“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” – John 4:10
“Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ “ – James 4:6
Ever since I got saved, I felt like God wanted to use me in “big ways”. Maybe we all think that, but I really felt like I was meant to be the next Beth Moore. I dreamt of traveling around the world to preach the Gospel and see people come to Christ.
I got a taste of that my first year of knowing Christ. At the time, I had a blog on Tumblr. It was a popular place for Christians to post and meet one another. I had a few posts go viral, and suddenly, I found myself in an influential group of like-minded Christians. Every day, I was being asked to answer theological questions (yes, as a baby Christian) and it felt amazing to be “leading” people to Christ.
Within that first year (partially due to Tumblr and the friends I made there), I discovered what Reformed Doctrine was. Suddenly, that became the hill I wished to die on. I read the Bible, not to learn more about Jesus, but to find verses to defend myself with (I marked them with “tulips” in a compact Bible so they’d be easy to spot when I’d get into an argument). I found like-minded friends in person who would reinforce my zeal for sound doctrine.
I angrily fought my fellow brothers and sisters in the faith, claiming they couldn’t possibly know Christ if they didn’t ferociously believe in TULIP fully (Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints). To deny one was to deny all, which to me, meant you were denying Christ.
I was arrogant in my knowledge and haughty in my attitude.
But God didn’t leave me like that.
He would humble me through trials. He’d refine me through fire. He’d strip me of the comforts I had learn to worship instead of Him. He’d teach me He was the only solid thing I could count on. He’d show me that nothing was guaranteed in life but Him.
Finally, He’d show me that He was truly all I ever needed and all I’d ever need. I could lose everything I’d ever loved, but nobody, not even Satan himself, could remove the joy found in Christ.
Throughout all of this, I still counted myself as something “special”. I was still holding on to that dream that I’d speak on stages be the next Beth Moore, Lysa Terkeurst, or Jen Wilkin.
It was only a few months ago that I spent some time reflecting on that and let those dreams go. I (metaphorically) placed them on an altar and said “Lord, you do what you wish. I’m not pursuing this anymore, because if I’m honest, I’m pursuing this to make much of myself, not make much of You”.
Not too long after that decision, I felt God use me more that He has in years in a variety of ways.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I have NO tolerance for those who purposely abuse the Gospel for personal gain. Those who would twist scripture to get people to give them money and prestige are deplorable and God will hand them the cups of wrath they have earned when their time comes, whether it be on this side of eternity or not. I will fiercely protect my brothers and sisters in the faith from those that wish to use God for their own personal gain. And I am thankful that God gave me that sense of discernment early in my walk with Him so that I, myself, wasn’t fooled by them.
But I’ve learned to be careful just who belongs in the category of “false teacher“. Just because you disagree with me doesn’t make you a false teacher. I can disagree with a brother or sister in the faith and still call them a brother or sister.
Right now, God is doing something. He is at work in a way we can’t yet fully begin to see. Many are suffering. Many are anxious. Many are beginning to question their own mortality and morality.
May we all approach the Throne of Grace with humble hearts, asking Him to use us and, if we should need it, to humble us and expose any sin in our hearts.
Lord, use Your saints to shine a light in a dark world. Teach us to number our days and utilize each and every opportunity to bring You glory.
Lord, humble us so You can use us!
Grace & Peace,