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Striving for Humility

Then Jesus said to the crowds, and to his disciples, "You would think these Jewish leaders and these Pharisees were Moses, the way they keep making up so many laws! and of course you should obey their every whim! It may be all right to do what they say, but above anything else, don't follow their example. For they don't do what they tell you to do, They load you with impossible demands that they themselves don't even try to keep.

"Everything they do is done for show. They act holy by wearing on their arms little prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and by lengthening the memorial fringes of their robes. And how they love to sit at the head table at banquets, and in the reserved pews in the synagogue! How they enjoy the deference paid to them on the streets, and to be called 'Rabbi' and 'Master'! Don't ever let anyone call you that. For only God is your Rabbi and all of you are on the same level, as brothers. And don't address anyone here on earth as 'Father,' for only God is heaven should be addressed like that. And don't be called 'Master,' for only one is your master, even the Messiah.

"The more lowly your service to others, the greater you are. To be the greatest, be a servant. But those who think themselves great shall be disappointed and humbled; and those who humble themselves shall be exalted."

Matthew 23:1-12 (TLB)

Becca Wierwille lives in Pennsylvania. Last week, Becca and her friend had a heated disagreement. At first Becca didn't feel like she had anything to apologize for, but she was willing to let it go if her friend apologized. However, as Becca prayed about the situation, she realized that God was calling her to humble herself and tell her friend that she was sorry. But before Becca could call her, her friend called and apologized first. Unsettled feelings faded away, and their friendship was restored.

In Matthew 23, Jesus criticized the teachers of the law and the Pharisees for acting for show. Jesus calls his followers to be humble.

It can be hard to know what humility looks like in different contexts. Humility is being willing to apologize; it is quietly doing good deeds without expectation of compensation; it is listening to others with an open heart and mind, knowing there is always more to learn. Let us not exalt ourselves and try to appear better than others. May we instead strive for humility. Only then can we truly love others, and act as the hands and feet of Jesus in the world.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to humble ourselves so that we may better serve you. We pray in Your name. Amen.

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