“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
What does it mean to humble ourselves and to do it in a way that God responds too, bringing healing to our land?
Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by
agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working
together with one mind and purpose. Don’t be selfish; don’t try to
impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t
look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Philippians 2: 1-8
How do we humble ourselves?
1. We need to “cross our I’s” and “drop our me’s.”
We must apply the cross of Jesus Christ to every selfish and prideful area of our lives. If we know Jesus at all, it should cause me to know that it’s not about me – it’s about Jesus.
Anything that we could accomplish in this life, absolutely pales in comparison to what Jesus did on the cross. At the cross Jesus took all of our sin and all of the judgment for our sin and paid the complete, full penalty for it all.
Without the cross there could be no forgiveness.
God can't offer forgiveness without first serving justice. God cannot simply ignore our sin - it would be an injustice. It would leave an eternal barrier between us and God - He could never bring us close to Him with sin in the way.
Jesus on the cross , fulfilled all the justice of God by taking the full punishment for all of our sin. Now that justice is fully served by Jesus, God can forgive our sines fully, forget our sins fully. He can forget our sins eternally; nothing can hinder God from loving us freely.
But the cross is not just about forgiveness - it's also about transformation.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20
We should come to the cross not just to be forgiven, but to be transformed and changed into the image of Jesus.
We should come to the cross not just to be forgiven, but to be transformed and changed into the image of Jesus. Jesus doesn't just take our sin at the cross, but He offers us His life and His righteousness.
Paul says that “I have been crucified, it’s no longer I who live, but Christ who lives through me.” He is stating that he has in essence been “crossed” out through the cross.
The cross is the ultimate solution for all of our selfishness and pride. By faith we need to apply the cross to every area of our life and trust that it’s not about us, it’s about Jesus.
The secret to a righteous life is not trying harder, but trusting better. It’s not me working, that is still an “I”. When I’m doing it, when I’m trying, when I’m struggling—it’s still about me. I need to cross out that “I” and say, Jesus live through me.
When you find yourself asking, “what do I want?” Replace that with, “Jesus, what do You want?” When you find yourself saying, “But I need…” Cross that “I” out and say, “Jesus what needs do you want to meet through me?” When you find yourself saying, “But I deserve,” cross that “I” out and say, “What does Jesus deserve?”
Jesus deserves all the glory, honor, praise, thanksgiving, and everything in us. Jesus deserves it. If we truly start crossing out the “I” and focusing on Jesus, He will start to live powerfully through us.
Do you ever find yourself saying, “I could never forgive that person”? You could cross out that “I” and say, “Jesus, forgive that person through me.” He died for that person’s sin too and His forgiveness will flow through you and wash away all the bitterness, resentment, hatred, and anger that is only really hurting you.
Holding on to unforgiveness is the devil’s way of having you pay twice for an injury. Jesus’ love has the power to free you from all the hurt caused by other people in your life.
Instead of asking, “What’s in it for me?” Ask, “what does Jesus want to give through me today?”
2. We need to get low so that we can lift others up.
Once we come to grip with the fact that it’s not about me, but Jesus, we can start praying for opportunities for Jesus to serve others through me. This is the true meaning of humility: not thinking less of yourself, but thinking more of other people.
Being humble does not mean being a doormat. It means being a forklift! A forklift is big, solid, and capable of lifting thousands of pounds. It stands out, but its whole life is spent getting lower than everything else so it can lift the low things up higher. This is a clear illustration of humility. Humility is not weakness, but power on display for the benefit of others.
This was the attitude Jesus had. The King of Kings, all Powerful Creator of the universe, lowered Himself by coming to the earth as a servant. Yet Jesus wasn’t a doormat; He stood out everywhere He went. He was always serving, helping, teaching, feeding, and healing others. People came by the thousands because they knew they would be lifted up. Ultimately, through His death and resurrection, Jesus elevated every one who would believe in Him, all the way to heaven.
Being a forklift means using all of our strength and all of our resources to get low, so that we can lift others higher.
Are you a lifter or a leaner?
Lifters and Leaners
A poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
There are just two kinds of people on earth today,
Just two kinds of people, no more, I say.
Not the rich and the poor, for to count a man’s wealth
You must first know the state of his conscience and health.
Not the humble and proud, for, in life’s little span,
The one who puts on airs is not counted a man.
Not the happy and sad, for the swift counting years
Bring each man his laughter and each man his tears.
No, the two kinds of people on earth I mean
Are the people who lift and the people who lean.
Wherever you go you will find the world’s masses
Are always divided in just these two classes.
And oddly enough you will find, too, I ween,
There’s only one lifter to twenty who lean.
In which class are you? Are you easing the load
Of overtaxed lifters who toil down the road?
Or are you a leaner who lets others bear
Your portion of labour and worry and care?
Pastor George’s challenge to us is to be a congregation of lifters. Let’s “cross out our I’s” and “drop our "Me’s” and get lower so we can elevate as many people in our community as we can up to heaven.
What does being a lifter look like?
- Taking time to spend with a friend who’s going through a difficult time
- A husband doing the dishes after dinner and putting the kids to bed so that his wife can have a break
- A seasoned mom coming alongside a new mom to encourage her through the early years
- Staying late at work to help a coworker finish a project
- Helping a fellow student study for a final exam
- Giving hard-earned money to support God’s work in the church
- Serving on Sundays instead of just attending service
- Bringing fresh-baked cookies to the fire department
- Bringing flowers to someone who’s sick
- Texting someone you know is struggling
- Offering to babysit for a young couple so they can go on a date
- Paying for a stranger’s coffee at Starbucks
- Leaving an extra big tip for a struggling waitress
We’ve put together a 6-day “forklift” challenge, a set of 6 short devotions to help focus you this week on being a lifter. Text the word “forklift” to 59769 and you will receive a link to sign up to receive the devotions. Encourage your life group, friends, and family to participate as well!