If you’ve been following DFM for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard me talk about how before I was a pastor I was a professional musician, a bass player. And for a while, I was your classic “poor, starving artist”….literally.
I remember one time, early into my music career, I was living in a house with a couple other poor starving artists, and there was one Monday where we woke up and had no food and no toilet paper. Now, in my book food and toilet paper are both absolutely essential items. But when we all pooled our money together we had about $2.30! So we went to the store, and all we could afford is two rolls of toilet paper, and a bag of white rice that we proceeded to dress up with all sorts of nasty condiments that week. Thankfully, we got paid that Friday, so we survived.
But what struck me in that week of living on rice and rationing toilet paper, is that I have amazing parents who did so much to provide for me. Living on my own and feeling my own need was like putting on a pair of glasses that helped me see something clearly that I hadn’t seen before.
Life is full of these moments that open our eyes to see things more clearly. And the reason that’s important is because, for all of us, life is really messy. There’s beautiful and devastating things – all at the same time. And we need to know how to navigate the messiness of life with clarity and become the best versions of ourselves in the process.Life is full of these moments that open our eyes to see things more clearly. Click To Tweet
But sometimes we are the cause of our own blindness and end up getting in our own way….When I say we can be the source of our own blindness, what I mean is it’s all too easy for all of us to give into self-deception, the art of deceiving ourselves.
Self-deception is the fertile soil that nurtures our ego, our rebellion, and our selfishness. That self-deception can go one of two ways… As I look back over my life, I find myself getting in the way over and over again as I lean towards overconfidence. Other people lean toward an underconfidence. Both of these defaults show a lack of humility, and complicate the work God wants to do in and through us.
How do overconfidence and underconfidence both show a lack of humility? I’m so glad you asked!
C.S. Lewis, the great British writer, put it this way: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” I think it’s a beautiful quote, because true humility doesn’t mean having a self-deprecating or negative view of myself. It means having a clear perspective of who I truly am, within the context in which I live, and understanding that life doesn’t center on me!
We all know what it looks like when someone isn’t being humble, because they don’t have a clear perspective of themselves in the context of everything else going on around them. Sometimes we see ourselves doing this when the boss makes a decision we disagree with. Ever find yourself saying, “The boss doesn’t know what they’re doing”? Is that a humble statement? Probably not… you know why? Because we don’t know everything the boss knows.
In families, we see this when parents make a decision and the kids go, “I can’t believe they would say that!” Ever been there? I know a lot of kids would say, “Amen, Fusco, I’m hearing ya!” I get this with my kids all the time. Now, don’t get me wrong—I love my kids. But I can tell when they ask me for an ice cream sandwich for breakfast at 8:30 on a Saturday morning, they need wisdom! So I say, “You can’t start your day with ice cream, you need some protein.” (Now, at heart I’m totally an ice-cream-for-breakfast kinda guy, so you know we busted into the ice cream sandwiches by a quarter-to-ten). But it didn’t start there! My kids needed humility to see themselves correctly and accept their cool dad’s wisdom about acceptable breakfast foods.
Jesus does the same thing in our lives when He sees us going off the rails. He came, lived, died and rose again to shine light onto our hearts. That is our saving grace. His light reveals all the fears, the brokenness, the emptiness and the issues.
Instead of shining His light and shouting at us, “See, you’re a mess! Hahahahaha!” Jesus shines the light and says, “See, this is really you. It’s okay because I have come to make you well. See yourself clearly. Don’t pretend it’s not there, because that would be dishonest. Don’t lie about it. Let’s own it, together. Embrace my love and grace, and I will take that weakness and show my strength in it.”
This is how God works. He takes our weaknesses and transforms them into an opportunity for God to reveal Himself in a broken world. However we find ourselves in the way, God is inviting us to something altogether different.He takes our weaknesses and transforms them into an opportunity for God to reveal Himself in a broken world. Click To Tweet
So today, let’s get out of the way. Jesus’ art of living invites you into humility, to give up your self-styled life for a life you could only imagine—that you may have never chosen for yourself, but when you experience it, you say, “No doubt about it, this is a God thing!”
When we come to God empty and expectant, we leave Him space to step in. Because everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. So let’s see ourselves clearly this week and trust God to fill in our empty spots with more of Himself.