I find myself preaching this Lent about Christian basics.
– Attend worship every seventh day.
– Spend time in Scripture and prayer daily.
– Get involved in a mission, something not about you.
– Give generously financially to your church.
In my mind, these are Christian essentials. To be a powerful Christian one must do these things. I also understand that anytime I give this message, many – if not most – listening fall short in some way. Our culture is one that discourages discipline, and try as the church might many of our attenders would look at the four and realize most are not there.
This is where some humility about truth is in order.
There is being right, and then there is being right with an attitude. As a college student inquiring about the Christian faith, I remember conversations with those who had all the answers and were proud they had them. To be honest, the truth with a touch of arrogance I found distasteful. I doubted how one could be Christian and proud of it – as if any believer could find their own way to faith. Any Christian faith is because Jesus reaches from the outside in, which should demolish any pride.
All that to say, for believers an additional must is this – there must be a humility in our truth.
We believe what we believe. We practice the disciplines we practice. We articulate our truths. We do so with humility. To preach the faith or to practice spiritual disciplines without humility sabotages the gospel before it is shared. We might be right, but our arrogance pushes away the person we might share with to the point they cannot hear the truth due to the distance our disposition creates.
This is why this Lent I am working on being humble. I will be the first to confess, it is not easy. Nevertheless, humility and truth are a necessary combination. Last week I was visiting with a member of First Methodist Houston who had not attended in a while. To be honest, he was hurt by something the church had done. He ended the conversation saying this – Could we have coffee and talk about coming back to church?
I could have gone preachy. I could have said, coming back to church is always the right answer and I believe it is. The Holy Spirit, however, got a hold of me and in its wisdom I said a simple, yes.
Humility means we listen first, talk second. Jesus is teaching me this, and I believe with a little Lenten discipline maybe I will learn the necessity of truth coming with humility.