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Tag Archives: humility

Falling on Your Face in Disbelief

Disbelief is the inability or refusal to accept that something is true or real. Most of the time, disbelief comes in the form of unexpected results like an accident, crippling condition or shocking outcome. From my perspective, most of the times in life that I’ve experienced disbelief has been due to disappointing events. However, sometimes there are positive moments of disbelief like when the Philadelphia Eagles finally won the Super Bowl in 2017.

And I will make My covenant (solemn pledge) between Me and you and will multiply you exceedingly. Then Abram fell on his face, and God said to him, Genesis 17:2-3.

The context of the above passage appears to be brought on by humility as Abram is overwhelmed by the covenant God makes with him. This emotional display occurs when God’s grace and mercy is poured out upon you. I’ve attended several spiritual retreats where I couldn’t believe what God was doing in my life or in the life of a friend. Despite being an old man with a barren wife, Abran trusted God to figure out all the necessary details to make this a reality.

[Urged on] by faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went forth to a place which he was destined to receive as an inheritance; and he went, although he did not know or trouble his mind about where he was to go. [Prompted] by faith he dwelt as a temporary resident in the land which was designated in the promise [of God, though he was like a stranger] in a strange country, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was [waiting expectantly and confidently] looking forward to the city which has fixed and firm foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God, Hebrews 11:8-10.

The author of Hebrews reflects upon Abraham’s spiritual maturity in the passage above. While Abraham struggled with telling the truth early in his faith journey, falling on his face in disbelief served as a spiritual turning point. This simple act of humility prepared Abraham for God’s test in Genesis 22 where he’s asked to sacrifice his promised son Isaac. While everyone experiences moments of disbelief, don’t forget that Jesus holds keys to God’s kingdom, John 14:3.

by Jay Mankus

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Where are You Intending to Go?

Before cell phones were invented, if I was lost I’d stop at the nearest gas station to get directions. If the individual behind the counter seemed just as directionally challenged as me, I’d ask someone outside while I was pumping my gas. Now that GPS is built into every cell phone, arriving at your desired destination is much easier today. However, just because you get where want want to go doesn’t mean that this is where God wants you at this location.

But [a]the Angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness on the road to Shur. And He said, Hagar, Sarai‚Äôs maid, where did you come from, and where are you intending to go? And she said, I am running away from my mistress Sarai, Genesis 16:7-8.

The context of the passage above began with Sarai’s desperate attempt to grant her husband Abram a child. However, after giving her husband permission to sleep with her maidservant Hagar, she regrets this irrational decision. Subsequently, when Hagar became pregnant with Abram’s child, Sarai took all of her frustrations as a barren woman out on Hagar. When Hagar couldn’t bear Sarai’s mistreatment anymore, she ran away into the wilderness where an angel of the Lord finds her.

I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, when you were young you girded yourself [put on your own belt or girdle] and you walked about wherever you pleased to go. But when you grow old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will put a girdle around you and carry you where you do not wish to go. 19 He said this to indicate by what kind of death Peter would glorify God. And after this, He said to him, Follow Me! – John 21:18-19

While Hagar wanted to take the easy way out, God had a different plan, Proverbs 19:21. Just like Hagar who returned to Sarai until Ishmael was born, Peter’s life also takes a detour following his public denial of knowing Jesus. Spiritually maturity takes time and can be awfully painful, especially from a humility standpoint. Nonetheless, as you make your plans for your next intended destination, look to God for guidance, Galatians 5:25, so you eventually end up in the place God wants you to be.

by Jay Mankus

The Lives of the Tried and Tested

Individuals don’t become a finished product after graduating from college or receiving a master’s degree. You need real life experiences to apply what you’ve learned before you can become tried and tested. As a former athlete, I learned more from my failures than any victory. Humility has a way of exposing your weaknesses, making it painfully obvious where you need to improve before you mature into the person God that wants you to become, James 1:2-4.

And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you [with abundant increase of favors] and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing [dispensing good to others], Genesis 12:2.

Such is the case of Abraham who initially went by Abram. While Abram immediately departed from his homeland to pursue God’s calling for his life, his actions were far from perfect. Instead of trusting in the God who promised that he would become the father of a great nation, Abram lied to Pharaoh, saying he was Sarai’s sister rather than tell the truth. This sinful tendency was passed down to Isaac. Yet, it was following through with God’s call to sacrifice his one and only son which enabled Abraham to be tried and tested.

[Urged on] by faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went forth to a place which he was destined to receive as an inheritance; and he went, although he did not know or trouble his mind about where he was to go. [Prompted] by faith he dwelt as a temporary resident in the land which was designated in the promise [of God, though he was like a stranger] in a strange country, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was [waiting expectantly and confidently] looking forward to the city which has fixed and firm foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God, Hebrews 11:8-10.

The author of Hebrews places Abraham in the Hall of Faith along with several other godly candidates of the Old Testament. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis refers to success as the process of arriving. Based upon the passage above, Abraham took little steps of faith, not always in the correct direction, but developed into a man of God gradually. Not everyone will have an immediate transformation like Saul who become Paul following his conversion on the Road to Damascus. Most start off like lowly shepherd boys before ascending with God’s help to the lives of the spiritual rich and famous.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 276: Ain’t Nobody

While John 3:16 is one of the most recognized verses in the Bible, only one person heard these words in person. Nicodemus was a Pharisee who requested to meet with Jesus at night so that his colleagues wouldn’t think he was falling for his new teaching. Cody Barnes sings about Ain’t Nobody loves him like Jesus. Nicodemus came to the same conclusion, preparing Jesus’ body for burial in John 19: 38-42.

For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten ([d]unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him, John 3:16-17.

Cody’s first claim to fame was as a gospel singer. This popularity opened the door for Cody to pursue a Christian music career with songs like Ain’t Nobody. Cody’s humility is revealed in the lyrics of this song. Over the course of his life, no one person has remained steady in their love for Cody. Yet, Jesus’ love is constant, described in 1 Corinthians 13.

by Jay Mankus

S.A.N.S. Episode 240: Bigger Than Me

Humility is one of those traits looked down upon in society but applauded by the Bible. John the Baptist was a first century spiritual leader who demonstrated humility. When asked to baptize Jesus, John felt unworthy, not good enough. John served as a forerunner to prepare the way for Jesus. Like Louis Tomlinson’s song, John realized that God was Bigger Than Me.

Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you. 13 Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart, Jeremiah 29:12-13.

Louis Tomlinson first rose to prominence as a member of the boy band One Direction. Louis also participated on the British Reality competition the X-Factor. After being eliminated, Louis was able to turn this opportunity into an open door to join One Direction. As you listen to Bigger Than Me, may the lyrics help you realize that you’re merely a piece of a puzzle living in a world bigger than you.

by Jay Mankus

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

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