May 26, 2010
In my previous post on excellence, I focused on its precursor, humility. I’m not done yet, so here are a few more thoughts. A Christian without humility is an anomaly. The gospel of Jesus Christ declares that, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV) An authentic encounter with the gospel of grace produces humility. It turns a proud and religious Saul into a humble and grace-filled Paul who can say, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV) As a worshipper of God, and especially one who seeks to help others to worship him, I cannot be successful without a growing sense of humility. The reason why not, is the very task before me. C.J. Mahaney in his book, Humility, defines it like this. “Humility is honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness.” A primary task for worship leaders then is to shed light on God’s holiness, exalting him above all. He is wholly perfect – his character, his purposes, his promises and even his judgments. If we’re doing our job well, leading people to encounter and worship our holy God, there should be an increase in our resulting confession of sin, repentance, and embracing of the grace and forgiveness offered to us through faith in Christ. There should also be an increase in joy- filled celebration, with an overflow of thanksgiving. We should wholeheartedly offer our love and our very selves up to God, for what other response is worthy of what God has given us? These other expressions of worship flow out of seeing God for who He is and embracing what he offers through the gospel, that is, through Jesus Christ. They are expressions of the humble.
Sometimes I wonder how often God is opposed to us in our worship services. The Scriptures state it simply. “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5 NIV) We may come longing to meet with God, spiritually bankrupt, seeking God’s blessings and answers to prayer. But God might be saying to us, “When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen.” (Isaiah 1:15 NIV) But God also offers this invitation, the solution for those of us who refuse to acknowledge and repent of our sins:
“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18 NIV)
The posture of repentance is humbling but so is the receiving of forgiveness through God’s amazing grace. Humility is not something we produce in ourselves. Instead, it is something that God produces in us as we place our faith in who he is and in what he has done for us through Christ (the gospel). There are so many elements we could include in our worship services at Trinity, but I want to always maintain a strong emphasis on God’s holiness and the gospel of grace offered through Jesus Christ. That is what produces humility. A humble people are a beautiful people and that’s what I want to become personally and as a community of believers at Trinity. Father, please do that work in us as we worship together on Sunday mornings. Amen.