Humility

Humility

Pride is a funny thing.

For that matter, so is humility.

They aren’t quite what I thought they were.

On some surface level I had a general idea but if I was going to be real honest with you, I don’t know if I could have told you why God hates pride so much.

But I’m in the know, now.

You want to know too, don’t you?

Okay, but you owe me a latte or something.

 

God hates pride because. . . (drumroll, please) it’s a relationship killer.

 

Yep, that’s the big secret.

God hates pride because it breaks down authentic, heart connections.

And on the flip side, God L-O-V-E-S humility because it promotes very real, very close relationships.

 

So this got me thinking.

What the heck is humility anyways.

And I don’t mean a definition out of the dictionary.

I mean if I take humility off the rack, what does it look like on a person?

 

 

It’s not self-depreciating.

If you’re good at something, own it.

No, seriously.

I told you, humility is not what we think it is.  When we self-depreciate ourselves its so we LOOK humble, but inside we are high five-ing our awesome selves.

Might as well just get it out in the open.

Besides, self-depreciating yourself is no laughing matter. . . unless you’re a writer then it’s just plain funny.

 

It’s not comparing yourself to others.

It’s like those old Nintendo racing games.

Every car had some pluses and some minuses, which kinda all evened them out in the end.  We’re all in this race together, except if you had the cheat codes, then your car was definitely the best, but if you have cheat codes, you owe it to the rest of us to share the love.

 

It takes time to rest.  

Whoa.

Hold up.

What does rest have to do with humility?

I know, right?  I was thinking the same thing.  We could be besties, the way you read my mind.

Rest is the simple act of acknowledging that hey, maybe I’m not Wonder Woman after all (or Superman, you choose.  They’re your tights).

And yeah, I’m human and I have needs.

Like a couch, some Netflix and a bag of Doritos.

Don’t knock it people.

Doritios, right there on the bottom of the Needs Pyramid.

What?!  It’s not there.

Well, they should be.

 

Humility is a team player.

It’s open to hearing new ideas. . . like putting Doritos on that dang Needs Pyramid.

 

And humility is okay with saying “no”.

Not to Doritos.

Humility would never say no to Doritos.

 

And maybe the most defining mark of humility is this. . . it’s cool being itself.

Humble people are comfortable in their own skin.

You know, like your grandpa when he wears his tank top and boxers with socks rolled up to his knees.  You know what I’m talking about – that is a man who is secure in his own skin . . . and fashion choices.

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline

Colossians 3:12

The Message

 

I could use more humility in my life.

I could do with less comparison of what I think I should be.

I could do with more rest.

I could do with more saying “no”.

And I could definitely do more with just being me.

Maybe you could too.

We live in a world full of causes and needs – and we will get to them.  We will, because God has poured his spirit into us.  Those things won’t get left undone.  But in all of our doing, lets not forget that we are people and not vending machines.

Maybe that’s the truest mark of humility.

That we remember that we are human.

 

Love you,

img_0580

No

 

I am so loving the word “no” right now.

I would sing it like a choir boy if I could.

Do-Re-Mi-NOOOOOOOO.

 

 

“No” is the word that God gave us as freedom from distracting thoughts, over busy schedules, expectations to be something we are not.

I’m not talking about character issues.

I’m talking about feeling anxious all the time.

I’m talking about being afraid that we are not being who others think we should be.

Maybe even, who we think God wants us to be.

 

Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop. I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving.

2 Corinthians 9:6-7

(The Message)

 

Stingy and lavish.

So the moral is we should give more and not less right?

 

I don’t think that’s what it means.

Plus it’s all followed up with “God loves it when the giver delights in the giving”.

I think it’s about our motivation.

 

It comes back to heart.

I’ve had moments where I have given lots out of a stingy heart, because it was what I thought was expected, and I’ve given little with all of the love I had within me.

God was way more excited that I was excited about the little than the lot.

 

Geez, if I’m honest, I can’t remember the last time I was excited to give of my time or my money or my prayers.

I just got in the habit of giving because it’s what we Christians do.

But this burnt out girl is learning, it’s not enough to just give.

God wants us engaged in our giving- from hearts that overflow.

He’s asking us,

Why do we do what we do?

Do we give because we want to?

Or because we think it’s expected?

 

Which brings me back to my Sesame Street rant on why I loooove “No.”

“No”, protects our hearts and our motivations.

So if we are going to have and keep big hearts towards people, we have to be able to have and keep our big “no’s” towards the things that would cause us to feel less than delighted in our giving.

That’s really hard because it hits right at the heart of what people will think of me.

Yeouch.

I know, it’s hard to say no.

We want people to think that we are the awesome people we know we are- but sometimes the most awesome and sincere and honest thing we can do is nicely say “no”. It keeps our hearts from resenting people and it keeps what flows from our hearts pure.

“No” gives us rest.

“No” gives us breathing room.

“No” gives us space to really discern our own hearts and God’s.

 

So, not that you need it, but if you were looking for someone to give you permission to say “no”, I’m saying it.  Say “no” to things the things that have been slowly killing your joy and your relationships with others.  Say “no” to the false expectation to be something you’re not.

Because here’s the best part, in the “no” we have more “yes” for each other and for a God that loves us enough to give us a word like “no”.

 

 

 

Website: www.joyceackermann.com

Twitter:@joyceackermann

 

What Dudes in Fruit Suits Can Tell You About the Voice of God

Every wonder what the voice of God sounds like?

You know, you read these crazy blogs, maybe even talk to some people you know who say things like, “Well I felt like God was telling me. . .”

And you’re standing there feeling like an idiot wondering, “Uh, so what do I say to something like that.”  You kinda think it’s cool that God maybe talks to people like that.

You know, those people.

(In a whisper) the special ones.

The ones that try really hard at this God stuff.

Sometimes I think that way too.  Like maybe if I just try harder I’ll hear God’s voice a little clearer.  You know read my Bible more, listen to more MP3’s of pastors who know more than I do, do a technology fast, you know, just do more.

And those things are all great for clearing out the extra noise that tries to clutter up the space between our ears.  And that defintely makes it easier to hear God.

But what if you’ve been hearing him your whole life and didn’t recognize it was him?

I think I’d know the voice of God if I heard it.

Really?

Samuel didn’t.

The boy Samuel was serving God under Eli’s direction. This was at a time when the revelation of God was rarely heard or seen. One night Eli was sound asleep (his eyesight was very bad—he could hardly see). It was well before dawn; the sanctuary lamp was still burning. Samuel was still in bed in the Temple of God, where the Chest of God rested.

Then God called out, “Samuel, Samuel!”

Samuel answered, “Yes? I’m here.” Then he ran to Eli saying, “I heard you call. Here I am.”

Eli said, “I didn’t call you. Go back to bed.” And so he did.

God called again, “Samuel, Samuel!”

Samuel got up and went to Eli, “I heard you call. Here I am.”

Again Eli said, “Son, I didn’t call you. Go back to bed.” (This all happened before Samuel knew God for himself. It was before the revelation of God had been given to him personally.)

God called again, “Samuel!”—the third time! Yet again Samuel got up and went to Eli, “Yes? I heard you call me. Here I am.”

That’s when it dawned on Eli that God was calling the boy. So Eli directed Samuel, “Go back and lie down. If the voice calls again, say, ‘Speak, God. I’m your servant, ready to listen.’” Samuel returned to his bed.

Then God came and stood before him exactly as before, calling out, “Samuel! Samuel!”

Samuel answered, “Speak. I’m your servant, ready to listen.”

1 Samuel 3:1-10 (The Message)

This is a pretty big deal.

Because Samuel went on to be a key part for the nation of Israel and the anointing of David as king.

Samuel didn’t recognize God’s voice at first and just assumed it was Eli, his mentor.

We can do that alot. . . rationalize away that God is speaking – here and now – to us.

But how can we be sure it’s God?

I knew it, you want to be one of those special ones too, don’t you?  Yeah, me too.

There’s 3 tests it’s gotta pass to make sure it’s the voice of God because there are lots of voices that try to imitate God’s.  So he tells us to test the spirit behind what  we hear.

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to determine if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

1 John 4:1 (HCSB)

1. The Book Test. 

Does it agree with the Bible?  If God is speaking, it should echo what God is saying in the Bible, especially about Jesus.

2. The Gut Test.

How does it feel?  This one is tough because we can be such cerebral people sometimes,  But this is what people call “bearing witness        with your spirit”.  If you’ve submitted your life to God, your spirit is one with his and it will let you know “in your gut” if this is God’s voice.

3. The Fruit Test.

This one is a big one for me.  Because i struggle with being a rule follower.  Sometimes something can sound spiritual, godly even, and be the furthest thing from what God is saying.  Check out the Pharisees in the NT.  So here it is, the fruit test.  “The voice of God will be compatible with the fruit of the spirit.” ( quote taken from Graham Cooke)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-13 (HCSB)

So you know me, I kinda picture the fruit of the loom guys in their fruit suits.Fruit of the Loom

And it kinda makes me giggle, because after all dudes in fruit suits are funny.

But it reminds me that it’s a good test.

Because if God is telling me in a harsh voice that I need to confess my sins, then I know it’s probably not God.  Because one of the fruits of the Spirit is gentleness.  It’s a part of God’s character.

So even though it sounds really good.

Confessing sins is always a good thing right?

It might not be what God is saying to you in this moment. So let’s test it.

It passes the Book Test, repentance is in the Bible.  It snuck by the Gut Test, because I was too caught up in my head trying to figure it out.  But then I get stopped at the fruit test.

I remember that this voice was harsh.

One of the fruits is gentleness.

Hmmm, I don’t think this was God.

Or if i hear the voice of God say, “Trust me, everything is going to be okay,” then I test it.

1.The Book Test – yep, God continually tells us to trust him in the Bible.

2. The Gut Test – uh huh, feels right

3. The Fruit Test – Trust sounds like I should have faith in God.

Faith.  Yep.  It passes the fruit test.

So hearing the voice of God becomes a mix of science and art.  And as we get to know him better, we learn to recognize his voice more and more.

No one is perfect at this.

Promise.  We are all learning.

And God gives us grace as we practice the science and art of listening and discerning his voice.

There are a lot of competing voices out there.

But isn’t it worth it to find out if what you’re hearing has been God all along?