Gently refining. The Holy Spirit works in me, gently refining me into being more like Christ. I keep forgetting that sometimes this means “being burned by fire”… I like to focus on the gentle part more than the refining part. The Lord has been teaching me, though. I am thankful for this, but there are times when I want to scream, “Lord! What else can You teach me?! What do I not already know?! Why this constant renewing?! Why not just make me perfect in one sweep?!”
Wow. I am embarrassed to write the above, what pride. I am utterly full of myself, thinking that I know so much, but even in this the Lord can reach into my heart and teach me. Though He could take the pride away from me… He could make me perfect in one sweep… He could humiliate me with His wisdom, showing me how lowly I am… He could renew me completely, taking me from this world and calling me home… He could, He could, He could. He has bigger, better plans, though. And I keep thinking that MY plans are better and that He does not know what He is doing. What great pride.
My knowing better is a ridiculous thought, yet I still think it and dwell on it and fight my Lord because He did not do what I wanted. Sometimes I push my plans so much that I cannot even see Him standing by, watching me praise myself, waiting for the time to refine me anew, but waiting for the time that will bring Him the glory. I glorify myself, count myself as worthy, and hardly give Him a second thought… thankfully, He does not let me sit in self-worship for very long. Something goes wrong, always rooted in the fact that I am no longer living for the Greater Glory, and it draws me back to Him, in full submission. Oh how GENTLE He is.
He is in the whispering Spring breeze… allowing me to see my faults and failures, and drawing me closer to Himself because of them. I have learned a lot about humility recently, but there is still part of me that is fearful for “the next time I learn”. Recently, the Lord has shown me that I am very, very prideful in my knowledge… in my textbook learning… in my Bible learning. I am full of “look at what I know” or “I know better”. I get angry when someone challenges what I “know”… I feel threatened, and in response I want to choke someone into agreement. I want to scream, “LISTEN TO ME!” and it has nothing to do with them not listening, it has to do with them not agreeing. I feel an overwhelming desire to be right. Oh, such pride. I did not know what this was until fairly recently. I won’t go into specifics, because I see this as having the ability to be applied in many different areas of life, but I KNEW something. And someone challenged my knowledge, making me rethink it, to the disheartening of my spirit. Instead of coming to a quick understanding that I DO NOT KNOW and probably WILL NEVER KNOW, I fought down anger and reacted quickly, allowed words to flow out of my mouth that I regret, and sought excuse after excuse for the pain that suddenly blinded my eyes.
I was wrong. I was sinning. I was prideful.
It was through this experience that I came to a deeper understanding of humility. It is not just putting others first, it is not just considering yourself “nothing”, and it cannot be false. It is an understanding that I may not be right, an appreciation for different perspectives, a desire to love past miscommunications and disagreements. Humility is a willingness to put aside what I “know” in favor of fellowship… a love for Truth mixed with a knowledge that Truth may be Beyond. Humility does not only say someone else is better, but actually lives, acts, thinks, feels and knows that others are more important. Humility is being willing to admit that I was wrong… being willing to explain without making excuses… being willing to listen when I don’t want to. Humility is being more like Christ, coming to Him in submission, and praying that He fill me with His strength, taking what is left of mine. Humility is lowering myself, not because I must, not because it is expected, not because I want to receive honor or glory, but because I know it is what Christ wants for me. Humility is being a servant… being merciful… being forgiving… giving up rights and privileges and even necessities. Humility is more than what I have ever thought it to be, and it is not something that I should look at with shame… Humility may be shaming myself, but for the glory of others and for the the Greater Glory. Humility is the opposite of pride and selfishness.
Lord, give me more humility, even if it means burning me with Your refining fires. Making me more like Jesus, filling me with His words, allowing me to rejoice all the more in who You are.