July 7, 2013

The Direction of Humility

Whose opinion of you matters?

I have had to ask myself this question both when others would make it known to me how much superior they are to me, or when I am asked to do something that would not honor God.  In both situations, a conflict arises: do I satisfy my ego and make a rebuttal, make a compromise and get someone's approval, or do I respond in love while taking the hit?  Do I make someone else unhappy because I am committed to some invisible ideal that I believe is righteous?

I have had to ask myself this several times over the past several months.  I wish I had been able to ask this of myself during some key moments in waiting tables back in The Plains, but hey, not everyone can say they've been screamed at in the presence of Robert Duvall.

In some ways, yes, other people's opinions of us matter.  When Paul talks about what love looks like in Romans, he tells us that "as far as it depends on you, be at peace with everyone" (Romans 12:18).  If we live by that verse alone, though, it becomes a carte blanche for trying to keep everyone happy.  The passage it comes from is Paul telling us how our God-honor love as Christians should look in the world; thus, it is not to be at the expense of our relationship with the Lord.

We often don't have any time to regroup before we have to react to these situations; no one gives us forward warning that they're going to be quite rude to us later today, so please get in some quality devo time, 'cause you're gonna need it.

That's why we have Romans 8:
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. 10 But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. 11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.[f] And by him we cry, “Abba,[g] Father.”16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.