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The Height of Humility

Alan Wright Ministries / Alan Wright
The Truth Network Radio
October 31, 2022 6:00 am

The Height of Humility

Alan Wright Ministries / Alan Wright

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Pastor, author, and Bible teacher, Alan Wright. On the one hand, if you think that people just think too highly of themselves, you feel like, I got to somehow bring them back down.

Or if you think the problem is people just think too lowly about themselves, then you can artificially puff people up. That's Pastor Alan Wright. Welcome to another message of good news that will help you see your life in a whole new light. I'm Daniel Britt, excited for you to hear the teaching today in the series, The Elect Exiles, as presented at Reynolda Church in North Carolina. Now, if you're not able to stay with us throughout the entire program, I want to make sure you know how to get our special resource right now. It could be yours for your donation this month to Alan Wright Ministries. So as you listen to today's message, go deeper as we send you today's special offer. 877-544-4860.

That's 877-544-4860. More on this later in the program. But right now, let's get started with today's teaching. Here is Alan Wright. We're in our series Elect Exiles on 1 Peter, and today we come into 1 Peter 5.

I pick up reading in the second half of verse 5. I got word this week that my high school reunion, which was postponed during COVID, has taken place in the fall. I started hearing from some of my old high school buddies. They were sending texts, and they were like, hey, are you guys going to go to the reunion? And what about the golf tournament? Anybody want to play in the golf tournament? And so these three buddies of mine were saying, let's play in the golf tournament. Alan, can you play in the golf tournament? And they're sending around the text, and I said, wow, I didn't know about it.

I'd really have to move around a few things on my calendar. I might take a day or two to figure this out. In the meantime, they just all sent all this text, and we're on this whole text stream together. And they start saying to each other, hey, I'm in, I'm in, I'm in. And so they got the three of them, and somebody says, is the golf tournament going to fill up? They said, yeah, let's go to the tournament.

So I'm like, yeah. saying to each other, Hey, I'm in, I'm in, I'm in. And so they got the three of them. And somebody says, is a golf tournament going to fill up? They said, yeah, let's go ahead and register, even though we don't know if Alan can join us then, you know, but hopefully he can. And, and they're sitting there saying, they're saying, man, Alan, we hope you can join us because, you know, you're a golfer.

The other guys don't play much golf. You can really anchor this team. And I'm like, you know, this is reunion time. I need to go into training for this.

I need to go on a diet for this, you know? And so, but I'm feeling pretty good about myself because they want me on the team. These old guys, I hadn't seen him in a long time. And then I don't get back to them for about a day and they're still texting each other and I'm including all the texts. And all of a sudden somebody says, what do we do if Alan can't be the fourth?

And I'm seeing all of this, you know, and then one of them texts back and says, Hey, some exciting news. I just learned that Lee Rouson is, is back in the area and he is going to be at the reunion. He said, you know, if Alan can't, maybe Lee could be our fourth. Well, Lee Rouson was the star athlete of my high school in baseball, basketball, and football probably could have had a scholarship to any, in any of those sports, but he went to play football where he became a star at the University of Colorado, was drafted to the NFL and played about seven seasons in the NFL.

And on the Giants, he won two Superbowl rings. And so now they're texting like, really Lee could maybe be the fourth, you know? And I'm sitting out here, guys, I'm looking at this and I, and you could just tell, you know, I'm like, all of a sudden I was up here and then I'm down here in life like that. Well, it was like one moment, you know, it was like, if you're, if you're in the natural and you're like, man, I'm feeling pretty good about myself.

Next minute, you could just feel like compared to Lee Rouson, who am I? This whole sort of scale of comparison is the huge problem with our souls in the natural. And to say that God opposes the proud, but he gives grace to the humble is to offer a magnificent invitation that if you can understand and really walk in whatever God means by humility, then you are going to have this stream of grace that pours into your life. And hardly where else can you find it in God's word that we're told flat out there's something God opposes, but he opposes the proud. So what could be more important than to understand this text and to make sure we understand what it means to be proud versus being humble so that we can walk into it. So I want to, as I set this up, I simply want to talk first about what is humility from a biblical perspective. It is probably one of the most misunderstood concepts for Christians.

In his little booklet, The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, Tim Keller is very, very helpful in explaining what real humility is by starting with this truth. There are competing ideologies that set us up for a wrong view of what the Bible means by being humble. For most of history and in most cultures, it has been assumed that the problem with humanity is that people feel too highly about themselves. They have too much hubris.

They puff themselves. And that this is why there's so much evil in the world is that people have too lofty a view of themselves. And in their selfish view and their narcissistic feelings, they take advantage of other people, they mistreat other people, and they do all manner of evil. But there's another view that's become sort of the prevalent view of modern Western world. You could recognize this all around us. And that is that the real problem is that people feel too lowly about themselves.

It fostered the whole self-esteem movement. And this view says that the reason that there's so much wrong in the world is that people just don't feel good enough about themselves, and therefore they're taking it out on other people. And so what we really need to do, therefore, according to these two views, is that if you believe the problem is people feel too highly about themselves, then what that person needs to do is they need to be brought lower. Or a person who feels lowly, too lowly about themselves needs to be brought higher.

The problem is that either way, you're either having to sort of tear somebody down or try to puff somebody up. And so there's a lot of different confusion and frustration about this. For those that think that the problem is that people just feel too highly about themselves, you'll hear them say sometimes, you know, the problem with the world today, everybody's just stuck on themselves. Everybody feels like they've got to get a trophy.

Everything's a problem. My brother has a friend who was one time going on about this with him. He said, you know, the problem in the world today, it says all the kids, we got to keep telling them just how special they are. Everybody's got to be so special. And the guy said to my brother, he said, my father only used the word special with me one time. He said, he looked at me one day.

He said, what? You think you're special? You know, that mentality it's like, and there is a part I remember as a parent, you know, with my, my, my aim was I wanted my children to love themselves and love their life as God does.

And I wanted them to feel great about themselves. But I also found myself having to find the right phrase and to sometimes correct the self-absorption. And one of the things I would often say is the world doesn't revolve around you.

They would remember that I'm not saying you're not special. I'm just saying the world doesn't revolve around you. That's Alan Wright, and we'll have more teaching in a moment from today's important series. With so much worry about yesterday's failures and so much hurry getting ready for tomorrow's tasks, sometimes it's hard to focus on the moment that matters most. Right now in a hurried, worried season, God invites you into the present.

Modern day life coaches call it mindfulness, but it isn't a new psychological program and it isn't rooted in Eastern religion. Mindfulness living in the present is God's idea and the Bible unveils the way. Pastor Alan Wright invites you to savor life each day. When you make your gift today, we'll send you Pastor Alan's eight messages in an attractive CD album or through digital download as our way of saying thanks for your partnership. Make your gift today and learn how to savor the textures and flavors of God's grace each moment in the moment, every day of your life. The gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries.

This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support. When you give today, we will send you today's special offer. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries. Today is the final day we're offering this special product. Call us at 877-544-4860.

That's 877-544-4860 or come to our website, pastoralan.org. Today's teaching now continues. Here once again is Alan Wright. So on the one hand, if you think that people just think too highly of them, so you're like, I got to somehow bring them back down.

Or if you think the problem is people just think too lowly about themselves, then you can artificially puff people up. I had such a chuckle reading some years ago, many years ago, Warren Buffett's granddaughter, who was maybe a fourth grade birthday party. And for the fourth grade birthday party, Beamer the Clown was there doing some little magic tricks. And being the birthday girl, the little girl got to come up and wave the wand over his magic box. The magic box, so like Beamer the Clown would put in a red handkerchief and then he'd tell the little girl, now wave the wand over the box and she'd wave it over the box and he'd pull it out and the red handkerchief had turned blue. And everybody would go, wow. And one time he put in about three or four different handkerchiefs in there and she waved the wand over it and he pulled it out and they were all tied together.

After several times of waving the wand and seeing these wonderful tricks happen, Warren Buffett's granddaughter turned to everybody and said, wow, I'm really good at this. And we know that there's a way in which puffing people up is often artificial. And so that can't be the answer either. The problem with thinking that we got to figure out about people who think too highly of themselves or think too lowly in this. So the problem is both those avenues, people are still thinking about themselves and real humility biblically is something that's altogether different and better than that. In fact, if you want to understand humility from the biblical perspective, you'll have to start realizing it's not about making yourself feel better or making yourself feel worse, but it's about something much deeper than that. The gospel offers a third way and it's the way in which you become so satisfied, so accepted, so secure in God's grace and love that you're really not thinking about yourself at all in those ways.

I like the way that CS Lewis put this in his mere Christianity. Do not imagine, he wrote, that if you meet a really humble man, he will be what most people call humble nowadays. You'll not be a sort of person who is always telling you that, of course, he's a nobody. Probably all you'll think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him. He will not be thinking about humility.

He'll not be thinking about himself at all. The problem, Lewis says in his great chapter on pride in mere Christianity, is that what pride does is it always compares. It's not that pride just wants to have something, it wants to have more than someone else, Lewis says. Humility is the opposite. Humility, really being humble, is where there is something that has happened that is so much greater and wondrous that it leaves you sort of out of the equation. It's where you're overtaken by a much greater vision and a much greater joy. John Piper has this to say, the really wonderful moments of joy in this world are not the moments of self-satisfaction, but self-forgetfulness. Standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon and contemplating your own greatness is pathological. At such moments, we are made for a magnificent joy that comes from outside ourselves. And if you think about the greatest bliss in life, you'll find out it's where you weren't having to think about yourself at all, that there was something bigger than that.

There was something more wonderful about that. So in other words, the gospel doesn't say your problem is you think too highly of yourself, you need to feel worse. And the gospel doesn't say you think too lowly of yourself, so you need a boost to your self-esteem. The gospel says something that's entirely different. The gospel says that God so loved you that he came and died in your place. And he took this initiative before you had ever initiated any love towards him. This is love, not that we love God, but that he first loved us. And so he came and he died in your place. And the gospel says that he took your sin upon himself so that when you trust Christ, not only are your sins forgiven, but he takes his perfectly meritorious life, the record of his own righteousness, and he credits to you.

So what happens with this is that he says it's finished, and in a very real sense, it takes you out of the picture. So everything that makes the gospel good has to do with this. We can live lives of self-forgetfulness because we have been made secure by the gift of Christ. Keller puts it this way, it's like before you understood and received the gospel, it's like your soul feels like you're in the courtroom every day, and there's a judge, and you're weighing the good and the bad. And so if you think that you're in a courtroom, then you might go, well, I'm a really good person, and therefore I'm going to try to do really good things, and I'm going to try to really outweigh the bad.

Or you might go, well, I feel really bad about myself, and so I'll just make my own standards and be my own judge. But either way, it's like your soul's still in the courtroom. But when you're in Christ, you're just not in the courtroom anymore.

He said, it is finished. Your salvation is complete. You are His forever, and you're secure. So you have some things in your life you're really gifted at. You have some things you're not nearly as gifted as somebody else. But when you're totally secure, what happens is you can celebrate good in someone else. You can celebrate good in your own life.

You can laugh at the things you're not good at. All of this because you're not thinking about yourself all the time. Keller said it well. He said, you never think about your big toe unless your big toe's hurting. And if it's hurting, you think about it all the time. And you don't think about your own ego, your own soul, unless something in there is hurting.

And then you have to think about it all the time. But when you're in Christ, there is the offer of such love that it brings healing, and it casts out fear, and it takes away the need to compare ourselves to others. So humility is not thinking more of yourself. It's not thinking less of yourself.

Humility is thinking about yourself less. These emails are all flying around. They're like, well, maybe, you know, if Allen can't, I mean, you know, then maybe this NFL star with two Super Bowl rings, maybe he could be our fourth, you know? And I've seen all these texts. And so finally I've worked out my calendar and I send them back a text and I say, I'm in guys, I'm in. And you know, it's just where it's good that it's just a text because you don't hear the tone of voice. And sometimes that's good because one of the guys wrote back, most two of the guys just wrote back and, you know, put a like thumbs up or something like that. And the third guy said, great, but I got a feeling that if I'd heard the tone of voice, it might've been great. We got Allen. So my reunion's coming and this applies to me because I'm starting to think about, am I going to be more overweight or less overweight than these guys?

Do I got more hair or less hair than these guys? But in reality, if I'm going to have a good time, which I will, the best time of all would be to not be thinking of myself at all, but just be glad to be with the boys and maybe, just maybe be a blessing to them. Allyn Wright, our good news message, the height of humility from the series, The Elect Exiles. Stay with us. Pastor Allyn is back here in the studio sharing his part in good news thought in just a moment. Unlock the power of blessing your life. Discover God's grace-filled vision for your life by signing up for Allyn Wright's free daily blessing. If you want to fill your heart with grace and encouragement, get Allyn Wright's daily blessing.

It's free and just a click away at pastorallyn.org. With so much worry about yesterday's failures and so much hurry getting ready for tomorrow's tasks, sometimes it's hard to focus on the moment that matters most right now. In a hurried, worried season, God invites you into the present.

Modern day life coaches call it mindfulness, but it isn't a new psychological program and it isn't rooted in Eastern religion. Mindfulness, living in the present is God's idea and the Bible unveils the way. Pastor Allyn Wright invites you to savor life each day. When you make your gift today, we'll send you Pastor Allyn's eight messages in an attractive CD album or through digital download as our way of saying thanks for your partnership. Make your gift today and learn how to savor the textures and flavors of God's grace each moment, in the moment, every day of your life. The gospel is shared when you give to Allyn Wright Ministries.

This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support. When you give today, we will send you today's special offer. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Allyn Wright Ministries. Today is the final day we're offering this special product. Call us at 877-544-4860.

That's 877-544-4860. Or come to our website, pastorallyn.org. Back here now with Pastor Allyn as we put a bookmark really right at the end of the series, The Elect Exiles, The Height of Humility, reminds me of the story of the guy who won the award for being the most humble in town. And then they took the award away from him when he pinned it to his shirt collar and actually wore it.

So what do you do with that? I tell you, well, you know, the problem of pride, C.S. Lewis said, is when you're looking down on people and things, you can't look up to that which is immeasurably greater than you. And we are made for worship of God who is immeasurably superior to us in every way. The big confusion that we've tried to address today is that a lot of Christians mistakenly have thought that humility means thinking less of yourself. As if somehow in putting ourselves down or even loathing ourselves or thinking of ourselves, you know, as worms and constantly meditating on our own sinfulness and all of that. There's been confusion to think that that's what humility is. But hopefully what we've been seeing today, that's not what humility is at all. That actually humility is where you come to this place of simple trust in God that delights in what He's done for you in Christ. And you know that you're accepted so deeply and you feel so confident in that, that you begin to forget yourself.

As I've mentioned, Tim Keller said so aptly, you never think about your big toe unless it's hurting. And so if you have to think about yourself, it means your ego is hurting. And the answer, therefore, is the healing mercies of God in which you know yourself to be accepted. And I think all the way through this study of 1 Peter, we've been learning both things. You are, yes, in a world that's torn with confusion.

And even in American culture where we have enjoyed such a rich history of faith here, there has been a great assault against the biblical worldview. And it's frustrating to us and it can make us feel very much like exiles. But the thing to remember in the end is that you're the elect.

You're passing through this world. It's going to feel odd to you at times, but you are God's own beloved. And the more that you know that, then you can walk humbly in this world, confident and bold, but also humble.

That's what humility is all about. And that's my prayer for each and every listener, that you live as an elect exile. That's Pastor Alan.org. That's Pastor Alan.org. Today's good news message is a listener supported production of Allen Wright Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-19 21:10:33 / 2023-01-19 21:20:27 / 10

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