This chapter includes what happened when I was nine and became a Christian
|We have Pride parades. There is a problem with that. Our God is humble.
Philippians 2:5-8 NASB Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
Christians can be so arrogant. They act as if they are better than everyone else. They claim to be righteous or some even claim to be “perfectly sinless”. They refuse to consider anything that contradicts them as if their belief had no proof other than their own will power. They praise blind faith and obedience. They hypocritically curse and practice violence but claim that they are guaranteed a place in Heaven. They practice sexual immorality of many kinds while condemning the sexual immorality of others. They condemn each other and point fingers thus condemning themselves for Jesus specifically said, “If you will not forgive, you will not be forgiven.”
Christians take a wise teaching and exaggerate it into an absolute. Then they force their absolutes upon everyone. The Bible recommends that we stay sober but arrogant Christians decide that ALL alcohol is evil and won’t even allow people to use alcohol in ways that don’t lead to drunkenness. We can’t even clean our wounds or use alcohol as a preservative because, according to some Christians, the tiniest molecule of alcohol is EVIL. Where did the Bible ever make that absolute of a statement?
However, all these ways in which Christians are arrogant are ways in which they fail to represent God because God isn’t like them in any way. God save us from Christians. God would never do what millions of people, who claim to be his people, do. God, who has all the power, who is glorious and worthy of praise, who is above all creation, set all that aside.
Hebrews 12:2 NASB fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 2:17 NASB Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
What other religion has a God that came down to become one of us so that he could have EMPATHY? What other god became a man for a reason other than to be worshipped by men, but the Christian God did not come to be worshipped.
Mark 10:45 NASB For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Psalm 113:5-6 NASB Who is like the Lord our God,
Who is enthroned on high,
Who humbles Himself to behold
The things that are in heaven and in the earth?
The god of Islam would never set aside his glory. He requires worship. He must always be on top. But Jesus went to the bottom. And not only did he come to Earth to be one of us, but he came to Earth to be the lowest of us.
2 Corinthians 8:9 NASB For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.
Isaiah 43:2-5 NASB For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot,
And like a root out of parched ground;
He has no stately form or majesty
That we should look upon Him,
Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.
He was despised and forsaken of men,
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
Jesus became poor. He took our suffering upon himself. He took our guilt upon himself. He identified with us and had empathy. Does any other God have empathy?
When I was nine, my parents had a temporary separation. It seemed to me like they were getting divorced. It seemed to me like I was being forced to choose between my mom and dad and whoever I chose, I would lose the other forever. The emotional pain I felt was so intense that even today, the memory brings tears to my eyes.
I had no one to talk to. There was no one to comfort me, first because I was a child and they thought that children don’t feel grief, second, because I was male and they thought that men don’t cry. My whole world was being torn to pieces but no one recognized my pain. No one had empathy. Then I read:
Matthew 26:38 NASB Then He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.”
SURELY OUR GRIEFS, HE HIMSELF BORE.
Now I’m a feisty person. It may not seem like it because I am also a very gentle and compassionate person but I decided long ago that if god is evil, I will fight god. I don’t care if god is all powerful. I don’t care if fighting god is hopeless. Resistance may be futile but I will resist an evil god. I would rather be tortured for eternity than submit to an evil god.
But Jesus has empathy. He comes to the humble and lifts up their head. He wipes away their tears. He is a good, good Father, a kind God who stands up for the weak.
God wants us to be humble, not because he wants to lord it over us, but because he himself is humble.
Matthew 11:29 NASB Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
John 13:14-15 NASB If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.
God wants his children to help each other and to care about each other. Those who will not care about each other, they are not his children. God resists the proud. If you wonder why God hasn’t shown you favor, maybe it’s because you stand up for the strong against the weak. Those who grasp for money may attain wealth but God is against them. Those who grasp for the praise of men may gain popularity but God is against them. Those who serve, who put others first may not gain money or popularity but they gain a loving relationship with God.
Ephesians 2:8-9 NASB For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
I gave my heart to God when I was nine. I don’t mean that I merely believed. I fell in love with God. That is why I am a Christian. God taught me what love is.
And in learning what love is, I have learned humility myself. I have learned that money and popularity are not so wonderful. Money can’t buy happiness and popularity lasts only fifteen minutes but to be held in the arms of Love . . .
I would rather spend eternity with the poor, the weak, and the humble than spend one hour with the wealthy, the strong, and the arrogant.