Links Daily Devotional

A Master Trait

All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another… (1 Peter 5:5, NIV)

There’s an ugly little municipal golf course across town from me that deserves very little attention from anyone who can really play the game. It’s short, unkempt, carries a suspect par of 69, and you’ll share it with every duffer who is certain that today will be his breakout round.

We must be humble before God himself, trading our self-rule for his lordship over our lives.But we go back to it here because it’s foundational to our game as those who grew up in this city. One round of the four-round city junior championship has always been contested here, and high school matches have circled the course since the 1950s. A recently retired venerable private club pro even returned there for a round with friends not long ago. How do we know this? Because the pro completed a three-hole stretch in birdie-eagle-ace, or 2-2-1 on the card. Back-to-back 9-iron holeouts. Beat that!

It is healthy for our faith to also return to foundational places. Many cling to a fondness for the camp or church or retreat center where they first said yes to Jesus. A return visit can inspire a renewed commitment to one’s spiritual walk.

But how about a return to foundational traits? This too is a powerful practice and reminds us of excellent ways to live out what we say we believe.

One such trait is humility. It is not a favorite of our flesh, but it is certainly among God’s favorites.

Consider these three passages:

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (Proverbs 3:34)

“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:10)

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” (1 Peter 5:6)

Not only do we have a foundational trait, then, but we have a simple kingdom principle: God favors those who demonstrate humility.

First, we must be humble before God himself, trading our self-rule for his lordship over our lives. We cannot, Jesus said, simultaneously serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). God must win out over our own self.

Second, we must be humble before others. We must, as Paul told the Philippians, “in humility consider others better than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3b). That is, all others. And in the context of today’s passage, we must be especially careful to submit to the leadership of those God has placed in spiritual authority, the elders in the church.

Again, our flesh’s desires do not make this easy. But as often as we return to this “master trait” of a Christ-owned heart, we will see God giving us grace and lifting us up.

Jeff Hopper
August 31, 2016
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