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<< Encouragement for Today

Encouragement 09-20-04

  • 2004 Sep 01
  • COMMENTS

 

September 20, 2004
Encouragement for Today

The Secret of Worship
Mary Southerland, Director of Development, Speaker, Author

Devotion:

Tom Brokaw tells this story about humility: He was wandering through Bloomingdale's one day shortly after being promoted to co-host on the Today Show.  He had worked many years in Omaha as well as Washington and Los Angeles. He was feeling good about himself and was enjoying his well-deserved fame when he noticed a man watching him closely. The man kept staring, finally approaching him.

Brokaw was prepared to sign an autograph, enjoying his new celebrity status.  The man pointed at him and said, "Tom Brokaw, right?"  "Right!" said Brokaw. "You used to do the morning news on KMTV in Omaha, right?" Brokaw smiled and said, "That's right!" Tom Brokaw prepared himself to receive the praise that he felt he had earned and deserved.  "I knew it the minute I spotted you!" the man said. Then he paused and added, "Whatever happened to you?"

Pride will constantly set us up for failure in every area of life.  This is especially true when it comes to worship.  If we truly want to worship God, we must come to Him with a humble spirit. In Luke 7, we find a woman who came to Jesus with a humble heart, wanting nothing more than to worship Him.

Simon, a Pharisee, opened his home to Jesus and anyone who wanted to hear Him teach. Among the crowd that day was a woman whose sin was well known and widely condemned. Kneeling at the feet of Jesus, she washed them with perfume and dried them with her hair.  The crowd was stunned.  "When the Pharisee (Simon) who had invited him (Jesus) saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is - that she is a sinner."  (Luke 7:39)

Even though the woman came in humility, Simon was embarrassed - for himself and for his guests.  He had invited Jesus to his home because he claimed to be a prophet.  Now it seemed that Jesus was little more than a fraud!  After all, He was allowing a sinner to touch Him.  The Pharisees believed that if a sinner touched you - you were unclean. 

Simon's real problem was blind arrogance.  He could not really see himself or the woman - and he certainly could not see who Jesus really was.  It was easy for Simon to say that she was a sinner but it was impossible for Simon to say that he had sinned.  Therefore, it was also impossible for Simon to experience forgiveness personally.  His pride would not allow Him to come to God just like he was.  If we cannot come just as we are, we might as well not come because humility is a prerequisite for forgiveness and forgiveness is part of worship.  We will never experience forgiveness if we refuse to humble ourselves before a holy God.  We will never worship Him unless we come in total submission - just as this woman came.  I love the old hymn that says it so well:

"Just as I am without one plea
But that Thy blood was shed for me. 
And that Thou bidst me come to Thee
O Lamb of God, I come, I come." (Broadman Hymnal)

The Father waits, longing for us to reach the end of ourselves, the end of our useless pride and come to Him - just as we are.  When we lay it all down and come honestly before Him, I am convinced He pumps His fist into the realms of heaven and shouts a victorious, "Yes!" 

Humility is an important spiritual discipline.  Psalm 25:9 says that "He leads the humble in what is right, teaching them his way."  (NLT)  In this verse, "right" literally means "prescription" or "formula" and "way" literally means "the journey of life". In other words, when we come to God with a humble spirit we will worship Him.  It is in worship that we discover the prescription for life, the formula or plan for our journey.  Worship is not a single experience. Worship is living every moment of every day unto Him. 

Jesus is the greatest illustration of true humility.  He came to earth, leaving heaven, becoming man in order to provide a way for us to experience God and all that He offers. "So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us." John 1:14 (NLT) Jesus is God, spelling Himself out in a language that man can understand. And that message is written with humility.  If we refuse to humble ourselves, God will help us because He longs for us to worship Him. To experience the power of worship we must come in humility.           
                   

Application steps:

Right now, honestly look for and recognize the pride in your heart and soul.

Understand that pride goes against everything that God wants to do in your life.

Choose to crucify that pride.

Ask God to arrange the circumstances of your life that you might know true humility.


Reflection points:

Do you consider pride dangerous?  Why or why not?

What does it mean to "crucify" pride?  Read Galatians 2:20 and meditate on this truth.

In the past, what has been my honest opinion of a humble person?  How does this lesson change that perspective?


Power verses:

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.  James 4:7 (NLT)

The reward of humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, honor and life.  Proverbs 22:4 (NASB)

Haughtiness goes before destruction; humility precedes honor.  Proverbs 18:12 (NLT)


Additional resources:

Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God by Sharon Jaynes
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/womanlistens.html

Journey of a Woman's Heart by Renee Swope
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/journey.html

P31 Woman Magazine
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/p31woman.html

 

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