humility

Four Benefits of Sickness

fourbenefitsofsickness

I am currently recovering from a horrible sore throat and head cold. In between coughing fits, blowing my nose, and trying to have enough energy to work, I realized that sickness is included in the “all things” of Romans 8:28.

“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

Below are four ways God utilizes sickness as He molds us to look more like Jesus:

  1. Sickness reminds us that we are not gods.

It is in our nature to try to defy the limitations God has placed upon us. This first happened in the Garden of Eden – Adam and Eve were tempted to be “like God” (Gen. 3:5). They were not content submitting to His authority but instead bucked against his clear Word in order to overcome the “limitations” placed upon them by God.

If you are like me, I tend to work far more than I should. I also try to please WAY too many people in an effort to feel successful. In the midst of all of this, I take upon myself project after project. Caffeine, my drug of choice, promises me that I can be like God and work without feeling tired or sleepy.

Sickness FORCES us to slow down, rest, and understand that the world continues without us. You and I are not God. We have limitations. True freedom is found in embracing our limitations and weaknesses and resting solely on the grace and power of God.

  1. Sickness reminds us that we are sinners in need of grace.

Our bodies fail and become weak because of sin. Before the darkness of sin choked life out of the world, there was no death nor sickness. As a result of sin, all of creation (including you and me) groans out of pain and misery. Paul refers to our bodies as temporary dwellings – they are not made to last forever (2 Cor. 5:1). Beginning at age 25, your body literally begins to die.

Sickness reminds us that death is the end of all mankind. Rich and poor, good and evil, famous and overlooked – ALL of us will die and face judgment as a result of our sin. Sickness is a constant reminder that we live in a broken world and we need to fix our eyes on the only One who has defeated death, sickness, and shame.

We become sick because we are rebels in need of discipline, narcissists in need of humility, and sinners in DESPERATE need of grace.

  1. Sickness reminds us that we are dependent upon God for EVERYTHING.

I don’t know about you but I tend to take my good health for granted. I am hardly ever sick and when I do get sick, a minor cold feels as if I have been infected with a deadly virus that forces me to languish in bed for hours (Or I am just a wimp, I’ll let you decide).

Over the past few days, I have seen myself cry out to God for strength and wisdom FAR MORE than when I am healthy. This week has been one of my busiest weeks over the past few months and I trust that I became sick for a reason. If a sparrow does not fall to the ground outside of the Father’s will then we do not get sick outside of His will.

I am sure we all acknowledge intellectually that we are dependent upon God for every ounce of strength and fruitfulness but do we TRULY believe it in our hearts? Practically, I give lip service to my dependence upon God but live as if EVERYTHING is up to me.

In our sinfulness, we have a tendency to think we can do a better job at being God than He can. Needless to say, that is a VERY foolish place to be.

  1. Sickness reminds us of the Second Coming.

Sickness and death will NOT get the last word. In this life, we only get a small taste of what God is preparing for those whom He loves. Jesus crushed the ugly head of sin, death, and sickness when He rose victoriously from the grave. As we experience the weakness and apparent hopelessness of life, we can find rest in God’s promise of a New Creation as revealed to John in Revelation 22:

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse.” – Revelation 22:1-3

Jesus wins. Sin is defeated. Satan is crushed. Sickness is demolished.

Put your hope in God and rest in HIS promises.


How has God used sickness in YOUR life to grow you closer to Him? Leave a comment let me know!

The Ladder of Humility (Part Four)

Ladderofhumility4

If you have not read the first three posts in this series, be sure to read them below:
Ladder of Humility (Part One)
Ladder of Humility (Part Two)
Ladder of Humility (Part Three)


ladderofhumility

The fourth step of humility is Patience to Accept the Difficulty of Others.

Ultimately, this only arises out of a deep sense of love and compassion for people. My guess is that every follower of Jesus would claim to love people but how many of them actually practice the love Jesus speaks about?

This step of humility can only be formed as we meditate on God’s love for humanity.

We NEED to understand that we are only loved by God as a result of sheer grace. God did not save you because you are a good person, you are saved because Jesus is the perfect person. The Gospel is NOT clean yourself up and THEN approach God. The Gospel is that while we were yet sinners, rebelling against a Holy God and deserving eternal condemnation in Hell, Christ died for US! (Romans 5:8)

When I experience myself becoming impatient with the difficulty of others, I am spitting upon the face of the Son of God.

Our patience for others should be a reflection of God’s patience for us. Paul makes this point clear in Romans 15:7 – “Accept one another, just as the Messiah also accepted you, to the glory of God.”

According to this verse, we should be patient with the difficulties of others for the following reasons:

  • It is a command from Scripture.
  • Jesus accepted us and we definitely did NOT deserve it.
  • Ultimately, it brings glory to God.

Let’s paint a beautiful picture of God’s love for us by being patient with the difficulties of others. By so doing, we are being obedient to scripture, reflecting the love of God, and bringing glory to God.


Why do YOU think this fourth step is difficult for so many people? Leave a comment and let me know!

The Ladder of Humility (Part One)

LadderofHumilityPartOne

As I shared in my last post, one of the books I am reading is Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. The goal of this book is to help believers to not only be spiritually mature but emotionally healthy – and yes those are two different things.

Scazzero, the author, goes into detail on how the great trials, tribulations, and even tragedies in our lives are used by God as a refining fire to strengthen and sustain our faith. Part of this process is allowing God to guide us into greater depths of humility.

Saint Benedict, a monk from the sixth century, created a “Ladder of Humility”. I want to invite you to join me over the next several days as we study the different levels of humility. In each post, we will break down each step and look at the practical implications it has for us today.

ladderofhumility


Step 1: Fear of God and Mindfulness of Him

Tragically, we have a tendency to forget that God is in our midst. This is evident in the first book of the Bible – Genesis – When Adam and Eve attempt to play hide-and-seek with the God of the universe. It is far more comfortable to laugh at their futile attempts to hide from God; it is far less comfortable to examine our own lives and see the many ways we conceal ourselves from Him.

The first step to humility and spiritual growth is a renewed understanding that God is ALWAYS in our midst.

Not only do we need to be mindful of him but we must have a healthy fear of who He is. The writer of Hebrews says, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.” (Hebrews 10:31) Yes, we do serve an all-loving God but for love to be pure, there must be judgment. We do not define God by our ignorant definition of love; we define love by who God has revealed himself to be.

God looks upon sin with anger and disgust and promises to eradicate it from existence (which includes eternal damnation for those who live in unrepentant sin).

Practically, how do we go about cultivating this first step of humility? Here is one practical application you can begin today:

Set apart time every day to meditate, pray, and study the Word of God.

It is not possible to stress the sheer importance of this single discipline enough. First of all, allowing yourself time to rest and soak in God’s presence will enable you to be sensitive to his voice and presence the rest of the day. I highly recommend this as part of your morning routine, it will center you on the purposes and plans God has for you before you begin your work day.

If you have never spent time in prayer and study, it can be intimidating. I cannot urge you enough to watch this series of teachings by David Platt – Secret Church: How To Study The Bible – Yes, I know they are long but remember Jesus’ admonition:

“To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.” (Matt. 13:12)

A second reason this is important is because it is impossible to think much of yourself in light of the Eternal God. After pondering on the greatness and grandeur of God, you will say with the Psalmist, “What is man that You are mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:4) Each day, the key to walking in humility is realizing that you are not God. You need to embrace your limitations and weaknesses and rest in the Alpha and Omega – The Unchanging One – Who will strengthen and sustain you in your life’s journey.

Your life is far too short to approach God recklessly and forgetfully. Friends, fear God and be mindful of Him this week.


What do YOU think of the ladder of humility? Do you agree with Saint Benedict? Would you add something? Leave a comment and let me know!

Go here to read Part 2: The Ladder of Humility (Part Two)