if my people,
who are called by my name,
will humble themselves and pray
and seek my face
and turn from their wicked ways,
then I will hear from heaven,
and I will forgive their sin
and will heal their land
(2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV))
I am one of the most screwed up people you will ever meet. Some people have issues and troubles and they couldn’t stave off the terrible predicaments they’ve been in – a lot of their troubles even worse than mine – but my troubles could have been avoided if I’d truly understood the word “humble”.
I spoke with several teenagers tonight about the verse above and the constant issue was that teens thought they knew what “humble” meant but they couldn’t explain it. If you can’t explain it, can you really fully understand it? Maybe. But it needed explanation so here is what I came up with.
In the context of this verse, humble to me means understanding the need for God….
(I knew all my life that I needed God. Well, I was raised in church so I was told a lot that I needed God. I didn’t really understand how to put that need into practice. There is a lot about this Christianity thing that I don’t know how to put into practice and no one can really explain it to me. They just say, “fully rely on God” or “give it to God” or “trust God” or one of the many other sayings that have emerged out of the desire for an easy to follow, formulaic, fortune cookie type faith. But what does that look like practically? I still don’t fully have an answer and I feel I tossed these teens some more fortune cookies tonight because of time constraints and a lack of answers myself.)
I basically told the teens…
I didn’t understand that I needed God in every aspect of my life. A lot of my choices and issues became big steaming piles of poo because I tried too often to do this life thing all on my own. But God has healing for us. He wants to heal our land. For me, land here equates to my relationships, my work, my family, my home, my wants, my needs, my desires, my hopes, my dreams, my problems. God WANTS to heal us. He WANTS to bless us and all of this healing and blessing is just beyond our reach, but all we have to do is…humble ourselves, pray and seek, and turn from wicked ways (not the easiest thing to do but with God’s help it is possible if we first humble-pray-seek) and He will forgive and heal. But first…it all starts with”humble”. Realizing your need for God.
To humble yourself means to destroy your own independence, to debase your own power, to devalue your own will. To understand your need for God and act like you get it. How does that look in real life? Maybe it looks like…
- not taking yourself too seriously.
- not making a big deal out of your situations.
- realizing that what you think is important probably isn’t.
- realizing that you are human and the things you do, and the stuff you make, and the ideas you come up with will one day not amount to a hill of beans…
…especially if any of this is done for any other reason than to further the Kingdom of God.
I’m pretty much just spit-balling here with all of these possible practical applications but one thing is for sure, “humble” is necessary but not easy. If you are not careful, you could go completely too far in the other direction and become self-loathing and apathetic. Such a delicate balance.
Hmmm…maybe a formulaic faith isn’t such a bad idea after all.