This is part 7 of 8 parts in my series over Andrew Murray’s Humility: The Journey Toward Holiness (Bethany House, Minneapolis, MN, 2001)
Humility cannot be something I pretend to have. I must desire it and daily seek it. The lack of humility is too plainly seen in our words toward other believers. It is okay to have an opinion about something, but it must always be seasoned with grace. Disagreements will happen within relationships with other believers and within churches, but we have a choice to view others in the grace of Christ. It is too easy to become legalistic and view others we have conflict with through our own lens of right and wrong. (64)
What I have to keep remembering is that I am a ransomed sinner. Nothing in who I am or who I was, is good enough for God. I am a sinner, but my sins don’t keep me humble. My remembrance of God’s redemptive love does. God doesn’t want us to sin, but He will use our sins to show us His grace. Grace becomes real and precious to us when we clearly see the freedom we have been given. We don’t keep on sinning to receive more grace (Romans 6: 1-2). We live in His glorious grace because we have been saved from our sins. (70-71)
How does knowing I am a ransomed sinner have anything to do with humility? Many people think that remembering your sin is what keeps you humble. Yet if that was the case, how was Jesus our example of humility? He never sinned. Jesus showed humility by “… the displacement of self by the enthronement of God.” ( Murray 69) Jesus removed His own self and pointed the glory to God. On the other hand, dwelling on sin will make you feel defeated and depressed. Dwelling on God’s grace will make you humble and grateful. Let’s not be so caught up in our shame over sinfulness. Jesus paid the price: confess your sin and walk in grace. Be filled with the Holy Spirit and use what was your shame as your testimony to the greatness of God. (69, 73)
How amazing is it that God uses our shame as a testimony? The shame of when I willingly walked away from God. The shame when Satan kept saying “You blew it. God will never want to use you again. How could God use you? You are damaged goods. You are nothing but a hypocrite. Who will ever listen to what you have to say if they knew what you did?”
I say that it is amazing that God uses our shame as a testimony, but to be honest, I hid that shame for years. I hid it because I thought people would think less of me if they knew my whole story. I did think that I would come across as a hypocrite. When God finally pressed on my heart to share this season of sin with people, in a small group setting, I was terrified. My heart raced, I got sweaty, and really thought I was going to throw-up. It is because true vulnerability is scary. Yet, time and time again, when I share my heart and the sin I hid, God has used it as a blessing. It has saved others from falling into the same sin. It has allowed some to confess the same sin and feel relieved that they weren’t the only ones who fell in that way. It has allowed me to talk with other young women about this issue and how God walked with me through the process of repenting from this sin.
Still, I wish I hadn’t had that chapter in my life story labeled “Walking Away: Premarital Sex”. I wish I hadn’t listened to the lies of Satan when he said “you deserve it. You have always been so good and followed all of the rules. You are getting married anyway.” I wish my story I share with young women in serious relationships was the story of pure virginity. So many of my good friends had that story and the ones who knew I messed up, well I felt judged and unworthy. Yet, pure virginity is not my story. I hid in my shame and I was broken in my sin, because never before had I really felt like I purposefully sinned.
Then I walked away from God because I felt like I was the screw-up and He would never use me again. I believed the lies of Satan that I was never going to be good enough for God to use. Years of my life, I hid and didn’t serve like I had before. My pride kept me from sharing the forgiveness of Christ because I didn’t think I deserved the grace of God. I had lived too long thinking that since I did good things, God loved me. I got the grace of God because I earned it. Now that I had chosen to walk away, I didn’t deserve it. I had disqualified myself from service to God.
I am beyond thankful that God’s grace isn’t determinant whether I feel like I qualify for it. It was honestly in the thick of my sin when Jesus STILL chose to die for me. Was God happy that I chose to walk away? No, He wasn’t. Did He still use this time to bring about His glory: Yes! And I am unworthy of that grace. I am nothing in the face of my glorious savior and yet He still loves me. That is the nature of humility.