“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.”
–James 4:10 (NLT)
Have you ever thought how dependant we’ve become on passwords? I have, and it’s not a new revelation that there are passwords for everything. But have
you ever thought about God having passwords? He does, and I would like to share one with you.
I want to say this before going on. Like keys, passwords are great until you lose them. So let’s talk about keys first.
Here’s a question that might make what I am saying more clear. Have you ever locked yourself out of your house? I did once, and it was no fun.
This happened to occur on a holiday, and the locksmith charged time-and-a-half. But what was I going to do? I couldn’t camp outside. So, gritting my teeth, I made the fatal call (fatal to my bank account, that is). Then I waited for what seemed like an eternity.
Five minutes later I was $200 poorer, but at least I was inside. I was so glad I didn’t have to sleep outdoors that night.
Apparently, I didn’t learn from that experience. Years later, I had a similar problem, and it was all about passwords.
I was doing my hospital chaplaincy, making my rounds and visiting patients. Then one day–horror of horrors–my employee password wouldn’t work. I was getting my patients’ names by email, and without that password I was unable to do my job.
I’d decided to do what I do best–procrastinate. This worked for a while, but I realized one day that the hospital had changed my password. Since I had lost my ability to get into the system, I called a friend who I thought might be able to help me out. Naturally she couldn’t help, so I had to call a technician who finally got me up and running again.
All that calling took about two hours, but I realized I had no one to blame but myself. I knew the hospital changed its employees’ passwords every 3 months for security reasons, but I had still decided to wait until I absolutely had to act.
In both instances, I found that being locked out lent itself to a change in perspective. I felt both chagrined and humbled about my keys and the password, because in each case I had been negligent. I would have never been locked out in either situation if I had taken the appropriate steps.
Jesus tells us what the first step is, and how our perspective needs to change. Not surprisingly, He spoke about humility, but if we are honest, most of us are like I once was, and we don’t follow Him like we should.
It is a sad truth that many people see themselves as being locked out of God’s kingdom, when they don’t have to see it that way. Instead of keys or passwords, they try using a combination of rules and good deeds to open what they believe is a locked door.
If you are one of those people, my friend, I have great news. The door is easily opened! But instead of trying to force the lock, you only need the correct password to the kingdom.
In the verse we will look at today, Jesus tells us what the first step is. But it is also a stepping stone to everything else He talks about.
Jesus says, “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” In that sentence, Jesus makes it clear what His password to the kingdom is, and that is–you guessed it–humility. But although humility is often talked about, it is greatly misunderstood.
So whether you have been a follower of Christ for years or you are a new believer, this applies to you and me. Humility does not mean putting yourself down in a self-deprecating manner, but rather lifting others up through biblical encouragement and prayer.
But before you can offer that gift to anyone else, it must become real in your own life. Let God lift you up today, and learn to find security in God’s love. Just as you would cultivate a tree, let your soul be nourished in the soil of God’s Word and prayer.
It is a misconception that Jesus came only to lift us up when we were in sin. His Holy Spirit wants to encourage us along life’s way.
In order to receive His help, however, we must first bow down before His throne, and that is why humility is so important. The question He is asking all of us is, “Will you do this?” But the problem for most of us is that our pride gets in the way.
As for me, it took years to learn to bow down to Him, rather than bowing to the altar of self. Each day was a new challenge, but I had become too sophisticated in my faith. I guess I thought that everything hinged on my efforts.
Based on my own life, I believe that Jesus continually says something else to each of us through His Word: “You’re making this walk with Me much too hard. Yes, the life of obedience can be difficult, but My yoke is easy to bear. I am calling you to a simplicity that very few obtain, because they find the wisdom and accolades of man more appealing. But this doesn’t have to be the case.”
You can find out, as I did, that by using the password of humility today, life’s burdens can fall from your shoulders. If you continually call on Him, you will find that His door opens easily.
He also tells us elsewhere in scripture that it is His will for all of us to walk through that open door and delight in the love which He offers, just as a child is secure in the fact of his parents’ love. The first step to this security is learning to abide in God’s love. He wants to speak to your heart in words like these:
“You only love Me, because I first loved you. Cry out to Me for mercy, and watch as I work. Let Me take you places you have never dreamed, for I can lift you up to new heights. Then, when the road gets hard, let Me walk beside you.”
So whether you have just met Christ, or you are a long-time follower of His, the call is the same. He would encourage you to take up your cross and follow Him by saying no to the fleshly appetites that we all share, and saying yes to His will for your life. God’s will is not mysterious. Often, instead of showing us the entire picture, He just wants us to surrender to Him one step at a time.
Although the race might be difficult, I encourage you to be faithful. It will be more than worth it when you crosss the finish line, and you heear Him say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Tuesday night Bible study. These studies are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 5:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 313-209-8800. Our PIN is 8699032. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.