Today is the first Sunday of Advent — the beginning of the Christian calendar. The coming of Jesus 2,000 years ago literally divided time and has impacted the world like nothing else. And for the next four weeks, we’re going to be focusing on the Christmas story. My prayer is that we read the story with new eyes, and that we hear it with new ears — so that the Christmas story will have its greatest impact on our lives yet!
The Christmas Story …
The Christmas story is an incredible story – God coming to earth in the form of one of us. God’s Son left heaven and came to earth to save us from our sins!
It’s not about me!
Amazingly, Mary never mentions in this prayer/song, that she is going to give birth to the Messiah. And we never have record anywhere in Scripture of Mary asking for anything – except in John 2, but even then, she’s not asking for herself. She’s asking that Jesus help out at a wedding.
Mary knows that it’s not about her! That’s humility. God uses humble people, and that’s what we want to talk about today.
Turtle atop a fence post …
Alex Haley (author of “Roots”) has a picture in his office, showing a turtle sitting atop a fence. The picture is there to remind him of a lesson he learned long ago: “If you see a turtle on a fence post, you know he had some help. Any time I start thinking, ‘WOW, isn’t this marvelous what I’ve done! I look at that picture and remember how this turtle—me—got up on that post.’”
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” (Rick Warren)
Humble people are …
People who are consumed with worshiping God
“With all my heart I praise the Lord.”
Worshiping God is priority number one! We worship God by doing everything for God’s glory – as if we’re doing it for God, and with God!
Worship is not a chore, but a privilege (“have to” vs. “get to”)
BIG GOD / small me
“Humility is not trying to be humble, it’s not trying to be little; humility is just seeing God as he is. Pride is seeing ourselves as we’re not.” (Louie Giglio)
Paul’s downward growth …
- I am the least of the apostles. (1 Corinthians 15.9) (AD 59)
- I am the very least of all the saints. (Ephesians 3.8) (AD 63)
- I am the foremost of sinners. (1 Timothy 1.15) (AD 64)
As the years pass he goes lower; he grows downward!
People who discover their joy in God
“I am glad because of God my Savior.”
Where does your joy come from? What brings you joy?
Joy vs. happiness (emotion)
“… the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8.10)
People who know their life is blessed
“He cares for me, his humble servant. From now on, all people will say God has blessed me. God All-Powerful has done great things for me, and his name is holy. He always shows mercy to everyone who worships him.”
- “God has blessed me” is the testimony of all who walk with God!
- “His name is holy” – God can be trusted!
People who understand the danger of pride
“The Lord has used his powerful arm to scatter those who are proud. He drags strong rulers from their thrones and puts humble people in places of power. God gives the hungry good things to eat, and sends the rich away with nothing.”
“Pride is the only disease that makes everyone sick but the one who has it.” (Anonymous)
“It is pride which has been the chief cause of misery in every nation and every family since the world began.” (C.S. Lewis)
- God hates “pride, arrogance, corruption, and perverted speech.” (Proverbs 8.13b)
- Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom. (Proverbs 11.2)
- Pride leads to arguments. (Proverbs 13.10a)
- The LORD despises pride; be assured that the proud will be punished. (Proverbs 16.5)
- Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. (Proverbs 16.18)
- Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor. (Proverbs 29.23)
“Pride is the dandelion of the soul. Its root goes deep; only a little left behind sprouts again. Its seeds lodge in the tiniest encouraging cracks. And it flourishes in good soil: The danger of pride is that it feeds on goodness.” (David Rhodes)
People who know God is sovereign
He helps his servant Israel and is always merciful to his people. The Lord made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his family forever!
God is in complete control! There will be intense battles long the way, but we know the final result! We know that victory belongs to the people who follow Christ!
People who are willing to go wherever God sends/leads
“I am the Lord’s servant! Let it happen as you have said.” (Luke 1.38)
I think it’s interesting that Mary says, “The Lord made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham …” Abraham was a man who was willing to go wherever God sent him!
It all starts with focusing on God. When we focus on God, instead of our problems, instead of anything in this life/world, when we focus on God, everything else gets smaller; everything else pales in comparison! The key is to focus on God – read Scripture; get to know God, intimately. Worship God – the more you worship God, the smaller everything else gets!