As we look at today’s America, sometimes it’s almost impossible to recognize the country we once knew so well. Contrary to what many would have us believe, we were founded on Christian principles. Today some would call those of us living by those principles terrorists. Instead of living by God’s standards of right and wrong, people are encouraged to do their own thing. Decide for themselves what’s right for them. Our Constitution is considered outdated. Courts are ruling against Christians who make a stand for their within their own businesses. Marriage has been redefined. And on and on . . .
So what can we as Christians do? It’s easy to point fingers. At the politicians. At the ones condemning us for our faith. But God tells us to look inward first.
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 I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
“If my people.”
So who are God’s people? He was speaking to the Israelites, his chosen people. But as followers of Christ, we have been grafted in to that special group so we have become part of “my people.” We are called by his name.
And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree. (Romans 11:17)
So the Church is part of “my people.” The Church in America and each of us as individual members of that Church need to stop pointing fingers at others and start taking responsibility. God says if we will humble ourselves, seek him, repent, and turn from our wicked ways. Then he will hear us and forgive us. Then . . . and only then . . . can our land be healed.
Does that mean that we shouldn’t take a stand in the government? Put our faith into action to change things? Of course not. But getting ourselves as a body and as individuals right with God has to come first. As we do that, he will help each of us discover how we fit into his plan and he will help us follow that path. His way. His time. His strength.
In the next few blog posts, we will look at various parts of God’s command in 2 Chronicles 7:14. We quote that verse often but do we really seriously consider how those words apply to us?
How often do we forge ahead with our own plans . . . instead of seeking God and submitting to his? How often do we try things on our own and turn to him only when we have failed? And how often in working with other people do we think our way is best, maybe the only way?
What does the Bible say about being humble? Here are just a few of it’s many teachings about humility . . .
He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them his way. (Psalm 25:9)
In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. (1 Peter 5:5-6)
Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. (Proverbs 11:2)
And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor. (James 4:10)
“But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Jesus’ words in Matthew 23:12)
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. (Ephesians 4:2-3)
Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18)
I encourage you to meditate on each of these scriptures, asking God to show you any areas in your life where you are failing to show humility. And reflect on ministries where you are involved. Are you as the Church walking and serving and leading in humility?
Jesus is the ultimate example of walking in humility. Here he was, God himself, walking on earth. Just coming from heaven to earth demonstrated more humility than we can even comprehend. And then walking on earth, facing the challenges of daily living along with constant ridicule and doubt and plots against him. Then our Lord was deserted by those closest to him, viciously attacked verbally and physically by the religious leaders as well as the Romans, and ultimately crucified. He chose to suffer all this because of his love for us. A depth of humility beyond our understanding.
Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey—riding on a donkey’s colt. (Zechariah 9:9)
“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Jesus’ words in Mark 10:45)
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 2:5-8)
And yet so often we walk in pride. Grumbling and complaining when when things don’t go our way, flaring an attitude of entitlement. Thinking we know better than anyone else . . . even our Father.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves . . .”