Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Friday, 19 March 21:
Deuteronomy 9:1, 6 – Go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than you…. Know, therefore, that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people.
Humility is at the heart of Christian faith. How easy is it for us to lose sight of our total dependence on God’s mercy and grace. Today, we read how God was going to lead the Israelites to a victory they could never have achieved without Him so He would be glorified through them. However, God also knew that the Israelites would grow prideful in the success He provided them, as if they had anything to do with it. Similarly, we have a tendency to grow prideful, which leads to self-righteousness and self-centeredness. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:11)
- James 4:6 — But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
We are saved by grace. God gives grace to the humble, not to the prideful. God opposes the prideful. Jesus began His public earthly ministry with these words: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3) Only when we truly appreciate the totality of our moral bankruptcy, will we truly be amazed by grace and ready to experience the fulness of life in Christ. What pours out of a person is what is inside of them. The mark of a person who is truly filled with the grace of God is graciousness. A person who is saved by grace can only live by grace and give grace to all others, loving as Christ loved, forgiving regardless the personal cost.
Pride makes us judgmental of others and unforgiving, and Jesus reserves some of his harshest condemnation for those who would receive mercy, grace, and forgiveness from God but then refuse to give the same to others. Therefore, Jesus teaches us to pray to the Father, ‘Forgive us of our sins in the same way we forgive others.’ In our reliance on grace, we have no right to offer anything other than grace to those who offend us in some way. See how many ways Jesus reiterates this point as we continue to read this year.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 19 Mar 21: Consider your pridefulness. Watch out if you view yourself as humble. Repent, receive forgiveness, and give forgiveness to others unconditionally. Observe how much grace you naturally give to others as an indicator of how appreciative you really are for the grace you have received through Christ. – “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” (Luke 7:47)
- Philippians 2:5-8 — Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.