The drawing power of humility
"Before his downfall a man's heart is proud, but humility comes before honor" (v.12)
In 1 Peter 3:15 we read: "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you ... But do this with gentleness and respect." Real Christian witness always has a gracious gentleness about it which is far more effective than the aggressive approach which tries to ram the Gospel down people's throats. As someone has put it: "To win some you must be winsome."A final text we explore is James 3:13 -- "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom." The real ornament of life which is precious in the sight of God is a meek and quiet spirit. Those who think they are not gifted by temperament to relate to people in this way need not despair. The Spirit who dwells in you will, if you allow Him, transform your temperament into the image of Christ.
Paul's spiritual progress may be measured by the fact that in 1 Corinthians 15:9
, he says: "I am the least of the apostles," and writing later to the Ephesians (3:8), he says he is less than the least -- not now of the apostles -- but "of all God's people." Still later, when writing to Timothy (1 Tim. 1:15
), he says that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners -- "of whom I am the worst." Oh, the wonder of humility. God said through Isaiah: "I dwell ... with him who has a contrite and humble spirit" (57:15, NKJV). James said, "God resists the proud" -- He repels their advances. The haughty He knows only from afar: it is the humble whom the Almighty respects.
Lord Jesus, I can have too much of many things but I cannot have too much of You. I cannot be too much like You or have too much of Your Spirit. Fill me to overflowing so that I become more and more like You. Amen.
For Further Study
1. What was Jesus teaching in this parable?
2. What was the message to the Laodiceans?