When Jesus Makes You Smile
“Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3
humble (Greek: tapeinoó) – With the believer (“show humility, true lowliness”) happens by being fully dependent on the Lord – dismissing reliance upon self (self-government) and emptying carnal ego. This exalts the Lord as our all-in-all and prompts the gift of His fullness in us.*
meek (Greek: praus) – This difficult-to-translate root (pra-) means more than “meek.” Biblical meekness is not weakness but rather refers to exercising God’s strength under His control – i.e. demonstrating power without undue harshness…gentleness…and strength*
Some time around two years ago, give or take, I took a deep breath and prayed a prayer very slowly, with a bit of fear and trembling. I even hesitated at first because I knew that for this prayer to be realized there would most likely be situations that would be more than uncomfortable. I even told DAD not to tell Nathan I was praying it because he’d have to go through “whatever” with me and he might not be too happy to know it was a result of his wife’s prayers!
Finally, I got it out.
(Big inhale.) “Lord, let humility be our banner. Let us be marked by humility.” (Exhale…a few times.)
Humility has always been this part of Jesus that I wanted but had a hard time understanding it – visualizing it. I knew it didn’t mean someone who got run all over but I also knew it meant a level of selflessness that I/we were having a hard time grasping. I knew it was a type of confidence in God that gave one such peace in who they were in Christ, that they didn’t feel the need to prove themselves while also giving them the confidence to take a stand for Christ and Truth when the opportunity presented itself. I also understood that we as humans have a hard time living in the ways of God; we swing from one extreme to the other. From self-degradation to arrogance. But I wanted it for myself, for my husband, and for my children so badly. It was this beautiful dream that I wanted to realize with my man and my children by my side.
Whenever I pray specific things for my family, I do so realizing that ultimately I can only choose my own obedience and pray for theirs. Their hearts and minds are God’s territory, but that doesn’t stop me from praying for Him to do crazy amazing things! (It’s rather fun to do that and then watch Him work it all out and they not know why He is. Kind of like having secrets with DAD:)!)
Well, needless to say DAD has allowed several situations to break, refine, purify, restore – humble us over these two years. Some from our own sinful choices, some from other’s sinful choices, some from the situations where we were just given a choice on how to respond. The last one is my favorite because it’s in those moments where I recognize Jesus’ nearness as I seek Him on how to respond in order to bless others and honor Him…to make Him known to others. Honestly, the description that comes to mind is “sweet communion.” Communion with Jesus is how we really learn from Him. It gives me the closest visual of what the disciples had with Jesus as they walked, talked, and learned together.
I had to get over this expectation that what I considered “little personality traits” that I didn’t like about myself weren’t too small a thing to bring to Jesus. I had felt these were just areas you didn’t have as a believer of twenty years; I thought something was really wrong with me! Then I had a sweet friend say in very practical, simple, loving words, “Those are times I tell Jesus, ‘I don’t want to do this right now, but I know You want me to. I need Your strength.'” I ADORE THE SIMPLICITY OF JESUS! We are the ones who say He makes us jump through hoops, that He requires more than we can give. JESUS’ LIFE, DEATH, AND RESURRECTION BRIDGED EVERY GAP AND ELIMINATED ANY OBSTACLE IN OUR WAY. It really is as simple as pausing, talking to Jesus, and choosing His way. There may be an internal struggle, but when you really want to do something, when you’re overtaken by love for your Savior, you ultimately lay everything else aside – excuses, feelings, selfishness – and do the thing!
And when you do, you may get to experience something like what I did yesterday. I was driving to meet my man for lunch, when DAD “sat” and showed me the beauty of humility…the result of some choices I had made with Him under the banner of humility. He knew it hadn’t been easy, He also knew we’d have to keep at this and that there would be other times I would have to be humbled because I didn’t choose His Way. Really, walking in humility is like saying I am walking in love or gentleness or patience or self-control or… (Gal. 5:23-24); they are alike because what I’m really saying is, “I’m walking hand in hand with Jesus in this…without letting go!” And I know what it’s like to walk hand-in-hand but choose at the last moment to let go of the opportunity I had to glorify Him over myself. When I hold on tighter instead of releasing my grip, when I call out to Him instead of biting my tongue, I get to experience the sweetest stuff with my Savior.
Yesterday on that car ride, Jesus made me smile as He showed me the beauty of Himself in an occasion where I chose to go against my normal way of thinking and see things from someone else’s and His point of view. Then, there were, as my friend Melanie says, “all the things.” There was His peace, His joy, His grace and mercy, His abounding love. He really is that good…that faithful. Jesus may speak simply, but He shows up simply amazing!