18 August, Saturday – Being Humbled

18 Aug

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Ezekiel 18:1-10,13,30-32

The word of the Lord was addressed to me as follows:

‘Why do you keep repeating this proverb in the land of Israel: “The fathers have eaten unripe grapes; and the children’s teeth are set on edge”?

‘As I live – it is the Lord who speaks – there will no longer be any reason to repeat this proverb in Israel. See now: all life belongs to me; the father’s life and the son’s life, both alike belong to me. The man who has sinned, he is the one who shall die.

‘The upright man is law-abiding and honest; he does not eat on the mountains or raise his eyes to the idols of the House of Israel, does not seduce his neighbour’s wife or sleep with a woman during her periods. He oppresses no one, returns pledges, never steals, gives his own bread to the hungry, his clothes to the naked. He never charges usury on loans, takes no interest, abstains from evil, gives honest judgement between man and man, keeps my laws and sincerely respects my observances–such a man is truly upright. It is the Lord who speaks.

‘But if anyone has a son prone to violence and bloodshed, then this son shall certainly not live; having committed all these appalling crimes he will have to die, and his blood be on his own head.

House of Israel, in future I mean to judge each of you by what he does–it is the Lord who speaks. Repent, renounce all your sins, avoid all occasions of sin! Shake off all the sins you have committed against me, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why are you so anxious to die, House of Israel? I take no pleasure in the death of anyone–it is the Lord who speaks. Repent and live!’

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Matthew 19:13-15

People brought little children to Jesus, for him to lay his hands on them and say a prayer. The disciples turned them away, but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children alone, and do not stop them coming to me; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.’ Then he laid his hands on them and went on his way.

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A humbled, contrite heart you will not spurn.

I once read that God will allow us to struggle with other sins so that we don’t fall into pride. I also recently read that sometimes we do not clearly know what God wants in our lives because if we always did, we would be in danger of falling into spiritual pride. I guess pride is really a huge thing.

Pride makes us think that what happens to us is the fruit of our own efforts. As embarrassing as it may sound, whenever I manage to refrain from committing habitual sins for a long time, I tend to give myself a pat on the back, forgetting that it was through God’s grace that I was able to resist temptation. Pride makes us forget that all we own within our successes is exercising our free will to persevere to do the will of God – and even with this, we need God’s grace.

Why does the Kingdom of God belong to the little children? It’s because children’s hearts are filled with humility. They know that they are unable to do many things without help. Naturally, they would know how to rely on God better than adults do. Have you ever heard a child pray? It’s so humbling to hear the amount of trust they have whenever they utter prayers.

They also do not let pride get in the way of restoring relationships. One DJ commented that it’s so easy for children to make up because they still do not let pride or ego get in the way of relationships. If we think about our relationship with God, were there instances when we have let pride or ego get in the way? Were there instances where we were slow to seek reconciliation because we had justified our actions, thinking that we must have been right?

Pride is really destructive, isn’t it? That’s why sometimes, I fear success of any kind; because then, I have to check if I am falling into false humility. False humility is also pride. Which makes it really difficult to know where we should stand. This is a beautiful place to be in because we know that only by God’s grace can we really have a humble heart. We can’t do it on our own.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Stephanie Villa)

Prayer: Dear Lord, it’s really humbling to know that every good thing I do is still a fruit of grace that comes from you. Let not pride make me feel bad about it but help me feel joyful and grateful that you are always making sure that you have my back.  

Thanksgiving: Thank you for saving me from pride even if that means falling into temptation.  

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