New Hope Notes
Things We Must Do For Ourselves
Pastor Wayne Cordeiro
Last week in our “Making Mondays Count” series on Things We Must Do for Ourselves, we talked about disciplining ourselves for the purposes of godliness so that in unfortunate times, we can still pursue God’s best in our lives although we may not feel like it. Today we are continuing our teaching of Things We Must Do for Ourselves on the subject of humbling ourselves for the glory of God.
Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to think our way through things or how to position things in just the right way to make something happen that we end up paralyzed. (Some of you may know this better as “analysis paralysis.”) It’s like the story of the mouse and the centipede:
The mouse sees a centipede walking along one day and marvels at the precision and fluidity with which the centipede is moving. The mouse is so amazed by what effort it must take to coordinate the movements of all those legs that he asks the centipede, “How do you coordinate the movement of all of your legs so that you move so gracefully?” Walking had always come naturally to the centipede but now that the mouse had asked, he started to think about every step that he needed to take and which leg needed to go before what other leg in order to keep him from tripping. Well, the more the centipede tried to coordinate the movement of each and every one of his legs, the more tripped up he got.
We are sometimes like that centipede that thinks so hard about what he is trying to do that he starts to trip himself up and ends up paralyzing himself. So something that should come naturally and easily ends up very complicated and confusing and we end up not making progress towards our end.
Today we are talking about humbling ourselves under the mighty hand of God as one of the things we must do for the glory of God. At first this may seem counter-intuitive but if you consider the words of John the Baptist, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John ), it starts to make more sense. Spend some time with me today doing devotions in 1 Peter 5 using our devotional acrostic: S.O.A.P
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7).
In this passage, Peter is urging everyone to clothe themselves in humility and do our part so God can do His part. Sometimes in life we get so caught up in doing things in order to achieve certain things that we forget that God is in control and that He will make the right things happen if we are serving Him diligently. We need to recognize and accept that our purpose here on earth is to glorify our Father and that is not really done through our own achievements but rather through what He is able to achieve through us. To this end, we need to realize that either we need to humble ourselves or God is going to humble us.
Humbling yourself is discovering that the greatest joy is in serving others and doing good. This scripture urges us to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God but what observation do we also make from this passage:
True humility is not gained easily…It is gained intentionally.
It is not natural for us humans to be humble; on the contrary, we are usually trying to “achieve” and “stand out”. However, humbling yourself can help you experience real joy and…
· Hidden service is one of the best ways to build humility.
Humility is gained when we practice secret acts of service and then stand back so God can take over. When we do our part (whether publicly or secretly) and then stand back so that God can do His part, we are decreasing ourselves so He can increase. And when He does, wondrous things can happen for the Kingdom.
I remember a situation when I was in
Then a little later that morning, I had to drive home to pick up Anna for the following service and I had to drive across that mess two more times on the way home from church and then back for the following service. All the while I grumbled and complained about the thoughtless people. After the second service, when Anna and I were going home, I had to drive by that mess yet another time – four times in one morning. When I got home, I was still thinking about the mess when I felt God tell me, “Then why don’t you just go clean it up?” What? Why me? It wasn’t my mess. I didn’t do it. But again, God asked, “Then why don’t you go clean it up?”
Well, with enough prompting from God, I snuck out of the house and told Anna that I was going to go run an errand. When I got to the site, I made sure to pull my car way off on the side where it wouldn’t be seen, and I darted between the bushes and the road – when there weren’t any cars around – to pick up all the rubbish. Then the following Sunday after service, a couple approached me who I had not met before. They said, “We saw you.” At first I didn’t know what they were talking about but they said, “…last Sunday, picking up on the road…” By that time, I had completely forgotten about what happened last weekend but their comments brought it back to mind. They said, “We’ve never been to your church before but when we saw you on the road that day, we knew you would be someone who would take care of our souls.”
I’ll never forget that. From this story, you can see how hidden acts of service are a good way to build humility and how they can be redeemed for the glory of God. Hidden service: doing thing for the pure joy of serving others and sharing the joy of the Lord. Anonymous gifts. Lending a helping hand. These good deeds will hopefully in turn open those folks’ hearts to God’s Good News:
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matt )
The scripture 1 Peter 5:6-7 urges us to humble ourselves and this scripture Matt 5:16 confirms that our good works will glorify our Father. We’ve observed that it does not come easily however our humility will grow as we practice hidden acts of service so…
QUESTION…When was the last time you did an act of Hidden Service?
It’s all about doing things in such a way that God gets the credit. How we handle credit for things that we do is very telling of our character and has great impact on the results. For example, the last chapter of 1 Samuel and first chapter of 2 Samuel tell the story of how Saul committed suicide yet an Amalekite soldier tries to take credit for Saul’s death. And this is what resulted:
"So I stood over him and killed him, because I knew that after he had fallen he could not survive. And I took the crown that was on his head and the band on his arm and have brought them here to my lord… David asked him, ‘Why were you not afraid to lift your hand to destroy the LORD's anointed?’ Then David called one of his men and said, ‘Go, strike him down! So he struck him down, and he died. For David had said to him, ‘Your blood be on your own head. Your own mouth testified against you when you said, “I killed the LORD's anointed.”’" (2 Samuel 1:10, 14-16)
The Amalekite tried to steal some credit for Saul’s death to gain favor with David yet it ended up getting him killed. This is what often happens:
· CREDIT TAKEN/STOLEN IS DANGEROUS.
· CREDIT GIVEN AWAY IS
It is better to give away credit than to try to take it. Credit taken is dangerous but credit given away always comes back to you. As with hidden service, one of the best ways to build humility is to give credit away.
There is no greater joy than to give credit away and watch as God gets the glory. Try some acts of hidden service this week and watch as those good deeds are transformed into credits for the Kingdom. Attention and credit belongs to God. Let’s do our part and let God to His!
1. For the acrostic S.O.A.P., what is your prayer for this devotion?
2. What does it mean to be truly humble or to gain humility intentionally? Give examples.
3. Think about a time when you gave credit away or did a hidden service. What happened? Did you benefit (in either recognition or at least the joy that comes with giving/serving) in the end?
4. Think about a time when you have claimed credit for something that wasn’t really yours. What happened? Did you get what you were expecting?
5. What does it mean for you to do your part and let God do His? Give an example of how you plan to live that out.