RSS Feed

Tag Archives: humility

S.A.N.S. Episode 178: Feel Invincible

Since all three on my children attended a technical high school, concentrating on Culinary Arts, when I think of a skillet its’ another way to cook dinner. However, the Christian Rock band Skillet formed in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1996. While Skillet has a similar sound to Thousand Foot Krutch, they are a little more brash and, in your face, singing with conviction and passion.

Do not give that which is holy (the sacred thing) to the dogs, and do not throw your pearls before hogs, lest they trample upon them with their feet and turn and tear you in pieces, Matthew 7:6.

Human nature has a way of convincing young people that they are invincible. Meanwhile, when a freshman completes their first year of college, many come home for the summer believing that they are smarter than their parents. When you add pride to this equation, feeling invincible is a daily occurrence until God brings humility into your life. May today’s song rock your world toward trusting in the Lord.

by Jay Mankus

The Hour of Trial

Revelation 2 and 3 serve as a first century report card for 7 different churches in Asia. Like a child’s progress report in the first marking period of a new school year, this piece of paper revealed strengths and weaknesses. Everyone responds differently to pressure. During the hour of trial of a test, some students rise to the occasion while others fold under the stress of remembering all they studied.

[You should] be exceedingly glad on this account, though now for a little while you may be distressed by trials and suffer temptations, So that [the genuineness] of your faith may be tested, [your faith] which is infinitely more precious than the perishable gold which is tested and purified by fire. [This proving of your faith is intended] to redound to [your] praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) is revealed, 1 Peter 1:6-7.

According to Matthew 16:18-19, Jesus describes Peter as a spiritual rock. Yet, when Peter faced his own hour of trial following Jesus’ arrest, he failed miserably by denying Jesus three times in public, Mark 14:72. During the first breakfast Jesus has with his disciples after rising from the dead, Jesus restores Peter’s role as a spiritual leader. Yet, this isn’t without disappointment and humility of Peter’s past failure.

 Because you have guarded and kept My word of patient endurance [have held fast the [b]lesson of My patience with the [c]expectant endurance that I give you], I also will keep you [safe] from the hour of trial (testing) which is coming on the whole world to try those who dwell upon the earth. 11 I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one may rob you and deprive you of your crown, Revelation 3:10-11.

One of the 7 churches in Asia receives a message from the angel of the Church in Philadelphia. The passage above serves as a direct warning to Philadelphia. The hour of trial is approaching, perhaps like God’s servant in Job 2:7-9. Those who are alert, sober and spiritually awake will be able to withstand upcoming trials. Those caught off guard like Peter will have to turn to repentance and lean on Jesus for future tests. May this blog prepare you for your own hour of trial.

by Jay Mankus

A Lesson in Humility

When you can’t make your dream job happen, you have to come up with plan B. When plan B fails miserably, you have to scramble to use all of your available resources to hope something will turn up. This is a brief summary of my life over the past 7 months. Following months and months of disappointments, this emotional letdown has taught me a lesson in humility.

A false balance and unrighteous dealings are extremely offensive and shamefully sinful to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight. When swelling and pride come, then emptiness and shame come also, but with the humble (those who are lowly, who have been pruned or chiseled by trial, and renounce self) are skillful and godly Wisdom and soundness, Proverbs 11:1-2.

One of the wisest persons to walk the face of the earth writes about humility in the passage above. King Solomon was no saint who had his own self-destructive practices. Solomon’s love for women led to 700 wives and 300 concubines. This series of poor decisions to indulge his sexual desires resulted in several dysfunctional relationships. Subsequential, Solomon provides his own lessons in humility.

Who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [[b]possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not [c]think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped [d]or retained, But stripped Himself [of all privileges and [e]rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being. And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross! – Philippians 2:6-8.

While I thought my life was bad, the Holy Spirit reminded me of what Jesus went through to save the world from sin. During his own set of temptations in Matthew 4:1-11, Jesus could have bragged about his divine power by turning stones to bread and fly through the air like Superman. Yet, despite being the Son of God, Jesus humbled himself by laying down his own life to save the world, John 3:16-17. The next time you think that your life is so important, consider Jesus’ lesson in humility in the passage above.

by Jay Mankus

Humble Beginnings

King Solomon was the first to state what many people tend to think following an epic collapse or fall from grace in Proverbs 16:18. Pride does call before the fall and results in a reboot or as the Bible suggests a humble beginning. No one likes to start over. Whether this refers to a job, life or video game, being forced to turn the clocks back and start from scratch can be deflating. Yet, humility puts life into its proper perspective.

Let the brother in humble circumstances glory in his elevation [as a Christian, called to the true riches and to be an heir of God], 10 And the rich [person ought to glory] in being humbled [by being shown his human frailty], because like the flower of the grass he will pass away, James 1:9-10.

One Old Testament prophet writes about the nature of death in Isaiah 40:8. Each spring flowers bloom, grass grows and trees become covered by leaves. Unfortunately, by the end of fall, lawns become dormant, leaves fall to the earth and flowers disappear for the year until this cycle repeats itself annually. If you own a house or maintain a property, keeping up weekly maintenance can lead to humble beginnings.

For I do not understand my own actions [I am baffled, bewildered]. I do not practice or accomplish what I wish, but I do the very thing that I loathe [[b]which my moral instinct condemns]. 16 Now if I do [habitually] what is contrary to my desire, [that means that] I acknowledge and agree that the Law is good (morally excellent) and that I take sides with it. 17 However, it is no longer I who do the deed, but the sin [principle] which is at home in me and has possession of me, Romans 7:15-17.

Yet, beneath the surface of every human being, there lies an internal battle that never ends. The apostle Paul writes about this wrestling match in the passage above. Whenever you discover that you’ve become a hypocrite, doing the exact opposite that you want, conviction, guilt and humility will follow. In this age of mental health awareness, your own sinful nature is often the source of your problems. Therefore, the next time you mess up, use this humble beginning as a teachable moment to rise from the ashes of despair.

by Jay Mankus

Changing the Way You See Life

In my adolescence, I was a shallow person. Beside being forced to attend a local Boy Scout troop, I lived and died sports. I even broke up with my high school sweetheart to pursue a state championship. Despite my ambitious attempts to win Concord at least one state title in my four years there, second place was the best that I could do. Rather than enjoy the chance to compete, I let the final result ruin my love for sports.

If then you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth. For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God, Colossians 3:1-3.

While I made my initial confession to follow Jesus in high school, I continued to live according to my sinful nature. My faith was nothing more than a feeling, following God when it was convenient to do so. Subsequently, I struggled with depression throughout high school and into my first year of college. During a weekend at James Madison University, I was introduced to the concept of making Jesus the Lord of your life. Making this decision forever changed the way that I see life.

And the grace (unmerited favor and blessing) of our Lord [actually] flowed out superabundantly and beyond measure for me, accompanied by faith and love that are [to be realized] in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is sure and true and worthy of full and universal acceptance, that Christ Jesus (the Messiah) came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am foremost, 1 Timothy 1:14-15.

For the first 18 years of my life, I was a selfish athlete who only cared about me, myself and I. I was a cocky athlete who believed that I was better than I was. Yet, when I read the statement made by the apostle Paul in the passage above, I came face to face with humility. Despite all the miracles performed and lives he help transformed, Paul considered himself the greatest sinner of all. This one confession taught me a vital lesson, the closer you draw near to Jesus and yield control over to him, the more your sins are unveiled. May the Word of God and prayer help change the way you see life like it did for me.

by Jay Mankus

Living a Mixed Message

While believing in yourself is an important quality to possess, when mixed with superficial wisdom, people tend to change. According to the apostle Paul, a spirit of justification and rationalization often enter human beings, altering their personality. Paul compares this subtle change to a wild animal, unspiritual in nature. If Christians are oblivious to their new attitude, it won’t be long before people of faith begin living out a mixed message.

Who is there among you who is wise and intelligent? Then let him by his noble living show forth his [good] works with the [unobtrusive] humility [which is the proper attribute] of true wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry, selfish ambition) in your hearts, do not pride yourselves on it and thus be in defiance of and false to the Truth, James 3:13-14.

When unobtrusive humility is absent, true wisdom is blocked from unveiling the error of your way. If this trend continues, the door is ajar for the sins of the flesh to enter your life, Galatians 5:18-21. According to the apostle Paul, when you’re not guided by the Holy Spirit, Christians begin to live and send a confusing message. If what you believe isn’t backed up with fruits of the Spirit, faith begins to fall apart and decay.

This [superficial] wisdom is not such as comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual (animal), even devilish (demoniacal). 16 For wherever there is jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry and selfish ambition), there will also be confusion (unrest, disharmony, rebellion) and all sorts of evil and vile practices, James 3:15-16.

The passage above reveals byproducts of a wayward faith. A spirit envy and jealousy led to the downfall of Cain, unable to let go of the root of bitterness and resentment within his heart, Genesis 4:6-9. If you don’t get your way, a spirit of complaining, criticizing and condemning has a tendency to take over. If you want to remove this rebellious nature, pour out your heart to God, James 5:16 so that healing and restoration can begin.

by Jay Mankus

The Ministry of Reconciliation

The ministry of reconciliation dates back to Genesis 3:6-8. After committing original sin, Adam and Eve broke their covenant with God, Genesis 2:15-17. Instead of obeying God’s only rule in the Garden of Eden, the Tree of Knowledge pursued this couple to do what was right in their own eyes. The punishment for their disobedience was expulsion, Genesis 3:22-24.

But all things are from God, Who through Jesus Christ reconciled us to Himself [received us into favor, brought us into harmony with Himself] and gave to us the ministry of reconciliation [that by word and deed we might aim to bring others into harmony with Him], 2 Corinthians 5:18.

In one of 4 letters written to the church at Corinth (only 2 are in the Bible), the apostle Paul introduces the ministry of reconciliation. Sin has a way of changing your priorities, focusing on earthly pleasures rather than eternal treasures. Subsequently, we all go astray, wandering off like a prodigal child until you begin to become home sick. Repentance serves as a U-Turn, fleeing sin by turning around to make peace with God.

Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working], James 5:16.

The earthly brother of Jesus highlights what modern reconciliation resembles. As humility leads troubled souls toward confession, a foundation for revival is laid out for others to follow. When souls are healed and restored, there is an inner desire to help others receive what you have experienced. While the 2020 election will cause many to harbor bitterness in their hearts, may the ministry of reconciliation turns lives around to unite as one.

by Jay Mankus

Rebounding Like a Boomerang

The oldest surviving Australian boomerangs come from a cache found in a peat bog in the Wyrie Swamp of South Australia. Boomerangs date back several thousand years to some of the earliest Aboriginal tribes of Australia. Boomerangs had several initial uses such as hunting weapons, percussive musical instruments, fire-starters and decoys for hunting waterfowl. When thrown with a high spin, the boomerang flies in a curved manner rather than in a straight line. When thrown correctly, boomerangs return to its starting point.

And David says, Let their table (their feasting, banqueting) become a snare and a trap, a pitfall and a just retribution [rebounding like a boomerang upon them]; Romans 11:9.

King David suggests that God allows individuals to stumble and fail. Whenever you experience failure, there are consequences. For example, if you reap what you sow, seeds of doubt, envy or hatred can boomerang back upon you. This is the retribution referred to in the passage above. Addiction, bad habits and poor choices can leave long lasting effects. Yet, humility opens the door for repentance. When individuals learn from their errors, mistakes and sin, faith can rebound like a boomerang.

For he who sows to his own flesh (lower nature, sensuality) will from the flesh reap decay and ruin and destruction, but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint, Galatians 6:8-9.

Perhaps, this explains why the apostle Paul urges believers against giving up. Although your life may be currently falling apart, starting to sow spiritual seeds can turn your life around. Instead of giving into hopelessness, God is not done with you yet. To those who persevere, rising from the ashes of despair is possible with the help of the Holy Spirit. Do not lost heart as Spring is right around the corner. May this blog inspire you to rebound like a boomerang. With God, anything is possible, even a faith in desperate need of renewal and revival.

by Jay Mankus

Another Reason to Give God the Glory

When a college professor repeats an event, fact or theory, this will likely be on the next test.  If a mentor shares the same advice more than once, you might want to listen.  When a pastor recalls an important message preached by Jesus, putting this into practice can be life altering.  Yet, the world is filled with voices telling you to do this or that.  How you respond will influence your fate on earth.

On an appointed day Herod dressed himself in his royal robes, sat on his throne (tribunal, rostrum) and began delivering a speech to the people. 22 The assembled people kept shouting, “It is the voice of a god and not of a man!” – Acts 12:21-22

Jesus’ earthly brother learned a valuable lesson, God’s ways are different from the world, James 4:6.  Humility brings you closer to God rather than taking credit for your own accomplishments.  Jesus warned his followers about pride, quoting the sayings of Solomon, “pride comes before the fall.”  The more you crave and hunger attention, the further you drift away from God.  The attached passage provides individuals with another reason to give God the glory.

And at once an angel of the Lord struck him down because he did not give God the glory [and instead permitted himself to be worshiped], and he was eaten by worms and died [five days later], Acts 12:23.

According to Acts 12, Herod Agrippa I became full of himself.  During a political speech, the crowd was moved.  The more Herod spoke, listeners were in awe, suggesting this king was a god, not a man.  Instead of setting the record straight, Herod reveled in these compliments.  Refusing to embrace humility, an angel of death inflicted Agrippa with a deadly disease as worms ate him from within.  May this warning inspire you to give God the glory.

by Jay Mankus

Responding to Criticism

Censure, denunciation and reproof are examples of criticism. Whenever condemnation comes your way, it’s not pleasant. Some of the accusations made against you may not be credible. Yet, how you respond to criticism will dictate how others will react to you.

A man’s pride and sense of self-importance will bring him down, but he who has a humble spirit will obtain honor, Proverbs 29:23.

After a series of severe tribulations, three of Job’s friends jumped to the same conclusion. Using Old Testament logic, these men associated bad things as a curse from God. In their eyes, Job must have done something wrong to have all of his children die and become inflicted with boils. The book of Job is filled with criticism followed by Job’s response.

Whoever is partner with a thief hates his own life; He hears the curse [when swearing an oath to testify], but discloses nothing [and commits perjury by omission]. The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in and puts his confidence in the Lord will be exalted and safe, Proverbs 29:25.

King Solomon provides advice to individuals facing the hot seat known as criticism. When attacked, human nature relies on pride to defend yourself. Instead of allowing a knee jerk response to come out of your mouth, Solomon encourages individuals to embrace rebukes. Everyone has room for improvement, subtle imperfections that need to be worked out. Thus, the next time you receive critical comments, ask the Lord how these words can be used to benefit you in the future.

by Jay Mankus

%d bloggers like this: