In which there’s a side order of humble

by Craig on December 5, 2011

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God commends grace to the humble.
Pride is always a reason for the withdrawal of grace.
And so, humility is a necessary condition of grace.

It was 900 years ago in France…
and a little monastery was off to a bad start…
and a novice monk set things straight.

He was tough…
and austere…
and brilliant speaker.

And it was written of Bernard of Clairvaux that “devout worship was his all”.

And this is how I found him.

It was an assignment for a Biblical Ethics class in Seminary…
and I chose for a topic to study…

…pride.

Good subject…questionable motives.

I thought it was a theme that would lend me it’s authority by the mere virtue of studying it. I knew I was rebellious and stubborn, and arrogant. But who but a humble and devout person would choose to study pride and how harmful it is to the faith?

I didn’t expect the study to change me one bit.
I was as humble in my pride as I was proud of my humility…
just appearance, just illusion, just a lie…

Remain proud and unyielding on the inside…
appear contrite and humble on the outside.
Act the part – and so be the part.
Fool the world…
and fool God too.

And I wonder now…
how lowly, unassuming, and unpretentious the Enemy of God was…
in eternity past…
whenever he approached the throne of Heaven.

The Enemy of God, an angel of God, played this game long before I thought I invented it.

And there’s this conversation…
a heavenly board meeting.
The Chairman calls it to order…
asks the department heads to give a report.

God inquires…
“Where have you been?” (Job 1:7)
He answers in feigned innocence…
“Just flitting about, here and there…
beholding your children.
I just traipse about unobtrusively…
observing…keeping watching…” (my paraphrase)

And I can see the raised eyebrow of God…
we always think we can hide a little of ourselves from him.

But the Enemy couldn’t see the discerning glare…
because when you’re overacting…
you can only see your own performance.

He doesn’t traipse, or meander, or roam…he lurks and slinks and stalks.
He doesn’t watch over…he studies us to find weakness.

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He’s not unobtrusive for any reason other than it’s easier to steal, kill, and destroy when nobody sees.

He said the correct words to God…
adopted the genteel posture…
acted the part…

and I point my finger at him and say, “See!” “Evil!”

Until I recognize myself in his act.

And that’s a little side order of humble to go with my pancakes of pride.

And that’s ok.

‘Cause this Christmas I want a little more side order…

a little less main dish…

a dash of humble in my stocking.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Sylvia December 5, 2011 at 10:33 am

Yep, the enemy is a real smoothie; so I’m sure he does his best to *look* humble. (And that lion pic, displaying his real attitude, oo, gives me the creeps!) And, as the 1700’s William Law pointed out, proud people really love and admire humility – in others… And it’s such an elusive grace…
Looking forward to your coming posts on this. I’m seeking a larger serving of humble, too – although I realize that’s a really scary order to put in!

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Craig December 6, 2011 at 10:56 am

Sylvia, really! I almost didn’t choose that lion pick because it looked so creepy. It’s a real picture – his eyes are dilated because it’s dark – I think that’s what makes it look so creepy. But the enemy creeps in the dark, in the shadows, and he’s creepy.

And that is so true – even when I have been my most arrogant – I admired humility – and others. I smile as I type that. Good point!

And the order for humility – trust me – having had humility pressed upon me by God because I didn’t choose the path myself – it’s far easier to decide to place the order – and commit to the work – than to have God do the fixing. We’ll both place the order – will both benefit – God will smile – we’ll be fine! God bless you Sylvia!

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Martha Orlando December 5, 2011 at 1:25 pm

I want more of that side dish, too! It is so easy to slip into thinking we are humble when pride is standing right there, mocking us at every turn.
You have given us great food for thought here . . .
Blessings always, Craig!

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Craig December 6, 2011 at 11:03 am

Martha, I’ll include this in one of the posts I’m sure – this quote – that the problem with exalting the humble is that they don’t remain humble long after they’ve been exalted – and there is that thing about being proud of our humility – Humility the way Jesus did it – it’s a daunting task – the world pulls so hard against us not to be – it takes conscious effort – and the spirit to try. I really want to be like Jesus – I’m really going to try!

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Debbie December 6, 2011 at 1:57 am

Craig . . .brilliant writing and post. :) And I’m putting in for some humility too. Something happened just the other day that nearly filled my stockings . . .at least for a bit. :)
God bless you and thank you for helping us see ourselves in this!

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Craig December 6, 2011 at 11:08 am

Debbie, I’m really, really, really glad to be “in” it with you. I think I’ll not just be writing about it – but really making a commitment to be it. God bless you Debbie! Thank you as always – as always.

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Victoria Jenkins December 6, 2011 at 11:09 am

THIS….IS…GOOD.

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Craig December 6, 2011 at 11:22 am

ƪ(◠‿◠)╯I… Am… Smiling. God bless you Victoria!

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Christina December 7, 2011 at 8:10 am

Wow! Love it as always:) This season always points me to humility and the way our God does things in an upside down way. A poor young girl, a feeding trough, smelly shepherds and the way God uses the useless. Blessings to you!

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Craig December 10, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Christina, I’m sorry I’m so late in responding – the end of the week was a little bit horrible. It seems my writing of humility needed a personal element. I was humiliated – humiliated online. Of course, since now everything is open and honest, since there are no masks, I blogged about it – as embarrassing as it was. Anyway, thank you as always. And God bless and keep you.

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Lisa notes December 7, 2011 at 11:00 am

Oh those pancakes of pride. :-( I’ve had a few stacks of those myself. So hard to get rid of it. But humility is the Way, His Way. Thanks, Craig. Another good post.

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Craig December 10, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Lisa, I apologize for being so late in replying. The end of the week was a little bit of terrible. I got a dose of humiliation to go with my blogging about humility – a huge dose. Of course, the new, year of connection, no masks to me blogged about it. It was so crushing I’m still regaining my balance. Anyway, thank you as always. God bless you Lisa.

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Amy December 7, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Craig I love this post. I cannot tell you how many times I have tried in vain to leave my pride at the foot of the Cross. The rest of the world may not have seen my attempt as vanity, but God knew the truth. God knows when my posture of humility is just that – posturing. And then when I think about the way Jesus came to us, perfectly humble in perfectly humble surroundings before a perfectly humble audience – well, as the song says “I scarce can take it in.” And, even though He WAS God, that He didn’t even consider equality with God something to be grasped but made Himself nothing and became obedient even to death on a cross. Well, I can’t think of anything that humbles me more. That convicts me more. Yes, I’ll take more of that side order of humble and a lot less pancakes of pride this Advent season. Thank you so much for this. Smiles –

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Craig December 10, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Amy,last week ended in pretty horrific fashion, a humiliation online, and some off-line troubles. The online humiliation still has me reeling a little bit, although God, and a bunch of people have helped me process it. It IS a little bit of a tight rope walk blogging in this community for me – being the never married male. I got actually a little more than a side order of humble – humiliation – tends to humble. Anyway, I blogged about it of course, that helped a little, but enough about me. Thank you Amy, thank you as always, and God bless and keep you.

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