Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Humility - In a Nutshell

I'm thrilled that one of my fellow writers has written a thought provoking devotional for me to share. Please welcome Pat Dyer.

In A Dozen Apologies, once Mara accepts Jesus Christ as Lord of her life, she begins to learn about humility. It can be a hard pill to swallow. 

The Macmillan Dictionary defines humility as a behavior that shows you are not proud and not thinking that you are better than other people. Synonyms for humility are modesty, unassuming, undemanding, unpretentious, low-profile. Humility is the polar opposite of pride.

Since I’ve never consciously considered myself “better than” anyone else and tend to shun the limelight, it came as a bit of a shock when God revealed my pride to me. So I said, “Okay, I need to know more.” I began to study humility/pride. Wow— was I a proud puppy!

Here are a few of the things that I learned. 

Numero Uno: You don’t have to be overtly arrogant to be prideful.
Proud people

  • are often critical of what others do or say, whether verbally or not.

  • complain a lot.

  • are self-sufficient (they think).

  • are often discontent and angry.

  • don’t spend much time in God’s Word.

  • don’t accept teaching from others.

  • are wrapped up in their own needs and desires.

  • worry a lot—fear.

In addition to alleviating the issues listed above, why cultivate a humble spirit?

It’s an act of obedience to God. “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God …” I Peter 5:6a. (NKJV)

We are to follow Christ as our example. “ Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2: 5-8 (NKJV)

Humility brings peace. “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1a

Humility does not in any way lessen your worth. It simply acknowledges the fact that others are no more or less as important as you. I like C. S. Lewis’ quote: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less.

“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-11 

Humility gives us confidence, knowing and acknowledging that God is in control of everything, even when we want to think “No need to bother God. I’ve got this.” 

Finally, humility must be real. John Climacus, a seventh century monk also known as St. John of the Ladder, wrote: “The image of utmost pride is a man who, for the sake of glory, hypocritically exhibits virtues which he does not possess.” 

There is nothing more off-putting than a person whose humility is false. Funny thing is—
 that kind of humility is transparent. 

About Pat:

Pat was transplanted from upstate New York to Florida at the tender age of five.  Now married to a Georgia cracker for almost fifty years and retired from a public service job, she enjoys writing and spending time with her children, grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren. 

A member of American Christian Fiction Writers and ACFW Central Florida Chapter, Pat has served as past secretary and publicity chairperson.  Writing inspirational stories from the heart, she strives to provide encouragement and light through Jesus to those who read them.


Join us in enjoying and learning from Mara's adventures. A Dozen Apologies 

In today's chapter, Mara finds a messy job on a chicken farm and has to face some ugly consequences of her thoughtless game. It's quite humbling. If you aren't familiar with this story, here's the synopsis.

Mara Adkins, a promising fashion designer, has fallen off the ladder of success, and she can’t seem to
get up.

In college, Mara and her sorority sisters played an ugly game, and Mara was usually the winner. She’d date men she considered geeks, win their confidence, and then she’d dump them publicly. When Mara begins work for a prestigious clothing designer in New York, she gets her comeuppance. Her boyfriend steals her designs and wins a coveted position. He fires her, and she returns in shame to her home in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where life for others has changed for the better.

Mara’s parents, always seemingly one step from a divorce, have rediscovered their love for each other, but more importantly they have placed Christ in the center of that love. The changes Mara sees in their lives cause her to seek Christ. Mara’s heart is pierced by her actions toward the twelve men she’d wronged in college, and she sets out to apologize to each of them. A girl with that many amends to make, though, needs money for travel, and Mara finds more ways to lose a job that she ever thought possible.

Mara stumbles, bumbles, and humbles her way toward employment and toward possible reconciliation with the twelve men she humiliated to find that God truly does look upon the heart, and that He has chosen the heart of one of the men for her to have and to hold.