Devotions from Tri-City ELCA Pastors – Vicar Anand Darla of Good Shepherd South Asian Ministries, March 2, 2021

Devotion for March 2, 2021 from Vicar Anand Darla of Good Shepherd South Asian Ministries:

Example of Self-denial to High degree of Glory -Christ 

By Vicar Anand GSSAM Fremont 

Self-denial” – I got so much attention last Sunday sermon by Pr Geraldine King on self-denial. “The Virtue of Being Last.” That title would seem offensive to the culture in which you and I live because everybody wants to be first – number one – that’s the whole idea. Humility is not viewed as a virtue in our culture, and it wasn’t viewed as a virtue in ancient pagan culture, either. And it’s not just a cultural issue. Humility is foreign to fallen DNA. Humility is alien to the human heart. 

The human heart, every human heart, every fallen human heart, is a relentless worshiper of itself. It is the nature of man to be dominated by pride. In a bizarre, convoluted emphasis in our society to diagnose people’s ills because they lack self-esteem, our culture has poured gas on a fire. Nobody lacks self-esteem – that’s a lie. People are dominated by self-esteem, dominated by pride, it just comes in many forms. And in those forms, people manipulate the things around them and the people around them the way they want to manipulate them and using the means they use. 

Nobody lacks self-esteem, everybody is consumed with himself or herself in one way or another. To then diagnose all human ills because people lack self-esteem is to really cry out for people to be prouder when they’re already dominated by deadly pride. It is alien, then, to human life to talk about being humble, to be content to be last. And so, I say if we put a big banner out in front of the any church and said we’re going to have a conference on how to be last, nobody would show. We wouldn’t attract a crowd at all. 

But learning to be humble is essentially finding the foundation of sanctification because this is the very bottom line in what it means to be a Christian. In the wonderful sixty-sixth chapter of Isaiah, God exalts Himself. The Lord says, “Heaven is my throne, the earth is my footstool. Where, then, is a house that you could build for me and where is a place that I may rest? For my hand made all these things. All these things came into being,” declares the Lord. 

God exalts Himself and He has a right to exalt Himself, and He’s the only one in the universe who has a right to exalt Himself. But what He’s looking for in verse 2, “To this one I will look, is the one who is humble and contrite of spirit and trembles at my Word.” God is looking for humble people. Micah 6:8 says, “What does the Lord require of you but to walk humbly with your God?” Luke 14:11, 18:14, our Lord says, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” That is a spiritual principle.

Ephesians 4:1 and2, where we are enjoined to walk worthy of the calling to which we are called, is followed by, “Walk with all humility.” Colossians 3:12, “Put on a heart of humility.” James 4:6, “God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Verse 10, “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord and He will exalt you.” 

Now, humility is hard to learn. It is mandated, but it is hard to learn. Just when you got it, you lost it. As soon as you’ve said to yourself, “I have finally attained humility,” guess what – you can go back to square one, do not pass “Go,” do not collect two hundred dollars. We need to be taught humility, and there are a number of ways in which the Lord has deemed to teach us humility. One is by reading His precept, principle from the Holy scriptures in theBible,2nd  is to follow the Christ, who is the supreme example of humility.

He denied Himself being God and creator and died on cross for all of us. [Philippian 4:8] After He was found in [terms of His] outward appearance as a man [for a divinely appointed time], He humbled Himself [still further] by becoming obedient [to the Father] to the point of death, even death on a cross. So, the need to be more to see greater or higher growth that way the Lord Himself made nothing, so 9For this reason also [because He obeyed and so completely humbled Himself], God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus [b]EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW [in submission], of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth11and that every tongue will confess and openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord (sovereign God), to the glory of God the Father.

May God bless us All 

Amen !

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