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Feb 8 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

February 3, 2012 – Micah 6:6-8

A Spiritual Mentor and Humility

He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the LORD require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8

INTRO: A little background

Micah lived in a society living on the brink of ruin
– the normal business practice was to rip-off customers and lie to them (10-11)
• although people were getting rich, they were already suffering the curse of discontent

You will eat, but you will not be satisfied . . . You will sow but you will not reap . . . etc. (vv. 14-5)

– and a worse fate was coming (v. 16)

Micah asks what can be done about this – for himself and his nation
– “How can I get right with God? Get back on track? What kind of sacrifice would fix this?”
– he begins with the standard sacrifices, but jumps to wild exaggerations
• “thousands of rams . . . ten thousand rivers of oil”
• and the ultimate, “my firstborn son”

The answer had been there all along – sacrifice doesn’t change anyone
– it comes down to the kind of people they are and the lives they live
do justicepersonal: the way they do business and “conduct their affairs”
love kindnesssocial: the way they treat others, show mercy
○ demand justice of yourself, but show mercy to others (reverses our typical order)
walk humblyspiritual: the way they connect with God
○ it’s this third part I want us to think about today

A spiritual mentor helps us learn and live humility

This is not an easy quality for us to fully grasp
– humility is certainly not the way an actor or musician gets noticed
– our culture conditions us to push and shove our way to the front
Jesus’ brothers told him, “You have to Advertise Yourself!”

For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly (Jn. 7:1-5)

The human ego hates humility
– it would rather declare war than accept a loss, criticism, or insult

So I think the place to begin is with the phrase “walk with your God” — that is desirable
– in Genesis, “Enoch walked with God” and so did Noah (5:24; 6:9)
• God invited Abraham to walk with him (17:1) — and he did (24:40)
• these references to walking with God are linked to Paradise, where God walked “in the cool of the day” (3:8)
– I’ve been trying to figure out it that actually means to walk with God these last couple of weeks
• I’m familiar with the usual explanations and biblical references
○ but I’m not convinced that people who came up with those explanations are actually walking with God
• for know, I think walking with God:
○ it implies a degree of intimacy with God beyond the norm (it’s not merely being “religious” or a “believer”)
○ it indicates an ongoing awareness of God — not sporadic moments of devotion
○ which implies, a person’s ongoing experience of God in their ordinary activities

So, whatever humility is, we want it, because it plays an important role in walking with God

Anyone can discover the spiritual benefit of humility

The most wicked king to ever rule Israel was Ahab (1 Ki. 21:25-26)

Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah . . . saying, “Do you see how Ahab humbled himself before Me? Because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the evil in his days . . .” (1 Ki. 21:27-29)

The most wicked king to ever rule Judah was Manasseh (2 Ki. 21:1-9)

When he was in distress, he entreated the LORD his God and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers. When he prayed to Him, He was moved by his entreaty and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem to his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD was God (2 Chr. 33:10-13)

Paul argues that humility is the key to a healthy spiritual community

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but for the interests of others (Php. 2:1-4)

– he then presents Jesus as the Christian ideal of humility

. . . who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped (or, “something to cling to,” v. 6)

• Jesus made himself nothing to achieve God’s goal
• later Paul will say he was once something, but he too left all to gain Jesus

Therefore, we are capable of learning humility

What humility is not

Low self-esteem or self-contempt
– not healthy psychologically or spiritually

Intentionally performing degrading acts
– when a degrading job has to be done, humility does it
• but it doesn’t do anything with the intention of degrading itself

Playing a role
– blatant conceit is ugly, but almost every bit as ugly is false humility
– store clerks and servers in restaurants play the role of a servant to the customer, but it’s something they turn on and off

Resisting or resenting acts of humility or being humbled
– we may submit to being taken down a notch if we can’t help it
• but it is not humility if we can’t let go of what we once had or if we can’t shut up about it

Feeling guilty for who we are or what we have
– for example, being a North American, being able to own a home
• it’s not okay to be complacent regarding the suffering of others
○ and it’s definitely wrong to prosper from another’s oppression
• it can sometimes be a challenge to receive God’s grace “gracefully”
○ because we know it is undeserved
– humility does not feel guilty for what it has, but grateful

What humility is

Knowing and acknowledging that you’re not the best
– not the smartest, not the strongest, not the holiest

Not needing anyone to notice your piety – or intelligence, or talent

A willingness to let go of things when the time comes

Accepting God’s down-grading of your position, status, reputation
– in fact, it’s more that “accepting,” it is learning to appreciate the gift of stepping down, or aside

Being at peace with where God chooses to place you
– and when he chooses to give someone else more than you

If we want to walk humbly with God, he will help us

He’ll help liberate us from our self-delusion
– our part is to be willing to hear the whole truth about ourselves
• most people, and many Christians, run from this

When you meet a person for the first time, a friend may ask, “What were your impressions of so-and-so?”
– we can give a fairly objective response regarding the person’s strengths and weaknesses, virtues and faults
○ humility is being able to see ourselves with this same objectivity
○ but it’s impossible to see ourselves this way through our own eyes

CONC: Where does this leave us?

Humility is not some horrible or dreadful state
– we love God – we want more time to enjoy him
• more time to enjoy everything beautiful with him

Humility enables us to move that direction
– it enables us to release our desperate grasp on everything else
– it gives us more room for God
• and in this way we enjoy more happiness and a more blessed life

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