Listen and Obey

Take a moment and marvel at Micah’s ability as a poet to capture in one line the essence of faith. Jesus changes “walk humbly” to “faith”  in Matthew 23:23, thus giving us the best definition in Scripture of what faith is.

He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.

You can’t walk with God. You can only walk with YOUR God. To walk humbly with your God means that the life of faith is not just a matter of what we believe, but it is a matter practice and covenant.

GethsemeneWalking humbly means emulating Jesus, who “did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death” (Phil 2:8). Obedience is the virtue that teaches us to be humble.  Hebrews 5:7-8 who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.

Listen & Obey

We Value the accountability of humility through listening and obeying God and others in authority.

In the Hebrew (shama) and Greek (hupakouo – Hoop a coo oh). The word obedience means “to listen”…they are one in the same.

Test of your humility/faith is your obedience to those in authority over you. (Children to Parents, Husbands and Wives, Employee to Employer, Citizen to Civil Authority, etc.)

German ShepherdsIt requires us to develop a teachable spirit/attitude and as we do then we honor those who are over us and we receive the reward God gives through their position.  Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account.  1 Thess 5:12-13 We urge you, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake.  1 Tim 5:17-18 Let the elders who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine… “The laborer is worthy of his wages.”  1 Kings 17:13 Elijah to the widow: “Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son.

The highest level of faith is trust. Trust requires great humility because it requires you to believe God’s promises when you have no human understanding of how God will accomplish His promise.  Humble trust is demonstrated by an obedience to God’s Word before having a revelation of it.   “Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation” (Habakkuk 3:17-18).

Your faith/humble walk will be tested as you come under and trust authority.  Just as the test of your love for God is your love for man, the proof of your obedience to God is found in your obedience to man/authority.  I would dare you to read your Bible and take out the human element of authority, submission, obedience and then tell me what you have left over.  Here are just a few examples…

1. Centurion’s servant sick unto death (Luke 7:2-10).baptism of Christ
• He is a commander in the Roman army
• Many in a high position would never think of humbling themselves.
2. Namaan a General with leprosy. (2 Kings 5:1-19).
• Elisha did not come out and meet him.
• The Prophet sent word though his servant
• Told the General to dip 7 times in filthy river
• His pride was offended & almost walked away
3. Caananite Woman (Matthew 15:21-28)
• Jesus told her to go away (only came for Israel)
• Jesus referred to her as a dog
• She persevered & Jesus said she had MEGA faith/great humility.
• You can never humiliate a truly humble person
4. Jesus & John’s Baptism (Matt 21)
• Submitted to God’s man early & was protected later.

Humility is the opposite of entitlement. People with pride (and deep insecurity) love to hear them self talk, are always trying to promote themselves, constantly giving people their resume and worst…think they are ready a long time before they are really ready.  Give them a job that lifts them up before people, and they’ll do it. Give them a job nobody knows about and it never gets done (or is done only begrudgingly). The humble person will accept any task whereby he can help people, no matter how humble that task is in the eyes of others.

attitudePeople who don’t get what they think should be coming to them turn very sour, very quickly. The people who often say they have no expectations are usually filled with them. They play a control game of unwritten rules that they silently demand others to obey. Their unmet expectations are always the cause of deep frustration which often appear under a cloak and dagger of subtle hostility, offensive airs, challenging negativity and an attitude of aloof superiority.  Attitude is your thought life turned inside out and is the reflection of your spirit that shows up on your face, body language, and mumbling grumbling words. You can’t airbrush “attitude”.

Humble YOURSELF or God will do it through an agency of human authority in your life. God opposes your pride but gives grace to the humble. I resist Satan in humility.

The virtue of humility (root is humus – of the earth) is that disposition of will which makes us see ourselves for what we really are in relationship to God and our neighbor.  Humility is truth, but rarely do any of us live with a truthful opinion of ourselves.  C.S. Lewis wrote, being humble is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.

Humility is a matter of walking…NOT running, or driving or flying, but the uneventful, non glamorous, simple practice of walking. To walk humbly with God is to see our lives as a sacred pilgrimage. Walking is an active exercise. It is actually impossible to walk with God unless we walk humbly…to know that we are capable of only one step at a time.  To walk humbly is mirrored by Paul’s repeated command to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, your calling and in conduct. (1 Thess 2:12, Col 1:10, Phil 1:27, Eph 4:1).servants heart

Richard Foster, in Celebration of Discipline, writes: “More than any other single way, the grace of humility is worked in our lives through the discipline of serving.”  The true test of humility comes when you are treated like a servant. It is one thing to choose to serve others, but it’s another thing entirely to choose to be a servant. A servant is often to be taken for granted, overlooked, unnoticed. A servant gives up the right to be in charge of whom they serve, when they serve and how long they serve.

Test your humility by:
1. Receiving discipline or correction
2. Being treated harshly w/out cause
3. Not being treated as the leader
4. Being overlooked or neglected for opportunity
5. By being laughed or not being able to laugh at yourself
6. Not being as knowledgeable as someone else
7. By losing or being second in your field of competition
8. Not being as valued in a friendship as you value them
9. When your rights are violated & you have to die 2 self

Conversion is a set of necessary humiliations to your false self. – Fr. Thomas Keating

The greatest illustration in my opinion of “necessary humiliations” comes from the movie, The Game starring Michael Douglas.

The GameIsaiah 57:15 For thus says the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

About Michael Welchert

My wife Diana and I have been married since 1985 and have five wonderful children. I have been in ministry since 1980 and we currently reside in the Denver, CO area.
This entry was posted in Sacred, Spiritual Formation and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.