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Recipe for Revival Part one: Humble Yourselves — 31 Comments

  1. He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to WALK HUMBLY WITH YOUR GOD? Micah 6:8

  2. Amen. I remember a bulletin joke. One said What can I do in church I am not good in anything? And, other say Great! humbleness is first condition for service. Evidently to be useless is no humbleness at all. Humble is to deny oneself and take up daily cross.

  3. Yes sir, humility, by its very definition, is something that goes against our human nature. It’s not something we achieve by trying; nor is it perfected by practice. It’s a gift; just like courage, faith, repentance and wisdom. As Christians living in the lukewarm, self-complacent, self-praising Laodicean era, we should make it our regular habit to ask God for humility daily. Prayer like this should be yours and mine:

    Lord, take away the spirit of pride from me,
    Instill within me the humility of Jesus,
    And that of your servant Moses.
    Help me receive the treasures you promised Laodicea:
    Gold refined by fire—which is faith and love,
    The white garment of righteousness,
    And eye ointment so I may clearly see my dire spiritual state.

    • I was fascinated of your text. For that is my prayer for these week. Could you pls. explain to me further the difference between submission and obedience. May the Grace of God bestow upon us.. Thank you in advance.

      • Edward, there is no true obedience without submission. Submission to what? God's power to create a new creature. Realize the truth of Jeremiah 13:23 and John 15:5, and then believe the promises of Psalm 18:32 and Jude 24.(just a few of many)

        The work of sinners is yielding to the influence of the Holy Spirit which is promised upon condition: self(our own natural will) must perish. (Galatians 2:20)

        Romans 7 is the struggle of the sinner trying to be a saint, Romans 8 is the experience of the sinner being crucified with Christ, and living by the Spirit which only happens if nothing remains between our soul and the Savior. The fight of faith is with self, submitting ourselves completely to God's will. Simple, but not easy, since it goes against every natural impulse. We cannot change ourselves. But we can submit to God's power to change us. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

        • Robert, this thing about submission is a tricky thing for how can a sinner submit when the problem of sin prevents it (Rom 8:7; 7:14). Besides the entirety of Romans 7 is written in the present tense which to me means that Paul was describing his own present experience after conversion. I am glad that you realize the necessity of Christ's intervention when you say, "We cannot change ourselves." Indeed it is a struggle that will follow us to the grave, something that Paul was working on towards the end of his life (Phil 3:12).

          It is true that we can choose but to submit requires a changed heart which is something we cannot do ourselves. I think Paul made that clear in his closing remarks in Rom 7 through the first verse of Rom 8:

          O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God-- through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.
          There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (Rom. 7:24-8:1 NKJV)

          To walk according to the Spirit is to set one's mind on the things of God and to Paul that was made possible "through Jesus Christ our Lord."

          I like what Ellen White says on this subject:

          Many are inquiring, "How am I to make the surrender of myself to God?" You desire to give yourself to Him, but you are weak in moral power, in slavery to doubt, and controlled by the habits of your life of sin. Your promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand. You cannot control your thoughts, your impulses, your affections. The knowledge of your broken promises and forfeited pledges weakens your confidence in your own sincerity, and causes you to feel that God cannot accept you; but you need not despair. What you need to understand is the true force of the will. This is the governing power in the nature of man, the power of decision, or of choice. Everything depends on the right action of the will. The power of choice God has given to men; it is theirs to exercise. You cannot change your heart, you cannot of yourself give to God its affections; but you can choose to serve Him. You can give Him your will; He will then work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Thus your whole nature will be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ; your affections will be centered upon Him, your thoughts will be in harmony with Him. (Steps to Christ, p 47.1)

        • Tyler, how does the problem of sin prevent our submitting to God when God promised at the very entrance of sin in this world to place enmity between Satan and the repentant sinner? Keep in mind that Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would convict "the world of sin, of righteousness and judgment". God will not intervene uninvited, but when we exercise faith (a gift to every soul) in God's promises, the power is given to submit as God plants the desire for it in our hearts. He works in us to will and do, but we must do the willing and doing by the grace He supplies. It's our choice.

          Romans 7 was Paul's (and every other sinner's) experience before submitting to God's grace. It is the legalist's way of living the "christian" life apart from Christ...impossible and does not bring us peace. Paul was describing the vain attempts of trusting in our own ability apart from the power of the Holy Spirit. Read the complete thought as it is written in both chapters 7 & 8. It's quite clear.

          Paul, while speaking present tense, was not having that struggle at that time. It was to illustrate the futility of our own ability. His thoughts revealed in the verses you quoted prove this. He was writing this letter to the Romans by the power of the Holy Spirit which was his daily source of strength, and can be ours too. None of us need to be stuck in Romans 7 with the message of Romans 8 clearly revealed.

          "Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,..." Jude 24

          Yes, the quote from SC is perfect isn't it? A favorite.

        • "Tyler, how does the problem of sin prevent our submitting to God when God promised at the very entrance of sin in this world to place enmity between Satan and the repentant sinner? Keep in mind that Jesus promised the Holy Spirit would convict “the world of sin, of righteousness and judgment”. God will not intervene uninvited, but when we exercise faith (a gift to every soul) in God’s promises, the power is given to submit as God plants the desire for it in our hearts."

          Actually, Robert, you just reinforced my point. I simply thought the way you wrote your comment seemed to say that we have to submit BEFORE God can do anything. I am glad that you clarified the point in this comment that submitting is a product of God's intervention and power.

          As for Rom 7, "Paul, while speaking present tense, was not having that struggle at that time" is an assumption you have made based on your theology. I don't have to assume anything, I just look at the verb tense and make a conclusion based on it.

        • Tyler, you wrote: "As for Rom 7, “Paul, while speaking present tense, was not having that struggle at that time” is an assumption you have made based on your theology. I don’t have to assume anything, I just look at the verb tense and make a conclusion based on it."

          What is the verb tense in Romans 8? How much later was it when he wrote that? How did he become so full of the Holy Spirit if struggling as a legalist? How did he "die daily" if having the Romans 7 experience which is the opposite of dying to self?

          We only have to look at Paul's life to see that his example in Romans 7 was not his actual experience as he was unfolding the gospel to the Roman Christians in his letter to them. I suppose a similar example would be the parable of Lazarus and the rich man told by Jesus in Luke 16. How literal to we take these teachings given the other evidence of scripture? Paul wrote to the Romans after his letters to Thessalonica, Galatia and Corinth. Was he still having this failure to "measure up", or was he fighting a good fight and daily dying in full submission to His Lord? The letter to Rome must be read in its completeness and not analysed in separate pieces.

        • Ok, I will try to explain how I view Romans 7 & 8.

          Back in Rom 7 Paul said, "I thank God-- through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin" (Rom. 7:25 NKJV) which follows his statement concerning the war of the two laws (v 23). Unlike the carnal mind Paul delighted in the law and serving God and because of that he was walking according to the Spirit.

          In Rom 8 he follows up on what he said in Rom 7, "For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit" (Rom. 8:5 NKJV). While he had his mind on the things of the Spirit he could see that he was having trouble when it came to the flesh because the two laws were at war with each other and the result of that was what he describes in Rom 7.

          Right here I would like to ask an interesting question concerning this, do you think Paul was without sin and perfect? If not, then I would like to suggest that the war he describes Rom 7 was active in his life and that all too often he was losing some of those battles just like we all do. The ideal, of course, is not to sin but personally I have yet to meet anyone who could honestly claim that victory.

          As far as I am concerned we simply have to recognize that we have an ongoing battle with sin unless we wish to declare that because of the indwelling Spirit we are entirely without sin and can do no wrong which is something I think John would argue against (1 Jn 1:8). At least in this life the only way we are without sin that I know of is through justification which is a declaration rather than an actuality. Sanctification doesn't do it because it is the ongoing process of growing up into Christ which doesn't stop or as Ellen White would say, "As long as Satan reigns we shall have self to subdue, besetments to overcome, and there is no stopping place, there is no point to which we can come and say we have fully attained" (1Testimonies, p 340.2) which is what Paul said in Philippians 3:12 concerning himself. In other words we are not sinless but are sinners saved by grace through faith because we set our minds on serving God rather than the flesh. We have our minds on doing good and following Christ but our nature constantly fights against that and quite often trips us up - that is the battle we have every minute of every day.

        • Tyler, the experience that Paul outlines in Romans 7 is the experience of defeat. It is living apart from Christ while focused on the law as the guide of one's conduct while trying to measure up in one's own strength. Read from Romans 6:1 to 8:14 as a single letter, which it was/is. Copy and paste it into a document and remove all chapter and verse numbers and read it as it was written. If you read the portion that describes the war that takes place between the law and the flesh by itself, you have what is called legalism. This is the result of man trying to keep the law apart from Christ.

          Keep the admonitions and counsel of Romans 6, all of 7 and the first 14 verses of Romans 8 in mind as you study that portion where he is describing the natural result of weak flesh. Also keep in mind the hopeful letters written earlier to the Galatians, Corinthians and Thessalonians. Same Author(Holy Spirit) and writer(Paul).

          Was Paul sinless? What did he say? But he also said he had fought a good fight (of faith), kept the course, and had a crown of victory waiting for him. That is not the experience outlined in Romans 7:5-24, which is the very point he is making about the life of constant failure apart from faith. Yes, the flesh and the law cannot agree and never will, so the flesh must "die" by faith daily. This is how God is able to "keep you from falling..."! (Jude 24) If I am experiencing the Romans 7 defeat, it is because I have not entered into the experience of Romans 6 & 8.

          Perhaps we are in greater agreement than our explanations seem to reveal? I don't think you really believe Paul was failing to fight a good fight. How could the Holy Spirit have been so evident in his life if that was the case? It is insubordination that keeps God's people from being filled by the Holy Spirit today.

      • Edward our school teachers tell us that we can many times get the defination of words from text. My prayer is that your question so elequently answered by Robert, would also be answered by this paragraph from 'The Desire of ages page 756. "Amid the awful darkness, apparently forsaken of God, Christ had drained the last dregs in the cup of human woe. In those dreadful hours He had relied upon the evidence of His Fathers acceptence heretofore given Him. He was acquionted with the character of His Father; He understood His justice, His mercy, and His great love. By faith He rested in Him whome it had everbeen His joy to obey. And as in submission He comitted Himself to God, the sense of the loss of His Fathers favor was withdrawn. By faith, Christ was victor."
        After reading that I fell on my knees and cryed Holy, Holy, got up and found obedience was no longer a presured act, rather a joy, to be in complience with my Fathers will. God bless you Edward

  4. One does not exercise humbleness secretly, because true humbleness is associated with the kind of life Christ lived here on earth which involved both God and man. Even our fellow man is always there to speak about the level of our humbleness.

  5. I am confused about the 6th paragraph. Don't we need to understand how corrupt and imperfect we are before we know that we need to accept Jesus in our lives? That we, ourselves, are imperfect and must depend totally on His perfect Spirit to live a life pleasing to the God we love?

    Please explain why recognizing that we all are imperfect is a prideful attitude.

    • Good question, Celeste. Keeping in mind the subject of humility as expressed in this article, I seem to catch the truth from the sixth paragraph that we can listen to what others say such as this family and gain personal education about our own pride and how it is possibly demonstrated in the words we speak and how we speak them. When we feel we must defend ourselves and our actions by reminding someone that "no one is perfect," we may be experiencing inner discomfort caused by pride that has nothing to do with realizing our need for Jesus. Instead, we may be focused on our supposed need to defend ourselves.

    • Thank you all for contributing to our online Sabbath School discussion. Celeste, thank you for your question and it is a good one. Maybe I did not express the real issue well or maybe it was one of those “you had to be there” moments. The emphasis was on how “Not even US!” are perfect. It would have been much better received if they would have just said no one is perfect. The “Not even US” and the way it was presented made it obvious that they held themselves in much higher regard than others, thus why we had to be assured that not even they were perfect. But as I said, that is not unique to that family.

  6. Something interesting concerning humble, is the origin of the English word we use today. It is "Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin humilis low, humble, from humus earth; akin to Greek chthōn earth, chamai on the ground."

    Humus earth? Humus is the organic element of soil, made up of partially decomposed plant or animal matter. In other words: humus is that which has ceased taking and is now giving, providing health and vigor to all the plants growing in the garden. So we could say that adding humus to the soil brings revival to the garden.

  7. WoW even at our greatest victory, we will humble ourselves and give, in humility, glory to Christ by casting down the very crowns, symbols of our victory... !

  8. I think I understand now. You must have seen that it came from the heart of "self" and not the heart that loves "Jesus." I have seen acts of piety for self sake rather than in expressing truth. (A convicting word indeed.)

  9. Thank you. You present a much different perspective than the "storming heaven" image Mr. Finley presents in his companion book. Humble seems more appropriate.

  10. Once I heard a sermon on this subject and it was mentioned a book with the title 'Lord I thought that I was humble!' I tried to search for the book but could not find it. Did anybody heard or read this book?

  11. In reference to the discussions of Tyler and Robert, I would like to add something, if I may.

    I know when I am walking in the flesh because I feel myself struggling with sin. I may not have committed the sin I was struggling against it, trying to do the righteous thing. (Paul is explaining that wrestling in Rom.7:14-24.) Even when I choose the right way, I know I did it with my own power and found there still was an element of sin—I did it!

    Now I take a different course. Instead of living in the struggle, which is the way I find out I am living in the flesh, I seek to move back into the Spirit where God's righteousness lives. (Rom. 8:2-5) I don't fight the sin anymore, or TRY to do what is right. (Rom.8:9) I seek after God to save me from it. (Rom 8:11). I know when the Spirit comes, because the struggle ends. The sin loses its power.

    If you find yourself in a terrible struggle against the sin within you, you are depending on your flesh for righteousness. You are that wretched man who needs deliverance. (Rom. 7:24) Who will deliver you? Certainly not yourself! Even if you think you’ve succeeded, you've failed in God's eyes because you trusted in your own strength and not in the Lord who made you. It’s like saying you don’t need God’s strength to battle sin. Also, when you trust in Jesus instead of yourself, the struggle ends because He had already finished the fight. “It is finished.” (John 19:30) He already won the battle. When we walk in His power, the sin that caused the struggle in the first place withers away; therefore the struggle no longer takes place. Peace is given.

    After Jesus died and resurrected, and after we were given the Holy Spirit, the only answer when we find ourselves in the struggle is to seek to walk in Him. (Matt. 11:28, 29) The flesh serves the flesh and the spirit serves the Spirit. Don’t walk in the flesh. Walk in the Spirit.

    • Celeste, I'm wondering whether you are acquainted with Bill Liversidge and his "Victory in Jesus" series and book. The way he likes to put it is that we are to put on the mind of Jesus. (Phil 2:5-8) And the mind of Jesus is not attracted to sin. Hence no struggle.

      I also like to use the image of being "in Jesus." (Romans 6:1-11, Romans 8:1-2, 2 Corinthians 5:17)

      I believe that's also what Paul meant when he wrote that "Whoever abides in Him does not sin." (1 John 3:6)

      I highly recommend Bill Liversidge's teaching. He can be seen on satellite free-to-air TV throughout the world on LLBN, HopeTV and TBN. I TBN broadcasts the series on the cable networks in the US as well. (We were delighted that he put on a weekend seminar in one of our little local churches just a week or so ago.)

      You can listen to some of his sermons through MP3 files downloadable at http://www.creativemediaministries.org/sermons.html

      • "Hence no struggle"? While in this present world? Why did Jesus often spend entire nights in prayer? Was there no struggle for Jesus in Gethsemane? Why did He pray the same prayer 3 times? Why then was an angel sent to revive Him? Was His temptation in the wilderness without struggle? If so, then His experience is not like ours and He could not be acquainted with our trials.

        There would also be no need to "fight the good fight of faith" or to "resist the devil...". Unless I'm missing something. Yet Paul, who wrote "let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus" also wrote "I die daily". This daily dying is not an effortless process, but is a battle over the still living flesh(sinful nature) which remains in direct conflict with the will of God. He also admonished the Hebrews that they had not yet "resisted unto blood, striving against sin". This would harmonize with the teaching of the Master Himself who said; "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."

        If you read Early Writings pg 269-271 you find a people facing a terrific ongoing struggle before they receive the latter rain and have the Seal of God placed upon them. Notice the brief opening paragraph: "I saw some, with strong faith and agonizing cries, pleading with God. Their countenances were pale and marked with deep anxiety, expressive of their internal struggle. Firmness and great earnestness was expressed in their countenances; large drops of perspiration fell from their foreheads. Now and then their faces would light up with the marks of God’s approbation, and again the same solemn, earnest, anxious look would settle upon them."

        Yes, as we fight the good fight, temptation will lose it's power and those things that once seemed attractive will grow strangely dim and lose their appeal as we experience the joy of salvation, yet we will still be able to fall and must gain new heights daily. Adam and Eve were not sinful by nature and yet they fell. The highest and most exalted of creatures, the one most like God Himself, also fell, and this without the daily struggle that we must face to keep God supreme in our lives while fallen in nature. The battle with self is the greatest ever to be fought and we cannot lay down our weapons until changed in the twinkling of an eye. Then eternal Rest from this warfare!

        It occurred to me that I should add this: the struggle does not equal sinning. The struggle is to maintain the victory over the temptation to sin. Don't think for a moment that the 3 Hebrews did not have an internal struggle to remain faithful with the threat held over the heads of everyone on the Plain of Dura. We have to realize many other Jewish captives where on that plain with them, yet only 3 stood in the middle of the flames with the Son of God. It's the struggle of faith that brings victory. If we don''t struggle, we will sin. (Heb 12:4) Read the rest of the chapter in Early Writings(above) to see what happens to those who do not struggle.

        Have you ever spoken with an alcoholic? Even after going years without a drink, they face the struggle daily to give in to their natural thirst. Same with many ex-smokers. They, like all struggling sinners, live in hope of the promised rest that Jesus will give to His good and faithful servants.

        • Hi Robert,

          Thank you for rounding out the picture 🙂

          Christ's struggle was to remain in submission to the Father's will and not to use His own divine power to deliver Himself. He was not tempted by the ordinary things that tempt us -- the temptations that come from our own selfish, sinful nature.

          Christ won the victory even over the strongest temptations to rely on self that Satan could throw at Him. And His victory can be ours, if we consent for Him to identify Himself with our thoughts and aims -- if we allow His mind to be in us, or, as Paul put it -- if we remain "in Christ."

          Our greatest struggle is always with self (similar to Christ's struggle not to depend on His own divine power), and that means that our greatest struggle is to submit to Christ, so what we can have His mind in us. And, as long as His mind, with the victory He won, is in us, we do not sin. We are not even attracted to sin, unless we lose our focus. (Realistically speaking, growth in sanctification is growth in that connection with Jesus. Few are at the place of being connected 14/7. Hence we all struggle. If, instead of focusing on Christ, we focus on avoiding sin, our struggle will be magnified many times. And, in fact, we will be depending on self -- whether or not we give in to a particular sin.)

          The struggle is in remaining submitted to Christ, not with specific sins. If we focus on trying not to sin, we are sure to fall. If, on the other hand, we focus on Christ and consent to have His mind in us, He assures us victory over sin. (1 John 3:6) We can trust Him with that. And that trust will allow us to experience the joy He came to bring. (John 17:13)

          As for alcoholics -- I do know that the daily struggle gets less as they learn to live a life without alcohol and with trust in Jesus. But it comes back with a vengeance when they are stressed and lose their rest in Jesus. And so it is with all other addictions. There is hope for the addict that the struggle will get less in time, as long as their focus remains on Jesus and the positive plans He has for their lives. In fact, as long as they live lives focused on Christ, most come to the place that the addiction is only a faint memory. It's the focus that counts. (A focus on avoiding the temptation will be sure to strengthen the temptation and heighten the struggle.)

        • Exactly Inge! We who are accustomed to doing evil cannot do good, so the struggle against sinning is futile and over before it starts. The fight to remain in Christ, abiding as the branch, taking His yoke...etc, is our fight, and is how we go about "striving against sin". While in this sinful world, our natural impulse will always draw us away if we give in to it. Like Peter, we will sink every time if we are not walking side by side with Jesus. Having the "faith of Jesus" means to simply pray; "not my will, but thine be done" at every step of the way.

  12. Robert Whiteman – Your comments were excellent. Thank you for your passion. However; although I sense that you said them to dispute what I said in my blog, I find that your references in fact prove them.

    Here’s one example why.

    You mention Jesus in Gethsemane. Was He struggling? It is the very reason why Jesus became flesh. So that He would experience the same fight against temptation. Here’s the same cycle I spoke of. First was the fleshly affect of knowing what was to come. Fear of the suffering not only on His flesh--the pain of the beatings, humiliation, and hanging on the cross--but also in taking on all the sins of the world as the sacrificial Lamb of God. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice because He suffered temptation without sin. The second part was seeking God. Here He was very human, and knew He had to look to His Father if He is to be saved from the death He was to suffer. Please, please, please, “Let this cup pass.” Here comes the Spirit which is where His victory was won. Here came the strength to go on without fear. “Not my will by Thy Will be done.” I believe at this point He saw through His Father’s eyes and He was encouraged to go on. When He saw the bigger picture, His own suffering to come became endurable.

    Some references: Ja. 1:14; 1 Cor. 10:13; Eph. 2:8-9; Matt. 6:13; Ja. 4: 6-8; Matt. 11:28-29; Heb. 4:1-3; Luke 9:23; Col. 2:11-15; 3:1-12; 1 John 3.

    I got kicked out of a Baptist church when I received a great revelation from God that I didn’t have to sin anymore because Christ set me free, and I was free indeed. Didn’t Paul speak as to babies because the people were still struggling with sin? Let’s grow up. Let’s enter our rest. Let’s pick up our cross daily as we render our sinful natures dead on that cross. Let’s move on from the battle of sin to the more important battle for the salvation of souls. When Christ has proved his righteousness in us, let us go on with Him and in His great Power to do His work. What do you say? You with me?

    • Celeste, I only disagreed with the thought that there is no more struggle in this life, and yes, I wanted to clear that up. I think I should point out that our fight is NOT against sin, but against trying in our own feeble strength, relying on our own finite wisdom to live a holy life.

      Jesus' struggle was to relinquish His will and accept His Father's will. The humanity, as you mentioned, feared exceedingly what He faced, and He had the power to walk away and leave us to our eternal fate. A few day's earlier Moses and Elijah had encouraged Him for this moment and His faith won the victory over His fear. It would have been no sin for Jesus to walk away from the trial.

      Our struggle is the same; our will vs God's will as revealed in His word and the life of Jesus. Self often seeks it's own desires and none are exempt in one form or another. Satan has a thousand ways to lead us to fall, but walking close to Jesus brings victory over temptation and sin. It's the walking close that we often struggle with, yielding at every step.

      No, we don't have to sin or it would be excusable, it's always our choice. Often habits will make it easy to fall, but when we find the Way, the Truth and the Life, and maintain a living connection, victory comes, but must come often. It's a constant battle while remaining in this life.

      I would feel it safe to assume all reading these comments would say "Amen" to your suggestion to finish this work.


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