The changing of an outside light bulb on one of our buildings should have taken a few minutes. However after living several years in Africa, I have learned it is likely to take much longer then you think.
True to form I was still working on this an hour later as rusted bolts caused a simple task to elevate my blood pressure. I was just about finished, when the stool I was standing on gave way and I landed with a thump in the garden.
The fall caused my calf to cramp, and well…there I was in the midst of ground covering and pulling back on my foot to ease the pain. Just then two men washing upper windows on our property walked by with a shocked look on their face. I tried to explain I wasn’t doing yoga but had fallen. They nodded and started speaking in their native language and I’m sure they had a hardy laugh afterwards and a great story to share with their friends.
Throughout my life I have encountered seasons, where I’ve found myself in the course of “Advanced Studies in Humility.” Just when I thought I passed the course and all is well I’m introduced to another level, perhaps to remind me what humility looks like or to show me how much more I need to comprehend.
Living in South Africa over the last 4 years I’ve been enrolled in this class for free of charge. I could give you a long list of why I think this-but you would probably stop reading and it doesn’t really matter. Even though this “Advanced Studies in Humility” has been tough-I wouldn’t trade it because of the fruitful blessings.
When walking through the valley of humiliation you read and meditate on Scripture with a deeper sensitivity and through a different lens. Your heart is raw. Your heart is open. Your heart is searching out truths. You desire to be taught. You desire transformation in the midst of these humble occurrences.
All throughout the Bible the topic of humility is addressed. Author Jerry Bridges states; “The character trait of humility is the second-most taught trait in the New Testament, second only to love.”
Case in point the season of Advent. At the very core of the birth of Christ is humility. God coming to earth with no pomp, no circumstance, born in a cave for sheep to a poor teenage girl viewed with suspicion because of her unforeseen pregnancy. Everything about His birth shouts humility!
Then, Paul challenges Christ’s followers to the mindset of humility:
“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus; Who being in very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness. And being found in the appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death even death on a cross! (Phil. 2:5-8)
This text highlights the need to be emptied of self in order to serve as Christ did. I have found during my seasons in the “School of Humility” the Spirit calls me to die to something. Whether that be my pride, sin, dreams, reputation, control, ministry, relationships, etc. so Christ can be formed in new and deeper ways in my heart. And the more Tim is moved out and Christ takes over the more of Heavens gifts are realized and enjoyed.
During this advent season may you ponder the gift of humility as seen in Christ’s first coming and how seasons of humility help form us more into His image.
Oh and I almost forgot: Had I taken my wife’s advice and used a ladder, I wouldn’t have ended up on my back in the dirt!!!! Still learning (smile).