humility and discipleship

crown of thorns

One quality that really impresses God (and it’s not a very long list) is humility.  Humility is one of those things that just when you think that you’ve got it, you don’t.  And it’s one of those qualities of Jesus that is most evidenced in the lives of those who are genuinely seeking to imitate Him.

Jesus is fully God.  He steps into the world as Immanuel “God with us” (Matthew 1:23).  In Colossians the Apostle Paul is writing to address issues that have arisen in the church in which some are questioning the deity of Christ.  He affirms, “God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him (Christ), and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things” (Colossians 1:19-20a).

And yet he “emptied Himself” and became “obedient to death, even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:7-8).  And for this reason we are called to have the very same attitude and mindset as that of Christ Jesus (v5).

Jesus always goes about being “God with us” from a position of humility.  It’s never a power play with Jesus.  The only One who actually has the right to demand everything from a position of power because of who He is, comes to serve and comes to show us what true love and humility look like.

Too often we’re not enough like Jesus.  We manipulate.  We force.  We coerce.  That’s not Jesus….

Jesus’ call upon our lives is if we want to be His disciples we must first deny ourselves.  And I believe humility plays a crucial role.

Jesus never forces Himself on anyone.  “Do you want to be my disciple?  Take up your cross and follow me,” He says.  “Do you want to come and learn and share and be a part of the bigger picture and the things that I am about in the Kingdom?  Good.  Follow me.”  Discipleship is a choice.  Following Jesus is a choice.  And humility is a choice.

When you are full of yourself, God cannot fill you.  Only when we empty ourselves can our God fill us.  Only when we empty ourselves of all pride and all arrogance and all selfishness… only when we “humble ourselves before the Lord” can He then lift us up (James 4:10).

Jesus begins the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the poor in Spirit… (Matthew 5:3).”

Maybe that’s a good place for us to start as well.

Glory to God!

Jason

mason

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Happy birthday to our oldest son Mason!

Mason, as your father, I am so very proud of who you are.

You excel in whatever you set your mind to.

Your spirit and heart are strong and faithful.

Insight and compassion are evident in everything you are about.

Thank you for loving God and loving life.

Thank you for being you!

I hope you have a fantastic day.

Love, Dad

“A father has no greater joy than to know his children are walking in the truth” (3 John 4).

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My beautiful bride and beautiful firstborn son….

a bit of a sabbath rest

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I’ve been away from the blogosphere quite a lot lately (as if you haven’t noticed). With our move to Rockwall (which has been a house of healing for us), the busyness of family (everyone is doing fantastic!), the commitment of ministry (God is alive here!), and working on my next book (see the “my book(s)” tab above), I simply haven’t had the capacity to invest much time in this space. My plan is to take a bit of a sabbatical, post a “top five” in December of the books that I’ve read this year, and then reboot in January. “Talk” to you soon. God is faithful.

Glory to God!

Jason

sticks and stones

Beach Rocks“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

That old adage may bring some comfort to a little boy who has just gotten his feelings hurt at school, but it doesn’t hold a whole lot of water in the real world does it?

Words are powerful.  They are powerful.  And among all of God’s created, human beings are the only ones who communicate with words.

Trevor Hudson articulates well, “Our words, whether spoken or written, enable us to reveal or hide ourselves, to build or to break community, to help or to hurt our neighbor.  When used carefully, words facilitate self-disclosure, foster communion, and release healing.  When used carelessly, they create confusion, generate conflict, and cultivate chaos.  Well aware of this immense potential that inhabits our words, the writer of the Proverbs exclaims without exaggeration: ‘Death and life are in the power of our words (Proverbs 18:21).”

communicationI wonder how acutely aware you are of the power of your words?  I wonder if you are intently cognizant that enveloped within the things you say lies the power of “death and life”?

How many relationships have been devastated by the speaking of hurtful words?  How many loved ones have been injured, wounded deeply, distanced, through selfish, harsh, or uncaring words?

On the other hand, how many lives have been forever wonderfully impacted through encouraging words?  How many have been healed through the kind words of a friend?  How many believers has God empowered to accomplish great things for the Kingdom through the comforting, assuring words of a God-sent encourager?

angerThe power to speak death.  The power to speak life.

“Out of the overflow of the heart,” our Savior affirms, “the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).

And so consider the words that you speak, and the words that you have spoken.

What do your words say about your heart?

Are there any fences that need to be mended?  Or relationships that need to healed?

Glory to God!

Jason