I love how God always sends the right word at the right time! We’re wrapping up a month of sharing the words of my friends as I seek to be present and be in His presence. (More on that next week…) Back to God’s timing-I asked my friend Kristine to write a bit on this topic for us this week and it’s EXACTLY what I needed to hear-I pray it’s what you need as well. Kristine & I met years ago at a writer’s conference and her devoted heart to God comes through in her words and actions. SO glad I asked her share her words with us this week. I know they’ll inspire you as they did me…
“I’m sorry, but we need someone more qualified to lead the training.”
Insignificant. Invisible. I felt about two feet tall.
A few stellar reviews and plaques on the wall convinced me I had enough experience. I’d given myself the needed pep talk and applied for the position.
And with one sweeping sentence, all those accolades became as meaningless as the dust bunnies under my couch. Totally expendable, just like me.
I couldn’t give up though. I wouldn’t give up. If my best effort wasn’t good enough, then apparently, I could do more. So I resolved that day to do better, to be better. But in all that determination, I missed an important truth.
The truth about how to really be the best I could be.
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being.” Ephesians 3:14-16 ESV
When Paul wanted the Ephesians to discover the best God intended for them, he bowed in God’s presence on their behalf. Paul knew putting himself in the physical position of bowing would bring him closer to his Heavenly Father.
However, it wasn’t just about the physical bowing. More important was the position of his heart.
“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 14:11 ESV
We spend time trying to better ourselves. New goals to reach, more mountains to climb. Our world is overflowing with opportunities to be better. Five ways to be a better parent. How to be a better wife. Ten easy steps to being more fit. The list goes on and on.
And even though we know we should put forth effort in everything we do, the verse above reminds us where to find the truest part of us.
We find the best of ourselves when we bow our hearts in God’s presence.
We all want to have a humble attitude, don’t we? I’d love to think I’ve pushed pride aside and allowed Jesus to be the center of my life. But when I get carried away striving to be the best I can be, I let humility fade. Bowing my heart before Him doesn’t necessarily require kneeling every time I pray. It simply means reminding myself who He is. The Forerunner Commentary says, “Worship means having a bowed-down head and heart as we adore and revere our Maker.” (bibletools.org)
The Message version of Luke 14:11 puts it this way. “But if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.”
You see, it didn’t matter that someone called me unqualified. It mattered even less that a few plaques with my name hung on the wall. Because God had the right plan already in place for me. I just needed to bow my heart.
It’s where we find contentment.
It’s where we find our purpose.
It’s where we find our true identity when the world tells us we aren’t qualified.
So as we start the new year setting goals and longing to be the best of ourselves, let’s remember where to begin. Rather than letting the words of others sweep away our purpose, let’s replace worldly achievement with our identity in Christ.
When we humble ourselves before God, we will discover more contentment than we ever dreamed possible.
Kristine Brown is a communicator at heart who teaches about God’s powerful, relatable Word. She is the author of Over It. Conquering Comparison to Live Out God’s Plan and founder of the non-profit organization, More Than Yourself, Inc. You’ll find Kristine’s weekly devotions and Bible study resources at kristinebrown.net. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.