This time I offer a guest post from John W Ritenbaugh, pastor of the Church of the Great God, adapted from a sermon he gave on Unity, something that was important to the 1st Century AD church and should be to us also.
Thank you John
Humility is so important…
God gave Paul some help to make sure that he would stay humble.
And yet, I think that if we would all evaluate that from the time to Jesus on, there was nobody more spiritually powerful than Paul. I’m sure in comparison with other men, Paul didn’t look like he was very strong. But when God looked at him, He liked what He saw, and he was a powerful, effective servant of God.
It is so important because humility’s dominant thrust is its willingness to submit to God AND what is right and true. Some, of course, would submit willingly to death if it was going to glorify God in their doing. Therefore, it pretty much sets the tone of our relationship with Him and with others. In both cases, i.e. with God and man, the humble esteemed the other better than themselves. This quality will guard the unity of the spirit.
The meek are kind, they are gentle, they are sensitive to others needs.
They are thoughtful. They are agreeable people.
They are not aggressive, assertive, insistent or argumentative.
They are easily approached and easy to get along with.
But again, don’t be mistaken.
The meek are not weak.
I hardly think that we would classify Jesus and Moses as being weak. But meek they were. They were firm and they were uncompromising in regard to following truth, but they did not feel constrained to overwhelm those who were aligned against them.
In the humble, there is a consciousness of emptiness, potential weakness, of helplessness, of worthlessness. But, and this is a big BUT, don’t ever get the idea that the humble are weak.
Paradoxically, the weak are among the strongest of all people on earth.
It all depends on one’s perspective. In God’s perspective these people are strong and from people’s perspective it depends on who it is that they want to impress.
Remember Atlas of mythology? He was holding the earth on his shoulder and if you can just get a picture of that, you have a pretty close approximation of what this word patient means.
Holding the world on your shoulders is hardly passive.
Patience is not just lying around there doing nothing.
It is when this word is applied to relationships that its meaning becomes very real.
Again, there is a strong sense of self-restraint, self-control. Patience means that we hold control of ourselves for a long time without giving way to our passions. It is used in Greek literature of a person who has the power to avenge himself, yet he refrains from doing so.
This word is occasionally linked with mercy in that God, who surely has the power and more than justifiable reasons to avenge Himself on us, patiently restrains Himself. In some contexts it even has the sense of being lenient in our dealings with others.
John W Ritenbaugh.
What has this to do with the novel Hold the Faith? A great deal I ( Susan) would say… because the way those first believers lived was a lot more ‘true’ to the ideal… to the examples they had been brought up to see as models – like Moses and David etc. And they had the living example of the Son of God Himself.
What are we doing to hold the faith as demonstrated by the Son of God?
Till next time,