh at such words because they are so blatantly arrogant and self-centered. But there are times when our actions speak those very same words. Can God use an arrogant man? He has. But the end for such men usually is not very pleasant, just ask Samson. No, God prefers the humble men, those who have come to the end of themselves to realize they aren’t all that. They have, in a sense, returned to the clay from whence they came and are now moldable by the hands of the Potter.

That’s the case with Moses. He was born with a price on his head just for being a Hebrew male. God rescued Moses and placed him in Pharaoh’s palace to be raised. But Moses’ mother who nursed him apparently told him of his Hebrew heritage, since he went out to see how his brothers were doing. Exodus 2:11-15 tells of how Moses killed an Egyptian who was abusing one of his Hebrew brothers. This resulted in Moses having to flee for his life and find a place to hide in Midian.

Exodus 3:1-12 describes how, 40 years later, God called a reluctant Moses to go and rescue Israel from Egypt. Moses didn’t want to do it and God had to persuade him to go. Numbers 12:1-3 tells us that Moses was the most humble man on Earth. He followed God’s instructions (except once in Numbers 20:10-12), even when they resulted in harsh treatment from Pharaoh, and led Israel out of Egypt.

At about 40 years of age, Moses took the law into his own hands in his attempt to free his people from hardship. Forty humbling, shepherding years later, God calls Moses to follow His plan for freeing His people. Moses was always the man for the job, but he had to let go of his own methods and submit to God’s.

Fast forward to Saul, persecutor of followers of the Way, on his way to Damascus when Jesus arrests him in his tracks. Jesus humbles Saul and has him wait three days in darkness and fasting before being exalted to a new position—spokesman for the WAY (Acts 9:1-25). The newly humbled Saul must be lowered in a basket, through the wall, to escape the Jews who now seek his life.

On more than one occasion, Saul (now called Paul) speaks of his old way of life and his lack of humility. In 2 Corinthians 11:16-30, Paul recites some of his resume, listing the many hardships he endured. His point in doing this was to highlight his own weakness and God’s strength which sustained him.

Philippians 3:2-11 has Paul using his pedigree as a Hebrew of Hebrews to deflate those who boasted in the flesh. After going through his blameless behavior under the Law, Paul says in verse 7 that he counts it all as loss for Christ. Paul turns in the righteousness he worked so hard for under the Law and receives by faith in Jesus righteousness from God.

Paul has learned to humbly submit to the Father’s will, regardless of the sufferings. In Philippians 2:1-11, Paul points to Jesus as his example and ours. The first four verses are an introduction where Paul shows our need to follow Jesus and stop trying to exalt ourselves above others. To look out for the interests of others rather than self.

How do we accomplish this? By adopting the mind-set of Christ Jesus. He was God and yet He came to live as a man in humble submission to the Father in heaven. He obeyed to the point of dying on a cross for the sins of all mankind. Following such humiliations, Jesus’ name was exalted above every name; a name who all will bow and confess as Lord in glory to God the Father. Wow, Jesus went through a lot to be exalted. I don’t know that I want to go through all of that. Can we just skip to the making my name great part?

That only shows our lack of humility and submission to God. Look at James 4:1-12. James gets to the heart of all our bickering with one another. We want things our way and we even pray to God to make them so. But God sees our motives and withholds what we are not ready to handle.

James exposes our worldly mind-set which puts us in opposition to God. He then explains that God is jealous and wants us all to Himself. That should give us a boost. Quoting from Proverbs 3:34, James says that God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. He then concludes that if we submit to God, we will then resist the Devil and the Devil will turn tail and run.

That’s not all. As we draw near to God and let go of our sinful thoughts and practices, God will draw near to us. We will no longer laugh with the world, but in humility we will mourn our waywardness. It is in the humble state that God will exalt us. With this new mind we won’t talk bad about our brothers and condemn them.

As men of God don’t we want to submit to Him? You are a talented group of brothers and the Lord wants to use you to be witnesses of His love, mercy, and grace. But your pride can keep that from happening. Humble yourselves before God. That includes all whom He has placed in authority over you, whether chaplains, pastors, or correctional officers (Hebrews 13:7, 17). God’s word guarantees that when you humble yourself before God, He will exalt you. God will use you to bring Him praise and to proclaim the Gospel of Christ to others.

Article from the Inside:

Jay C., a Brother in Christ at California State Prison-Solano, Vacaville, California.

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