Having grown up in Church, having studied some about the lives of early believers, and listening and watching what is passing for Christianity today, I sometimes find myself wondering just what the characteristics of a child of God are. Am I mistaken in my knowledge of what God’s people are supposed to be like? Listening to and looking at the lives of many professing Christians today, I imagine you may have found yourself wondering the same thing.
As we see the word “Christian” used in regards to the behavior of fools, as various people with media attention seemingly desire to make the church look bad and bring shame on the name of Christ, and professing Christians all over the place choke on the lies of the tolerance and political correctness of the day, I have sometimes pondered what god these individuals are serving. Perhaps you’ve had the same or similar question yourself as you look at the church that is apparently running amok. It is a confusing time we live in, and it is imperative that we bone up on the truth so that we won’t be swept away by the colossal waves of deception so prevalent today.
Jesus, in Luke 6:44, explains that “every tree is known by his own fruit.” Put in the words of Rhoderick D. Ice, “whatever a man really is will show up in his actions.” The Bible makes it unmistakable that God wants a clear distinction between His children and those of satan (John 8:44). There are defining features that must be found in the true child of God. Galatians 5:24 teaches us that if we belong to Christ we have crucified our flesh with its affections and lusts. Crucifying the flesh is not a once in a lifetime deal. No, it’s a lifestyle for children of God.
Now God knew that living a life comprised of the characteristics of a believer is not something we could do in and of ourselves. That is why He sent His Son, Jesus Christ. It is also why He sent the Holy Spirit. The good news is that God provides the means for us to do what He requires of us. The way has been paved and power supplied to those who want and accept it. This Divine intervention has made it possible for us to embody those defining characteristics of a child of God.
DEFININING FEATURE #1 Humble
For the first characteristic we will look at humility because it is the opposite of pride.
I use to wonder why pride was so heinous; the Bible speaks rather extensively about it. Perhaps you have had similar ponderings regarding pride. Here’s a thought in answer to the question. Pride is an insidious evil.
We can all point out the obvious displays of pride easily recognizable in the arrogant or boastful individual. All too often, however, Pride goes unrecognized. Upon closer examination Pride is more often than not the root cause of character flaws and sin issues in all of us. Pride is frequently behind many a bad attitude and uncontrollable fit of rage. Believe it or not, pride even lurks behind little things like impatience and shyness. I have had occasion to admit that pride was at work in my own heart. Maybe you have had to admit the same at some point in your own life.
Pride is the root of satan’s problem. Pride is the reason many can’t bring themselves to believe in God, let alone accept salvation. Pride has cultivated countless fools and spearheaded enumerable failures. Pride is what keeps us living on the edge of salvation instead of delving deeper into that good, perfect, acceptable will of God (Romans 12:2). Pride – yep, bad ol’ pride; an enemy of believers everywhere. Pride, the thing we must always, always, be on the lookout for and fight against. Pride cannot be an active part of a child of God’s life. Humility must be the order of our day. Humility, not pride, must be the defining feature in the true believer’s life.
Humility is the state of being humble, according to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. It is FREEDOM FROM Pride and arrogance. It is a deep sense of one’s own unworthiness in the sight of God. It is also submission to God’s will. To be humble then is to please God.
For the sake of space I will not present an in depth study on humility, but I would like to leave each of us with something to think about in regards to humility.
Because our flesh wants to rule, humility will not necessarily come easily. Pride is always lingering, waiting to rear its ugly head when we least expect it. It is important for us to walk humbly before our God, walk humbly before our families, walk humbly at work, walk humbly wherever we go and in whatever we do. How can we do this? I’m glad you asked! Here are a few things to keep in mind for cultivating a lifestyle of humility.
- PRAY REGULARLY: Let us ask the Lord to reveal any pride that may be lurking in us. We should then confess our prideful hearts to God and ask for His strength to please Him by walking humbly.
- PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT: Let us take a tip from the Puritans and make it a point to practice humility until “humble” defines who we are.
- Practice putting needs, desires, and feelings of others above our own.
- Practice telling ourselves “No” sometimes.
- Practice checking our motives: if we are buying it, wearing it, saying it, or doing it for what people will think or say about us then our motives are based in pride and we should not do it.
- Practice checking our thoughts and feelings: Doing a great job to the best of our ability in order to please God is one thing. Becoming big-headed about those God-given abilities is something else altogether; it is errant pride.
- SELF EXAMINATION: evaluate/re-evaluate our thoughts and actions. Why are we so enraged? Why did we say what we did? Why are we feeling this way? Behaving this way? Be honest. If Pride is at the root then repeat point #1 as needed.
- AS A MAN THINKETH SO IS HE: Let us determine to, in the words of Charles Spurgeon, always keep a proper estimate of ourselves.
Until Next Time,