Our good brother Kim Costanza and Pastor Nay from Del Rey Ministries led our Thursday Night South Hills Huddle recently. We appreciated greatly Nay’s conversion story and his “all in” response to God’s calling on him as a pastor. Among the many things discussed, the necessity for us as men of God to walk in humility was chief among them. We have been reading and discussing the book “Fight” by Pastor Craig Groeschel. As you probably guessed, it is a book for men and it draws heavily on the lessons a man can learn from Samson’s life. Samson was one of the judges who led Israel before a king ruled in Israel. He was given supernatural strength by God that was entrusted to him in leading Israel against the oppression of their enemies the Philistines. His story can be found in the Book of Judges chapters 13-16.
Samson again and again chose prideful self-reliance over humility before God. He would not submit to his parents authority urging him strongly to take a wife among Israel with God’s blessing; choosing instead to drag them into his sin (Sending them to arrange his wedding into Philistine country), marrying an unbelieving Philistine woman.
He wouldn’t submit to his Nazarite vow or God’s word disobeying all 3 elements of what was required in this covenant. He was forbidden to drink wine or any strong drink yet he had a bachelor party with his Philistine friends. He was forbidden to touch any dead animal or unclean thing. He ate honey out of the dead carcass of a lion and gave it to his parents without their knowledge of it. He was forbidden to cut his hair yet he told Delilah that was the key to his strength knowing she would betray him to the Philistines. They shaved his head but he still believed his strength could not be turned away. Samson was prideful, believing he was the source of his great strength. He did not humble himself before the Lord until the end of his life when his eyes were gouged out and his only assignment was driving the millstone in a circular motion like an oxen to grind the grain. Only there did he see that the great “god of me” was on the throne in Samson’s life.
We can be very much like Samson believing our gifts (intelligence, strength, craftsmanship, athletic ability, leadership) are the byproduct of our hard work. The apostle Peter wrote, “God detests the proud but gives grace to the humble.” The NIV renders the word “opposes.” Why is God right in thinking and opposing us in this way when we are prideful? Peter was a man who learned a thing or two about humbling himself, “Humble yourself therefore under God’s mighty hand that you may be exalted at the proper time.” (1 Peter 5:5-6) The proper time for our exaltation is with Christ in the glory of heaven.
In the meantime we are to humble ourselves daily recognizing our gifting and resources all have one source in God. “For in Him we live and move and have our being.” “Every good and perfect gift comes from above coming down from the Father of heavenly lights who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17) Humility will flow if our heart confession is that we contributed nothing to our salvation. “For you are saved by grace through faith-and this is not
from yourselves, it is the gift of God..” (Ephesians 2:8-9) “The free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23
If we are to humble ourselves before God daily here are a few helps that I am learning from my
godly brothers like Kim, Pastor Nay and Tunch:
1. Stay Gospel-centered. In my devotional time with Jesus I will meditate on his cross where his mercy flows to me. He has won my salvation through the cross and resurrection. My performance counts for nothing. Christ alone is my righteousness. The cross is the power of God to us who are being saved.
2. Stay Other-centered. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3) My flesh nature tells me everyday, “You are the most important person in the world. Serve yourself. Promote yourself. Follow your desires.” The Spirit tells me, “speak and act towards every person you contact today that shows them you believe they are greater than you.” This is seen in making a priority of serving the poor for we will experience Christ there and see our own poverty.
3. Stay Judgment-centered. There is a coming judgment for the people of God. A day is coming where the quality of our faithfulness to what God has entrusted to us in the gospel will be judged. It is called the judgment seat of Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10-15) and it is for God’s people. It is not a judgment that will result in eternal separation from God like the Great White Throne judgment described in Revelation. The quality of our work will be tested with fire. “..his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.” We don’t want to be humbled and disciplined by God like Samson who had to be blinded and humiliated by God’s enemies before he turned to his Sovereign Lord.
Leo Wisniewski is the Executive Director for Locking Arms Men. He can be reached by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information see: www.lockingarmsmen.org