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Well, we’re going to come around the word and we’ve been doing a series on Wisdom, Wisdom for Living and we’ve heard from a few speakers over the past few weeks. Um picking out themes from Proverbs. Um some themes that are coming out of Proverbs that it specifically teaches on and this morning, I’m actually going to talk on humility. Who loves humility? Yes, oh. I don’t.

It’s a lot of very not very humble people in the crowd by the sound of it. I’m not sure. Um but I want to read from Proverbs fifteen verse thirty-three. It says, the fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom and before honour is humility. Humility is a theme that pops up again and again and again in the Proverbs and I want to dig into that and as I was thinking about what to share this morning, I was reminded of something that happened to me a number of years ago where I was a celebrant for a wedding and it was in the Sunshine Coast and it was during a very unseasonably warm period in the Sunshine coast and we managed to land ourselves a a kind of apartment that was just a street back from the Mooloolaba’s Strand Esplanade.

Um we thought it would be really great. We turn up and discover the whole entire apartment does not have air conditioning. It just has ceiling fans and the big high rises in front of our apartment is blocking the beach breeze that you would hope for. The coastal breeze. So it’s very very hot.

And so we arrived and we met the groom, the bride, the groom was a not a kid anymore but he was a kid in my youth ministry and it’s so weird when you’re like the kids and you’re the youth ministry grow up and they’re getting married and they’re having kids and then their kids are going to school. It’s such a strange thing as a youth pastor because you always remember them being like small. Any former youth pastors or kids pastors or kids leaders in this room can relate. Yes. Um so anyway I was I was facilitating his wedding doing his wedding.

Um I met the the bridesmaids. I met the groomsman One of them was taller than me. Yeah. Yeah. It’s crazy.

Um tall people noticed tall people. It’s a thing. Um so when I saw Elvis turn up to the church for the first time I was like tall person. Like it there’s just some affinity we have where we understand the trials and tribulations we have to go through as a tall person. Um where things aren’t quite made for us.

But that’s fine. Anyway so we get to the wedding day. I’m already hot because our apartment was really hot. And I think I’m going to get to the chapel and there’s air conditioning in the chapel. There is a split aircon unit.

There’s one in there it’ll do a great job. It’s somewhat near where I’m standing to the side. So, it’s going to be perfect. I’m already hot. I’ll get there.

I’ll cool down. It’ll be great. I arrive at the wedding. We we do the whole standing in our places. The wedding has begun except that one really tall groomsman placed himself standing right in front of where the air conditioning unit was.

So, he is blocking off all the flow and it’s not like one of those things where the air conditioning unit is cooling down the whole room. It is not down the room. This is like glass either side so the heat is coming in. And I am standing there with my iPad. And in the lead up to this wedding I was so good.

I’ve done weddings before. It’s not a big deal. I’m going to pull out my old standard one that’s great and people love it. I’m going to do such a good job. And so I’m standing there with my iPad and I’m just going through the motions of what I do for the ceremony.

And I start to notice that I’m sweating profusely. Um because I’m wearing a jacket and you know, button-up shirt and so I’m starting to sweat onto my iPad and I’m trying my best to dodge it and avoid it but I can’t and so, a really crazy thing happens where the sweat is dripping onto the iPad. I’ve gotta kind of flick up the iPad to get to the next part of my notes and as I’m flicking, it gets out of the whole entire app. And so, we’re in the middle of the ceremony. We’re at the vows.

This is the part where they need to repeat after me and I don’t have it and so I’m trying my best to like sidestep this moment and not tip my hand that something’s gone really wrong on my iPad. So, I’m trying to be as inconspicuous as I possibly can be and I’m saying, oh, you know, isn’t isn’t it such a beautiful day that the bride and groom, everyone, the bride and groom, you know, just a second, just a second, just a second, and I’m thinking that cadence of what I’m saying just a second will keep everyone like engaged and think nothing’s going on and the groom and bride are looking at me like, what is happening? Eventually eventually thanked the Lord. I kind of wiped the screen as best as I could in a very subtle way. And I got the app back on and I got everything back on track for the remainder of the ceremony. Um and obviously I have not learnt my lesson today because I have the iPad in front of me.

I haven’t learnt you know to have the old book here and the pages that you turn. So if something goes wrong and I say just a second you’re in on what’s going on right? Um but the thing that really brought me down to Earth was my iPad kind of hum me a little there. Cuz I thought technology was my friend but apparently it’s not. Who can relate to that? Technology is not your friend. It will not have your back and it definitely will not have your back at the moment you need it the most.

And so I stood there going oh I should have planned better for this. I should have had a backup like my phone in my pocket or something. Ready to go if something goes wrong. But I thought I had it. And I thought it was all good.

And I was wrong. You know humility is an essential characteristic for followers of Jesus. It is essential. In Proverbs twenty-two verse four it says defines humility as the fear of the Lord. And the root of the word is humus.

Which means of the earth. To be humble is to be faced down in the dirt. Submitting to the authority of another without any personal pride. You know even CS Lewis said humility isn’t thinking less of yourself. It’s thinking about yourself less.

Yeah. That’s what humility is. We’re just not focused ourselves as much anymore. And humility isn’t even a suggestion like a nice footnote in the Bible where God says well if you could do that that would be really great but we understand if you can’t get around to that. It’s actually a a strong wording in the Bible in Proverbs around humility.

That this is something we should walk in as believers day to day to day. Humility is so good that you would think it’s a part of the fruit of the spirits. Fruits of the spirit. That’s what you would think. But it flows through every single one of them.

It’s not by the way if you don’t realise that. It’s not one of the fruits of the spirit. But it flows through every single one of them. You could see how humility has its place. In love, joy, peace, kindness, patience, self control, all those things flow out of humility.

You know in Proverbs twenty-two verse four, it says, the reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honour and life. Who loves riches and honour and life in this place? Yes? Then we need to ourself in the ground of humility. And I think sometimes we can overshoot humility and sometimes we can undershoot it. And the Proverbs actually have a bit to say about that too. That we think we’re humble.

We think we have humility. We think we’re on solid ground but actually we’re overshooting it. Or we’re undershooting it. And God really wants to recenter us in the place of humility because that’s where his blessings flow. That’s where his favour is.

That’s where he is. And there is a completely different field that we don’t want to be in. Amen. So this morning I’ve called this message. Get over yourself.

Turn to the person next to you and say in the nicest possible way get over yourself. Yep. I think when we get to a place of humility, it’s this letting go of ourselves. And there’s two areas where we overshoot and we undershoot. And so we need to actually let go of both these things and we’ll find ourselves in that nice ground of humility.

The first one is if we are to let go of ourselves, we need to let go of pride. Who knew this one was coming when we’re talking about humility, right? In Proverbs eleven verse two, it says, when pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. 29 twenty3 says one’s pride will bring him low but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honour. 1525 says the Lord tears down the house of the proud but maintains the widow’s boundaries. 1619 says it is better to be of lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.

There’s a lot to say about pride there. And a little while ago there was a dating website that actually kind of surveyed thousands of their users to ask them the question do you think you’re a genius? So I did survey. They are had a number of questions but do you think you’re a genius was one of the questions? And it was interesting what came back. Because for women 30% of women said yes. So that means almost one in three women think they’re a genius.

Don’t get too full of yourself yet men. And a whopping 46% of men said yes. So, you’re a genius? Yes, come on. 46%, that is almost one in 2. One in two and the interesting thing is the actual statistics of how many geniuses there are in the world is one in 1000.

So, that means that one in two men think they’re one in 1000. One in three women think they’re one in 1000. I think that they didn’t manage to by some stroke of luck pull together 3000 people to do the survey who happened to have a huge chunk of geniuses within the mix. I don’t think that’s what happened. I think a lot of people in there who overshot it.

Do we agree? Yes. See the proverbs speak of the fruit of pride. When we overshoot humility, it says, pride will bring you low whereas the lowly will be elevated. The lord tears down the house of the proud. When pride comes, there is disgrace.

That is strong language. God doesn’t take pride lightly and why does it bother him so much? The reason I think it bothers him so much is because when it comes to pride, the people who have pride don’t actually realise they have it and sometimes it takes a dramatic shift in order to recognise that. Because in my mind someone who’s full of pride they’re insufferable, they’re arrogant, they’re annoying, they’re really full of themselves, and we can all picture that definition of pride. But I think there’s also a more subtle definition of pride, where pride, the roots of it just come in. And that’s when we have a preoccupation with ourself.

Attainment, with our status, with our achievements, and it’s actually considered a rebellion against God because it shifts the honour and glory that is due to God and places it upon ourselves. Now I’m not saying that we can’t do things and achieve things and all that stuff. But it’s it’s this balance. It’s this partnership with God where we recognise even though I I stepped foot in faith he was the one holding my feet up. Like he’s the one in this with me.

Are you with me? Charles H. Spurgeon described pride as an pervading sin. He said pride is so natural to fallen men that it springs up in his heart like weeds in a well-watered garden. It’s very touch is evil. You may hunt down this fox and think you may have destroyed it and low, your very exaltation is pride.

None have more pride than those who dream that they have none. Pride is a sin with a thousand lives, it seems impossible to kill it. That’s pride. You know, and in the Hebrew, pride, the concept of pride is often expressed figuratively with words that refer to height. Um and an interesting expression in Greek refers to a person being puffed up or inflated with pride.

And what that speaks to me is rather than having substance the prideful person is just filled with hot air. Right? And I think sometimes we can think that we are achieving and we’re doing great. But actually at the end of the day we’re just full of hot air. There’s no substance to our lives. When we have humility it bases us.

It grounds us in the things of God. And there’s this great balance and this great partnership with God. But when we lose that balance we’re just full of hot air. You know, even I remember a number of years ago in our church in Mount Isa, we decided we were going to do this big community event because we wanted to draw in people who don’t normally go to church and someone came up with this great idea of doing this pamper day for free for the community where we kind of completely change the church to have all these stations where women could come from the community and they get pampered for free, no cost, they’d be free food, there will be hairstylists doing styles for the women and there was nails like manicure, pedicure, there was massages, there was like foot spas, there was all these kind of things and we thought it was a brilliant idea and we really told the church, guys, this is for the community. Come on, let’s get behind this and I can tell you which station people did not want to do.

And it was the foot spas. Because they had to, the person using the foot spas would dip their feet in the foot spas, enjoy themselves, take their feet out, and then there would be who kind of wrap a towel around their feet and give it a nice little massage. And nobody wanted to do that. Everyone was like I’m not touching that. I’ll be the person who does the food.

I’ll be the person who maybe goes and gets a brush for the hairstylist. Whatever it is. But I’m not touching anyone’s feet. And we had to really like stomp the ground to find anyone to do that station. And anyway we got it all locked in.

We were excited. We started the day and what we began to notice as like hundreds of were coming in from the community was there it was a bunch of people from our church who were coming in as well who didn’t put their name down to volunteer but decided that they were going to partake of the activities themselves. And let me just say our volunteers did not sign up for that. They did not sign up for doing the hairstyle of someone from the church. They did it for the people of the community.

And so there was women kind of floating around and signing up to do this and signing up to do that. And grabbing some food. And then some of our volunteers also kind of got infected with it too where they’re like oh Susan’s getting to do a foot rub. Well I want a foot rub and so they lead their station and write down their name. It began to be a little bit of chaos.

And so we had to pull up those ladies in the nicest possible way to say this is not for you. This isn’t actually for you. But now that you’re here you could help serve the other women here because we’re flat attacked. There’s a lot of women. How great is it? That there’s a lot of women from the community.

Isn’t this exciting to be a part of. And I tell you what, some of them through the biggest tantrums I’ve ever seen from an adult female, right? Where I was like, I’m surprised where they’re like, no. I I got the kids looked after for the day so I can get pampered. I want to get pampered. I want to do this.

I want to do that and we kind of have to shuffle them outside and it was this thing of asking them, can you serve? And they’re like, no. I don’t want to serve. I want to be catered for. That’s pride, isn’t it? Thankfully, they got board the following years when we were a bit harder on them being like if you put your name down for a station, we’re overlooking that name and moving on to the next one. Amen? But it was a great event.

Like I said, pride is a weed in the garden, right? In Matthew eleven verse 28 to 29, it says, come to me all who are weary and burdened and learn from me. For I am gentle and humble in spirit and you will find rest for your souls. Here’s the thing we need to realize about pride. Whether it’s a subtle pride, whether it’s an arrogant pride, whatever it is. It is actually exhausting.

It’s exhausting. Um why it’s exhausting is because we’re looking to elevate ourselves. We’re looking to keep ourselves up. We need to look like we’ve got everything together in the eyes of everyone. We need to make sure that our career is events and we need to make sure that everything is lining up in such a way where we’re winning.

And when we do it in our own strength eventually we buckle. Eventually we’re exhausted. We cannot elevate ourselves for long. But Jesus here is saying is learn from me. Do not get your valid from anywhere else but me.

I want you to learn from me for I’m gentle and humble in spirit and you will find rest for your souls. Another translation swaps out the words weary and burdened with labour and heavy laden. And labour implies the burdens we take upon ourselves and heavy laden implies the burdens other people put upon us. So we may have labour which is I I just need to keep this up for myself. I need to I need to have everything together.

Everything needs to be working together. And then there’s also the pressures that other people put on us. Where it’s like you’ve gotta have that house. You gotta have that car. You’ve gotta have that perfect family.

You’ve gotta have everything running like a well-oiled machine. And eventually we get exhausted. And this is the interesting thing right? As we read in the Proverbs when we find ourselves in a place of pride. God will reveal that. And God will reveal that he is God.

So the foundation that we were standing on of I’ve gotta have the right car. I’ve gotta have this kind of money in the bank. I’ve gotta have all of this. Eventually foundation moves. And what is the foundation that remains? You know I loved hearing the testimony of Dane because that was a lot to go through.

It was like ATOs after him. He needs open heart surgery. His wife is about to give birth. Um it was just bang, bang, bang, bang. And I just saw such faithfulness to God through that.

That even though the foundation was kind of being moved from underneath them, they just stayed humble and present towards God. And the beautiful thing was they saw the fruits of that. Amen. We need to be people who understand that that we can’t overshoot humility. When we overshoot, when we get race ahead of God, eventually God’s going to pull us back.

And in a loving way, we may not feel loved in the moment, but in a loving way to reveal this is not good for you. This will exhaust you. I need you to rest in me. You need to find a different ground here. Amen? In Proverbs twenty-five verse six to seven, it says, don’t brag about yourself before the king and don’t stand in the place of the great.

For it is better for him to say to you, come up here than to demote you in plain view noble. So my question for all of us here or questions is are we teachable You know are we open to wisdom? Do we feel at the mercy and grace of God even in the midst of success? Or another form of pride? Do we have are we too proud to accept help? Too proud to admit that things aren’t going the best right now. Because you know what? Actually when we are in that state where we’re too proud to reveal what’s really going on with us. We may be robbing another person of the opportunity to minister to us. We may be robbing God of the opportunity to flow through someone to speak to your circumstances.

Are you with me? This church, this community that we have, let it be one where we feel we can let down our guard, that we don’t feel like we need to prove anything to each other. We don’t have to look immaculate. We don’t have to have our best church face on but actually we can just turn up and be. I feel like I can just release and be safe here and worship God and live in community together. Don’t live up to other people’s expectations.

Okay. Live up to God’s. Don’t allow anyone to put that expectation upon you. Just come with an open contrite heart and be welcomed into the warm community. And you know what? If we’ve ever gotten that wrong I apologise.

That isn’t how church is supposed to be. If you’ve ever come to church and you’ve felt judged. You felt othered. You felt like you needed to live up to an impossible standard. I’m sorry that happened to you.

That is not what we want as a leadership. Church should be a safe place for every single one of Are you with me? Yeah? Pride. Pride can be this arrogant thing. Pride can be a self-protection thing but whatever it is, let’s not overshoot it and let’s reel it back to where it is. Are you with me, church? The second thing is, if we’re going to let go of ourselves, we have to let go of false humility.

So, if pride is overshooting humility, false humility is the polar opposite. It’s undershooting. But if pride is the focus on self, false humility is also the focus on self but from a completely different perspective. Um and it’s interesting because this kind of humility looks a lot like humility. You would think this is humility right? This is being humble.

It would be when someone comes up to you and gives you a compliment and you say oh it’s not me. It’s all God. It was all God. Oh no No. No.

Like someone tries to encourage you and you deflect immediately. And you’re like no. No. Not me. No.

Oh. Uh oh. I just whipped this thing together. Oh like it is burnt and oh you know like you try and you try and dodge and deflect and you won’t it and you feel like that’s what you’re supposed to do. And so we don’t own the encouragement.

We don’t own those things because we feel awkward. And sometimes it can come from a lack of self-esteem right? Or it can also stem from a place of feeling like you shouldn’t showboat. You shouldn’t put draw attention to yourself. Don’t step out. God wants you to be humble.

So that means to make yourself really lowly right? Um you know some of you may have grown up in like a country or a culture where you were taught that. That was drilled into you or maybe you grew up in a family where your parents really drilled into you don’t stick your neck out. You need to suppress, you need to kind of keep yourself under the thumb, that’s where you belong. You need to stay humble and for some of you, you actually have scars from that culture, From that season and you see the seeds of that still to this day of that needing to duck and cover in a way. But I want to encourage you that’s not actually humility.

Humility is not denying the gifts and callings God has given you. And it’s also not mediocrity or shrinking yourself because of unworthiness or feeling like it’s not your place. Are you with me church? Proverbs three verse six says, in all your ways, acknowledge him and he shall direct your paths. Proverbs 1017 says, he who keeps instruction is in the way of life but he who refuses correction goes astray. When we have instruction from god, it’s the way of life.

That’s the sweet spot where we’re supposed to be living. But actually a like false humility gets in the way of instruction. You know, even a synonym of humility is meekness and the word meek from the original, you know, language was used to describe a reigning in of a stallion. That’s pretty good, right? I don’t think of that imagery when I talk about meekness. It’s about the horse choosing to submit to authority.

That is meekness. It is power under control and I believe for each one of us, we are called to be meek. We need to understand that the power, the source that we have is actually and we’re submitting to him and when that submission comes that also means that sometimes we’re going to be elevated. And it speaks in the Proverbs about that when we are low, when we’re at the ground, when we’re humble, actually God lifts us up. That’s what he wants to do.

It relates to that verse where it says, I must decrease and he must increase, right? And some of us get so fixated on the decrease that we forget about the increase. God wants to elevate you. God wants to bless you. God wants to lift you up. That as we are humble before him he is the one who lifts us up.

Are you with me? But it’s like we’re cutting off the flow of our confidence when we don’t allow the increase. Don’t just stay in the decrease. You know there’s a great quote that I’ve heard and you’ve probably heard it before but I’m going to say it again. Um it says this. Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.

Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous, actually who are you not to be? You are a child of God. You’re playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us. It’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear. Our presence automatically liberates others. And even hearing that unlike humility exists in that. It’s the understanding that we’re inextricably linked to God. And he is the one who gives us our might.

He is the one who shines through us. And we are not called to play small. We are called to go big. And God’s going to lift you up and say it’s time to go big. You with me? Okay you’ve had your low moment.

Now it’s time to get up and go big. You know what does false humility look like? What would false humility look like to us every looks like denying the gifting that is on your life because you feel like you’re unworthy to walk in it. It looks like being encouraged by others but refusing to let that encouragement truly sink in because at your core you feel not good enough. Can I pause on that one? If someone encourages us, don’t be all like me, like that, you know, don’t be weird about it But also, why don’t we allow the encouragement to sink in? Cuz maybe they’re actually saying something true about us. And we need to see it and they’re revealing something to us.

So when we are encouraged, take the encouragement. Let it sink and allow it sink into your heart. And be and the last thing sometimes it looks like us thinking that god doesn’t have a lot for us is overlooking us and we are fine with that. As we look at others, it makes sense that they would get that. It makes sense that they would get that and we don’t get that.

That’s not humility. We need the balance of being grounded, of being lowly in the presence of god but in that groundedness, we look to god as our source. God’s intention isn’t for you to actually stay low and reject the times elevates you but actually we need to be in a place of true humility. Which is submission. Which is understanding the authority that God has over us.

And when he says go we go. Even if we feel like we’re not that person. Even if we think we’re not that great. He’s the one to lift us up. Cuz you know what? The kind of thinking of pride and the kind of thinking of false humility.

It doesn’t serve us best. And it doesn’t serve others best and it doesn’t serve God best. So if we’re in a place of openness towards God humility being humble towards him. Who imagines what God can do? Cuz we know what happens when we do the opposite. There’s destruction there.

There’s not blessing there. It doesn’t flow. But when we stay in that state of just being open towards God. And understanding that he’s our sustainer. He’s our encourager.

He’s the power behind the hood right? We’ll walk in that. I wonder if we could stand for a moment. And if we could just close our eyes for a second. And there’s one thing I want us to do as we’re kind of moving on to the next part of the service with the baptisms. Is why don’t we stand before God and why don’t we just kind of lift our hands where we’re at.

And it’s it’s kind of a symbol symbolic gesture of surrender. Cuz in this room there might be a little bit of pride. There might be a little bit of false humility. And it’s us coming to God again and saying you know what? I recognise that maybe I’m overshooting the mark. Maybe I recognise that I’m undershooting the mark.

And I need you to reveal to me the wisdom of humility. That what true humility looks like and I walk in that day to day to day because I want to be in your riches. I want to be in your honour. I want to be in your life. I want to build my life on the good things.

I don’t want to build my life on the wrong things. So I’m going to pray for all of us in this room right now. God, I thank you. I thank you that you are so open towards us, Lord. And you desire the best for us.

And we know where humility is there is blessing. There is honour. There is a grace there Lord God. And I pray that you’ll give each of us the discernment to recognise. When we’re overshooting it.

When we’re running a from you lord god. Where we’re running away with ourselves and puffing up ourselves with hot air lord god but we want substance within our bones lord god. We want your presence and your power and your anointing behind us in everything we do but also lord, I speak against anyone here who is bruised by years or seasons of being kept down, are being kept low. And it’s almost like you’re revealing to them. Actually, I’m lifting the lid off.

It’s time to stand. Lord god, I pray that people in this room would know what it is to be elevated in your presence and we thank you for it Jesus name and everyone said, amen. Amen.

Ps Sean Casey

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