It’s the second Monday of Lent and I have a confession to make. I have sinned. I have been wicked and done evil. I have rebelled and departed from your commandments and your laws. I have not obeyed your servants the prophets. I am shamefaced because I haven’t paid any attention to your Word.
The Psalmist asks God: “Remember not against us the iniquities of the past; may your compassion quickly come to us, for we are brought very low” (Psalm 79;8).
The Apostle Paul adds: “I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Am I cultivating the art of being brought low?
Aristotle taught there were four virtues: wisdom, self-control, courage, and justice. Christians add the theological virtues of “faith, hope and love.” Pope Gregory added the capital virtues, “chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility”.
For most, the toughest virtue to form is the practice of “being brought low” (aka humility).
If you don’t practice this habit, God will “make you low” like He did King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel 4:30 describes the king walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, saying “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?”
“The toughest virtue to practice is humility.”
There is no second chance in Jesus’ parable of the rich man. (cf Luke 12:16)
How do I know when I am living the low life?
No one wants to live like an animal for seven years or have their lives cut short. Jesus describes four actions of the low life in Luke 6:36-38:
- “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
- “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
- “Forgive and you will be forgiven.
- “Give and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you.”