For this present moment, our meditation has been excerpted from the book entitled, Bound to Be Free (With the Suffering Church), compiled by Jan Pit. In the following short quotation from Mehdi Dibaj (an Iranian Christian imprisoned for 9 years and murdered 6 months after his release from prison), there is fodder for reflection and perhaps application:
It is to the humble that God gives His grace.
It is in the fire that gold becomes pure.
It is the rubbing and cutting that makes the diamond brilliant.
It is in high temperatures that the rust of the pot is burnt.
It is through the narrow gate that we enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
It is in great difficulties that men of God are made.
Lord, make me such a man.
A moment of introspection: When we think of humility, do we picture the scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Last Crusade in which Sean Connery instructs Harrison Ford that "Only the penitent shall pass?" Do we think of Matthew 5:5, wherein Jesus instructed, "Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth"? In Bible Study Fellowship, during a study of the book of Romans, we learned that, as Christians, we are not to defend ourselves--but rather to protect and defend others, placing others before ourselves. Merriam Webster's Dictionary defines "humble" as 'reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission'. The sense of a humble person, from Merriam Webster, is one who is not arrogant or assertive. Is humility a physical posture (as in Raiders of the Lost Ark)--kneeling, being bowed in reverence and submission? Is humility a state in which we are not possessed with, or caught up in, ourselves--not arrogant and self-serving? Is it, per Bible Study Fellowship, an assertiveness for the sake of others--placing their interests before our own, their worth over and above our own? Perhaps it is a combination of all of these. In 1 Chronicles 29:20, the Bible speaks of the Israelites praising God, and says, "they bowed low and fell prostrate before the LORD and the king". This is an attitude of physical humility. How do we approach the Creator God of the universe, the Sovereign God over all earthly kingdoms? Kneeling, bowing in reverential submission, prostrating oneself before our Maker--all of these are contained in the Word of God to describe such an attitude.
But just as importantly, humility of spirit is critical; it is humility that accepts the fire so that our gold can become pure. It is humility that endures the rubbing and cutting which our persecuted brethren are beset--that makes them brilliant, and of inestimable worth to the Kingdom of Heaven. It is humility/meekness (enduring injury with patience and without resentment) that patiently bears the high temperatures which burn the rust off of our "pot", our spirit. It is through the humble gate, the unassuming gate, the narrow gate that we enter God's Kingdom--not through the gate of ease, of distraction, or self-aggrandizement. We are called to become women and men of God; may we fully understand humility's place in our lives, strewn with the blessings of God's amazing grace, and in humility ask God to make of us such a man, such a woman.