Sunday, March 9, 2008

Humility- Part 3

Beyond Daily Routines
Now, I'm starting to sweat under the magnitude of my internal fixation! I am so disgusted with my selfishness and pride! It is my first and often only response!

Ok, the other parts of the book were overwhelming enough.This next chapter had both heavy and light recommendations in it. It focuses a lot on study of doctrine in order to see clearly who God is and in turn, who I am. Normally, this would have overwhelmed me because I am not a "deep, intellectual" thinker (although Melanie is dragging me into higher level thinking! LOL!)

Thankfully, several years ago I was blessed to have a formal time of mentoring with Sherry McCurley and we studied doctrine for a while. I didn't realize how much it helped until I read the chapter and I actually UNDERSTOOD all the big words like omniscient and justification and perseverance. I would really recommend that you would take the time to have a basic understanding of reformed doctrine. It helps to be able to evaluate false and heretical teachings that are permeating the evangelical church these days.

Part 1
1. Study the Attributes of God
-more specifically the "incommunicable" attributes of God. I had no idea what that meant so I'm glad he defined it a bit! They are the attributes God doesn't share with us. For examble: God is infinite, omnipresent, self-existent, and self-efficient)
- As I study all God is (and also all we are not!) we become increasingly aware of the distance between ourselves and God, and in turn, more fully appreciate humility
- Psalm 139:6
-Read Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology or the abridged version called Bible Doctrine

2. Study the doctrines of Grace
- (such as election, calling, justification, perseverance)
-They leave no room for self-congratulation or self- glorification
-Election- God planned my salvation so I can't boast that I've done anything
-Calling- God called me. Our calling on Him was preceeded and made possible by His calling us.
-Justification- I am declared righteous based on the perfect performance of Jesus
-Perseverance- I will persevere in my faith until death not due to my own strength but because Jesus is holding me tightly in His hands and promises not to let go (What's the verse about "He will not lose any of His chosen?) I was acutely aware of this during my miscarriage. God didn't allow me to succumb to despair even when I wanted to. I've never felt His "holding" in such a real way before. I can't even explain it other than to say it was like I was placed in a "force field" and even though the arrows of doubt and despair were being shot at me He was warding them off FOR me. I did absolutely nothing. I couldn't and He knew that and stood in my stead for me during that time of weakness. It was so real that I could almost reach out and touch it.
-Read Saved by Grace by Anthony Hoekema

3. Study the Doctrines of Sin
- Read John Owen's Sin and Temptation
-Read The Enemy Within by Kris Lundgard. I read this last year and I'd have to place this in my top 10 "Life-changing Books" category. I had never understood ways of the flesh, the devil and the world. And, as any soldier knows, you need to understand the enemy's tactics in order to effectively fight and defeat them. This book teaches you the tactics of our three enemies!
-Study them to know how to guard against being "hardened by the deceitfulness of sin" (Heb. 3:13)
- When we're hardened by sin, grace is no longer amazing.
- This section had so much good stuff in it that I'd have to just rewrite it all here in order to say it so well. Just read the book instead!

Part 2
Knowledge of these is not enough, though.
Application of truth and obedience is the only way we will be liberated from the power from the sin of pride.

Part 3
Unique Suggestions!
1. Play golf- In CJ's opinion, you'll get much experience with handling other people laughing at you!
2. Laugh often and laugh often at yourself!
I liked this quote by Lindvall, "A proud man cannot laugh because he must watch his dignity... A poor and happy man laughs heartily because he gives no serious attention to his ego."

Humility- Part 2

Glorifying God at the End of the Day

The end of the day gives me an opportunity to cultivate humilty, weaken pride, and sense God's pleasure.

1. Avoiding Cosmic Plagiarism
- Plagiarism- taking another person's words or ideas and calling them your own
- Take the time each night to transfer all glory to God for any blessings
- Ascribe glory to no man- me included!
-Deflect other people's praise off me to him throughout the day
2. Biblical Sleep
- View it as a gift from God
- Those who neglect this gift will inevitably suffer consequences
- Sleep reminds me of my dependence on Him
- sleep is an act of faith. I have to trust that He is my sustainer

I find that I am so tired at the end of the day that I just want to sleep. Yet, I want to do all for the Glory of God too, so it seems I need to "renew my mind" on the topic of sleep. I need to go to bed at a decent hour in order for me to have time to ruminate on all the ways I can ascribe glory to God from throughout the day. And, so that I can get up early enough to have time with the Lord in a mentally coherent manner. Oh, how my laziness gets the best of me!

I really like his comments on deflecting other people's praise to me toward God. I seem to always forget to do this, and instead of being a witness to others, I greedily or unconsciously take the praise for myself. In a sense, plagiarising!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Humility- Part 1

This year I have been overwhelmingly convicted about humility. So since God has placed this in my heart I decided to spend this year slowly reading, studying, praying and, hopefully, practicing humility.
In an effort to connect with Caitlin, I read Carolyn Mahaney's excellent book Girl Talk. In there she mentions that even if I totally mess up stuff as a mom, if I show humility by confessing my failures to my daughter and to God quickly, I will do great things for our relationship. So I'm holding on to that fact and getting serious about pride in my heart.

I am starting by reading CJ Mahaney's book called Humility, True Greatness. So far it is excellent. The first part of the book is full of explanation of what humility is and is not. But now in the latter part of the book he is speaking of practical ways to combat pride and grow in humility. So I am going to post a series of my study notes here so I can refer to them.

Humility workout for the AM
1. Preach the gospel to myself each morning
- "How can anyone be arrogant when he stands beside the cross?" Don Carson
- I had read Jerry Bridges' books where he focuses on "how" to do this so I feel like I already have an understanding of this. I now just need to remember to "DO" it!
2. Begin my day by acknowledging my dependence on God, my need for God and my confidence in God.
- Be on the offensive with the battle of my flesh
- speak truth to myself instead of listening to the lies of my flesh
3. Begin my day by expressing gratefulness to God
-How alert and perceptive of God's mercies am I? Of His provision, presence, kindness, grace?
4. Practice spiritual disciplines
- Prayer
-Study of God's Word
5. Seize my commute (or in my case, mundane moments or down time) to memorize and meditate on scripture.
- don't waste my time
-When and where can I implement this? I don't feel like I have much down time. I need to be constantly looking for this!
6.Cast my cares on Him
-The humble are generally care free
-When I experience anxiety, the root issue is that I'm trying to be self sufficient and independent of God
- By casting my cares on Him I am acknowledging my need for Him to transform me
-Don't expect my hour devotion time in the morning to sustain me throughout the day. My pride gets in the way and resists Him
-Reflect on the fact that all my "cares" are provided by God for the sole purpose of cultivating humility in me and dependence on Him. So don't be surprised when they come!