The Humility Story: Scene One

I want to tell you a story in these coming weeks and months.  Or at least the beginning.  It is a story about me, and how humility becomes my clothing.  I’m not exactly sure how it happens.  But if I were to fast-forward to the end, I’d see the scene with every knee bowing before the true King.  For my life, that scene is not a threat or a pipe dream; it’s just the reality of due worship.  I know we’ll get to the good part eventually, and in the meantime, the story’s beginning is begging to be spun here and now.

I don’t want to share it, really.  For pride is that ugly monster that wants to be hidden.  Who wants to say, “Hi, my name is Carrie, and I think I’m better than you.  I am, in fact, the Cat’s Meow”?  Just to shut the whole conflict up into hiding seems a satisfactory antidote to embarrassment.  But, behind closed doors, pride often puts on the mask of self-consciousness, a fraudulent humility with an identical core of distorted self-worth and glory thievery.

Even in my hiding, goodness and mercy chase after and pursue me.  In their approach, I see that they are holding humility for me to accept as a better alternative to self-consciousness or pride.  And so I pray for that — for that shroud of authentic humility to be passed on into my hands.  But as usual, it’s a gift that must be taken with empty, open hands.  And still mine clutch my journal.

My journal, my precious.

Just this morning I flipped it open in my time with Jessica, a girl on fire for God, a girl seeking His ways to characterize her life.  I’m her mentor, she my disciple.  (Disciple: It’s a scary word to speak as a noun in this context.  How much easier to say that I’m discipling her.)  I find the good parts I’ve written, and all the black words on white paper fly past her eyes.  She notices I’m a writer; I write and write to get to the good part.  There are good parts, after all.  I’ve been praying for the Spirit to mentor me, to fulfill His promise to be the Truth-Teacher.  And He has.  But now that these words are on paper, in my hand, I clutch them like Gollum the ring: my precious, my precious.

Later in the day, another friend makes note of my blog, reporting her discovery that I have more followers than I ever imagined.  I’d like to believe her.  Perhaps it would have been better had I not heard such a claim.

Finally, alone, I flip back through my journal and see those handwritten pages.  I worship them a little.  I start to see how, when I die, the whole world might realize just how much I knew.

I’m reading 1 Corinthians 9, and Paul is talking to a church about forsaking versus claiming rights.  But none of it makes sense today.  I’ve had chapters and chapters of ah-ha moments to record, the Spirit speaking new truth into this heart and mind that considered herself well-versed in Scripture.  And today, another chapter could have meant new clarity.

But today, nothing.

Just confusion.  Mental blocks.

Finally, I see an easy sentence near the end of the chapter about Paul doing everything for the sake for the gospel.  That’s all I’ll have to stand on for today.

But the Author of Humility wants me to know that it’s everything.  More than enough.  The gospel: Jesus, Man of Sorrows, dying on a cross to turn me from broken to whole, from shunned to welcomed, from dust to royalty, from condemned to worthy.  Somehow, in that one word gospel, a broken, humble man sets my affection aright.  In the gospel, my dead corpse, puffed up with the love of knowledge and self, begins to pulse with a living passion for my Lover and Creator.

I have to lie on my back and look up into the endless blue to just rest awhile in the really endless love of God for me.  Every word of mine is a gift from Him; every smidgen of knowledge is given and never achieved.

But even after all this, thoughts of my skill and wit still distract from the clear message of love.  The words of the liar are hard to decipher from my own scattered thoughts, but I am starting to be able to understand the difference.  It is this:  the devil never utters the word “gospel.”  That is the word that crushed him, and he is afraid of it.  He skirts around it like there’s no tomorrow for the ones covered by it.  But there is tomorrow, so there’s no need to make a name for myself today.  I have been named by my Father.  My Father whose other name is the Word.

His words and Satan’s collide.  One’s makes the other’s powerless, and I realize how my own could be wiped black.  But they’re not.  The Word who became flesh suspends them in a cradle of mercy.

This is the first lesson of humility.

I feel myself caving under it, not understanding how the gospel cures my self-worship, but knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that it does.  The gospel sets my worship aright.  The gospel makes humility in me possible.

That’s how I know I can go forward as a writer, in spite of myself.  Suspended by that mercy-cradle, I realize how I might just stick it to Satan.

If he wants to taunt me with embarrassment, I will cast the word gospel back in his face.

Under the cover of the gospel, I will blog about humility, even though I haven’t arrived.

*          *          *          *


Would you like to join me?  The Humility Story is yours, too.  If you have a scene from this story you’d like to blog about, feel free to leave your link in the comments.  We’ll continue this journey together.

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