Grace & Humility – Day 29

Romans 12:3a – “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought,…”

I have been blessed beyond measure, especially when it comes to spiritual matters. Both my parents were strong Christians, and both sets of grandparents were believers as well. I grew up in a solid home that was built on the foundation of Christ, and at the age of three my mother led me to the Lord. Growing up, I was fortunate to have wonderful pastors, teachers, and youth leaders that poured into me and allowed me to question and explore the truth about Christianity. And even after a period of walking away from my faith, God drew me back and allowed me to build an even deeper relationship with him.

I give you all this background because even though I have been very privileged, that doesn’t mean that I always get things right. To be perfectly honest, I get things wrong most of the time. Having been a Christian most of my life, I often take things for granted…things that should never be taken for granted like God’s grace, mercy, and love. His forgiveness is something I’ve had since I was a child and so the weightiness of what He did for me sometimes fades in magnitude. Over time, I begin to see myself “more highly” than I ought with the mindset that I have somehow attained these things on my own.

When I read the Bible, a lot of times I tend to identify with the wrong person in the story. In the parable of the prodigal son, I have always sided with the older brother. For some reason it took me a long time to realize that Jesus was talking to the Pharisees when He told this parable. They had seen Him with tax collectors and sinners and began grumbling about the company He was keeping. This parable was Jesus’s response to them. The older brother is a mirror image of the Pharisees. The brother has served his father faithfully but with the wrong motives. The Pharisees have kept the letter of the law but have done so out of pride rather than submission to God.

Jesus ends the parable with the father speaking to the older brother. “And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’” (Luke 15:31,32) And that’s where Jesus leaves it. It is then up to the Pharisees to decide how they react to the “younger brother” (the sinners and tax collectors).

This was (and is) such a huge point of conviction for me. How many times had I looked down on someone or felt that I was worthier because I have always “been with Him.” I have been blessed to have not known a time without Christ, and yet I have sometimes turned that into pride rather than being cognizant that I had absolutely nothing to do with the grace He’s bestowed on me.

My attitude should not be one of pride but should be like Philippians 2:5-8: “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Wow…. Now that takes me down a peg or two. The God of the universe had so much humility that He became a servant to others. He squeezed Himself into our tiny, mortal form. Not only that, but He did so with the knowledge that He was doing it to sacrifice Himself for us: the pride-ridden race that had rejected Him in the first place. This should never get old for me or become commonplace – that my Savior did this for all sinners, including me. Because I am His follower, my attitude should reflect His.
– Deb Trojak