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19
Oct

The Pursuit of Humility

Posted on October 19th, 2011

One of the topics God opened up to me on Sabbatical was related to the indispensability of growing in humility. I was struck at what a major theme this was for the early church, especially in her first 500 years. Their understanding was that humility is the face of a pure heart. It was considered the one, unmistakable quality of the Christian life. I recommend Humility Matters: For Practicing the Spiritual Life byMargaret Funk. Her work led me back to John Cassian and Benedict of Nursia’s excellent writings on humility. The following is my adaptation and applications for my own leadership. I am following their classic schematic of progressively climbing a ladder with rungs. (Please note that any of these can be easily abused without a framework of emotional health). Step 1 – Put to death all desires but God –  Application: Ensure I have ample time with God, balancing time alone with Him with doing for Him. Step 2 –  Conceal none of the thoughts/deeds that prevent you from prayer. Share them with a wise person.  Application: Be more regular in meeting with my spiritual director. Step 3 – Be willing to subject ourselves to authority – Application: Be very prayerful and thoughtful as I report to the NLF Board each month, increasingly aware of their unique role in my life. Step 4 – Don’t injure those who inflict harm on you. Application:To desire the good of another” was Aquinas’ definition of loving our enemies. This led me to take very practical steps recently in a difficult relationship. Step 5 – Be satisfied with utter simplicity and consider yourself unworthy of everything offered. Application: keep my life free from the love of money, security, control, and earthly power. Step 6: Be deeply aware of being chief of all sinners. All life is a gift. Application:After 24 years of NLF, it is tempting to feel entitled as if God and others owe me.  That is very different than seeing all as gift and that I am among the most blessed people on earth! Step 6Speak Less (with more restraint) – Application: Hold my tonguein meetings! RB “The wise are known for their few words.” Step 7  Be not ready and quick to laugh (no ridicule, sarcasm, derision).  Application: Watch my words and heart towards those with whom I disagree or who frustrate me. What difference might it make if humility were more of a pursuit in the 21st century church, especially among us as leaders?

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