I had a little lesson in humility today and in my obedience, God revealed something to me that opened up my understanding even further. Thank you, Jesus!
This afternoon, I was told my someone that I not doing something I was supposed to be doing (this is associated with work – it doesn’t matter what it was, that is not the point here).
Now, I was pretty sure that I had been doing it because I have been making a conscious effort to do it. My first thought was that this person was making a mistake, maybe confusing me with someone else.
As I stood there, listening to the person tell me this, my flesh rose up. I began to tell the person what I did and how I had been doing it. I was almost arguing (it was heading there anyway).
Then I caught myself. I realized what I was doing.
I stopped, smiled and said, “I am sorry. I have been trying to make sure that is done, but I may have slipped or overlooked that. If you notice I do that again, please bring it to my attention so that I can correct it.”
The atmosphere in the room changed. I know that person felt it too because their entire countenance changed. It was like God just walked into the room.
There was no argument, no debate, the person returned my smile and agreed to help me. Then I wished them a great weekend, did a little small talk (I am not very good at it, but I have learned that small talk, allowing people to talk about themselves, is a great way to build relationships – I have no idea why this is true, but it is).
Now, I had several things going on here. First, I was accused of something that I was pretty certain I did not do. Secondly, this person was an authority figure.
For the first part, really, in the grand scheme of things it means nothing. If I am living for God, no man can do anything to me. All of my trust is in Him and I know that no matter the outcome, He will always, always take care of me. But it was important that I was humble and submissive.
For the second part, I was submissive to God appointed authority. By honoring that person and submitting to them, I was honoring God.
Jesus wants us to be humble and to treat others with kindness. He wants us to love our enemies and those who despitefully use us. He did not say like your enemies or tolerate them. No, He said we are to love them and pray for them. We don’t return evil for evil.
Later, as I was reflecting on this, considering the lesson I had learned, thinking about controlling my flesh, God showed me something.
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
When these things come against us that cause our flesh to rise up, it is spiritual. This verse shows us that truth, it makes us aware.
It also tells us that we are not to wrestle against flesh and blood; that is an empty battle with no spoils. The flesh is not the problem; it is the spirit behind it.
So fighting in the flesh is a waste of time and energy. This means arguing, fussing, intimidating and all those things. Our true enemy is spiritual, not flesh so that is where our focus needs to be. That spirit will operate through the flesh and often that is a distraction.
1 Peter 5:8: 8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, ~2 Corinthians 10:3