We have a problem, and it is called pride. It is sinister and lurks around the corner of every success and attainment in life. The more educated we are, the greater the temptation to be proud, contemptuous and even arrogant. These temptations are so subtle, yet if realized, they destroy the spiritual life. There are those with the ability to manage their educational achievements and remain humble, broken and needy. Jesus’s first response upon hearing of the disciples’ triumphant return was to praise the Father and rejoice in the Holy Spirit. What an amazing response! His first thought was thankfulness to the Father for revealing all of these things to the disciples (Matt. 11:25-26). Jesus attributes all to the Father. He directs all honor, praise and glory to the Father, never mind that He has essentially spent three years with the disciples day and night.
What is your first response to the success of someone else? I believe that the undeniable proof of unity is when you see people get excited about the success of others. In my years of working with young people, facilitating unity has been a personal goal. Seeing young people care for one another and support one another is a beautiful thing. I believe a unique and blessed experience of unity is attained when people are excited about the success of others.
What is your immediate response to personal success? Do your thoughts move to those who invested in you, those who sacrificed to bring you to this joyous position? Read the words of Jesus as He speaks of His relationship with the Father. When He speaks of Himself, notice the words He uses: “not” and “nothing.”
- “Truly, truly I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do. For whatever He does, likewise the Son does” (John 5:19).
- “I can do nothing of Myself. As I hear, I judge. My judgment is just, because I seek not My own will, but the will of the Father who sent Me” (John 5:30).
- “I do not receive honor from men” (John 5:41).
- “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me” (John 7:16).
- “You know Me and you likewise know where I am from. I have not come on my own authority, but He who sent Me is true, whom you do not know” (John 7:28).
- “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and I do nothing of Myself. But I speak these things as My Father taught Me” (John 8:28).
- “I do not seek glory for Myself. There is One who seeks it and judges” (John 8:50).
- “Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own authority. But the Father who lives in me does the works” (John 14:10).
- “He who does not love Me does not keep My words. The word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father who sent Me” (John 14:24).
When it comes to Christ’s humility, these Scriptures are convincing. They make humility a great deal more tangible. They bring to life the Scripture “[Christ Jesus], being in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. But He emptied Himself, taking upon Himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:6-7).
Jesus opens up before us a heavenly humility. With this humility comes endless possibilities in prayer.
It is not service that our Lord is after; it is relationship. The pitfall we fall into is to “rejoice” in how God has used us or to seek approval of others through service. If you are walking with Him daily, then He will pour His life through you, whatever you experience, whomever you encounter. You will know what it is to pray and receive answers to prayer. Others will be blessed as you walk in obedience.
Here’s the truth of the matter—we come to know our Lord through prayer. Prayer is the key to intimacy. The Lord approves of our desire to serve Him and of our pursuits to study and know the Word. But that is not what He is after in our lives.
He wants us to come and deeply commune with Him in the quiet place. He looks at our lives, our characters and our personalities. Christ sees what we can look like completed in Him, the beauty of it all. He ever invites us into the secret place to know Him as a little child, setting aside our experiences, our pride, our education, our degrees and our achievements.
He speaks to us, “I love you, My little child. Walk closely to Me so that you can draw upon Me quickly. You can always speak to Me through prayer.”
Prayer Power, March 18, 2018
This week, follow the example Jesus set in His intimate prayer life with the Father. Use biblical prayers to guide you as you approach the throne of grace boldly. Come with humility and great sense of gratitude for all He is and what He has done and continues to do in your life. Continue to pray for revival in our nation and around the world. As we enter spring and the Easter season, pray for opportunities to share His love and the gospel with those around you. Remember those in authority over us and pray for those serving in the military. Read Matthew 11:25-26.