If you wait for God to humble you, then you will ineffectually wait till the grave calls you. The Bible tells us to humble ourselves, not to sit on our thumbs waiting for God to do it for us.
Humility is a choice of the wise, it is laying down your arms, your intellect and wisdom. It is a choice to lay down your strengths. Humility is best found in perspective, by comparing your understanding to all that could be understood, by reflecting on the times where God was right and you were wrong. It’s best achieved by recognizing when your own conclusions fell short.
Regeneration does not precede faith. For biblically, the standard by which we ought to live, faith precedes all things.
Faith precedes regeneration.
Faith precedes wisdom and understanding.
Faith precedes healings and spiritual gifts.
Faith precedes salvation.
Faith that God is greater and wiser than we could ever be, facilitates humility.
“Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.” (Daniel 10:12)
Interesting, isn’t it? That when Daniel set his heart towards understanding, in that moment came Humility. Daniel consciously decided that his understanding was surpassable, that it was not limited by the peak of all understanding. This developed in Daniel, humility.
“Well I’m not one of the major prophets,” and you’re most likely correct about that.. but say that over again. “I’m not one of the major prophets.” Were they not led to an understanding of things to come? If you are not one of them, then you confess inadvertently that your understanding is lacking.
And this is a major first step in humbling ourselves!
So you’re not a major prophet, but you are the church. The apostle Peter says this to the Church, in 1 Peter 5:6, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,”
Humble.. YOURself. You. Stop waiting on God to humble you, and certainly don’t wait for a major life event to humble you. If you walk in pride, then the major event in your life that you’re expecting to humble you, will only break you.
Now, this isn’t to be confused with requesting humility from the Lord. The main objective here isn’t to say that God won’t humble you, but he generally humbles those who plead with him for humility, and they plead with him because they’re so wrapped up in themselves to even know where to start.
The main objective here is to correct some of the theology going around about regeneration, and the misconceptions surrounding, “the Elect.”
I want to emphasize the word, “regeneration.” Calvinists will immediately know what I’m talking about, but for those who aren’t sure, regeneration is (essentially) the process in which your heart of stone is made new into a heart of flesh. Which I’ve gone over before in a recent post a few weeks back.
A lot of renown theologians are teaching. That regeneration leads to faith, but the scriptures tell us the opposite when a major, key, component is factored in… “Humility.”
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
I like the keyword there, “if.” I’ve heard a lot of the ‘sinless perfection’ crowd emphasize it when looking at 1 John 2:1. Applying a parallel form of logic, we properly determine a philosophical factor of “choice,” is involved.
I think it’s fair to say that “Rivalry,” is rooted into human nature. Even when we are made new by the spirit, what we once rivaled against (fleshly things), are no longer.. and our new rival becomes demonic things, and the fowl nature within us. Yet, during this transformation, we notice that Gods creation on earth no longer becomes our enemy, and we have to be at war with ourselves to ensure they don’t become an enemy again.
This is why Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
We, as humans, have a really hard time counting others as more significant that ourselves. It’s contrary to the very fabric woven into our flesh. We aren’t told to sit patiently and wait for God to cause us to consider others more significant than ourselves, we are told to put the axe to the grindstone, and deny our desires.. and to endure through the discomfort of serving others, rather than being served.
If I haven’t lost you by now, you might just be sticking around to throw your stones at me..
“Nathan, you sound like you’re affirming Free Will..”
That’s because I am.
I’m not as outspoken on this issue as I want to be, but I highly rebuke modern Calvinism. Although I want to be abrasive, lacking in integrity, and just make a post that says, “Calvinism is just Christianity for the arrogant,” I know that this isn’t the method of which God has equipped me to combat these sardonic theologies surrounding salvation and the scriptures.
And I don’t say that lightly. Certainly it would perfectly combat phrases such as “Calvinism is just another word for biblical Christianity,” right at their level. People certainly prefer the “short and sweet,” teachings rather than lengthy ones such as this. However, it would contradict every word I am saying to you now. Furthermore, it would misrepresent how I feel about Calvinists.
Error or perfection, humble or arrogant, I love Calvinists. Sincerely, I do. Which is why I have to make the choice to not make such statements, that while I feel they are true, are only divisive and cause me to become as guilty as I claim they are.
Do you hear what I’m saying here? Beloved, I’m giving myself as an example, whilst simultaneously addressing the very system which perpetuates these erroneous understandings of things like faith, regeneration, and humility, which are all relevant to this post.
Faith inspires humility, and humility inspires regeneration. Saying that people take part in humility does not take away from Gods roll in salvation, as the counterpart would have you believe. The whole premise which they come from is that “Salvation is 100% the work of God,” and nobody is going to argue that.. nobody is saying that people have to do 5% of the work by humbling themselves, and that God takes on the other 95% of your salvation.
Because even in our humility we are not worthy of salvation! Yet that’s the beauty of it! Yet that’s the very thing that gives God glory! That when we come before him proclaiming that even our righteousness is like filthy rags, that he accepts us anyways.. that he accepts the fact we have fallen short, simply for admitting that we have fallen short.
Love isn’t love when God has to arrange circumstances which cause us to pursue him, the very essence of Love requires a consistent, constant, choice. It requires a series of choices, which is why we are told time and time again to humble ourselves. The apostles nearly beat the church with constant reminders to pause and humble themselves, rather than tell them to expect humility to come naturally.
Because humility, and love in its fullness, is all but natural. While we desire these things to root themselves in us, the decaying nature of rebellion in us pushes back against these seeds as they make an attempt to sprout. The allegorical depiction of this is a grim reality we must face.
Gods Grace is sufficient, and while we will likely spend our lifetime working towards humbling ourselves further and further, we will never achieve the level of humility required by God to be perfect. Even if we did, our past sins before our efforts were made would be enough to hold us accountable as we stand before the Lord.
This is why the scriptures tell us, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,” (Ephesians 2:8). It is also why we are told, “Faith without works is dead.” (James 2:26).
These verses are not contrary, they are screaming at you to not sit back and expect God to do it for you, and they are drawn together in completion in Hebrews 12:1, where it says, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”
Let us ,make the choice, to lay aside every weight, though we are surrounded by wickedness. Let us endure (deal with the pain, of) pushing against the nature of our flesh. “Run the race,” means keep pushing even when your lungs feel as though they are ready to collapse.
How we could feel as though God will make us do it is remarkably foolish, and is this not a whisper of Satan? “Just sit and wait, don’t move. It will all be done for you!”
If this is what you choose, then you will wait for humility until it’s too late.
Saying we must choose to be humble doesn’t take away from the sovereignty of God.. it’s the act of submitting to the sovereignty of God.