I Humiliated Myself, and then God Taught Me

 Yesterday, a friend from church gently let me know that I don’t seem to take my quiet time seriously enough. He was right, and I’m glad he told me.

My home church pastor, Mike Burchfield, has spoken before of his mantra as a young Christian — “No Bible, no Breakfast.” I’ve started my own now — “No Bible, No Blogging.” Mostly because blogging can be very easy and time-consuming, and, before I know it, it can take me away from the Word and the Lord.

So, all this to say, that this morning, instead of using my break at working to post my blog, I meditated on Scripture. I’ve been in Isaiah, and today I sat in Isaiah 27:2-3:

In that day, “A pleasant vineyard, sing of it! I, the LORD, am its keeper; every moment I water it. Lest anyone punish it, I keep it night and day.

This talk of the vineyard brought to mind John 15, where Jesus calls himself the true vine. So, I read John 15, and then chewed over all of it, and even memorized the two verses from Isaiah (as best I could) to think on during the rest of my shift.

When I got back on the floor at work, I wrote the verses on a piece of paper and set it on the espresso machine in our drive-thru area.

Man, I really was happy with my spiritual state. I was saturating myself with the Word, living as I ought to. Redeeming my time.

I impressed myself and I was happy, because I was freaking abiding.

Then, it got busy, and I was listening to a drink order on my drive-thru headset. I was preparing the drink (a hot tea), when I realized that two of my fellow workers were calling my name.

“Danny!”

“Huh?” I looked at them, completely oblivious. They had called my name at least three times.

“I’ve got the tea ready,” one of them said.

Then they were laughing.

I was tired. I am tired still. When I’m tired, because I’m feeble and dust, my mood rides a razor.

I felt stupid and irritated; and I snapped. I took the cup I had in hand and chucked it hard into a nearby trash-can.

“Whatever, do the drink! I was just trying to listen to the order!”

And I stormed back to the drive-thru espresso machine, crumpling the verse I had written and throwing it away. Because leaving it there was hypocrisy.

Well, I (in case you missed it) reacted (and felt) like something that starts with “jack” and ends with “donkey.”

I had to apologize to everyone, especially the girl I snapped at.

I humiliated myself, and God humbled me.

When, later, after work, I read through the same Scriptures, John 15:4 hit me.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.

I so overwhelmed myself with my own success in attaining some level of spiritual and devotional aptitude, that I bumbled my way into self-righteous humiliation. Later God showed me that I missed the point. When I wrote down that verse, I wasn’t truly depending, and I wasn’t truly abiding. Because I can’t bear fruit, apart from Jesus, not with all the verses in the world memorized, or sticky-noted on every place I set my eyes. My “abiding” was of my own doing. But only God keeps his vineyard, and waters it and gives the vines their grapes.

I’m just grateful that God does his work; and that he does water his vineyard; and that, this morning, he pruned this meager and sparse branch.

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About Danny Slavich

I am a Christian husband, father, pastor, and poet. I lead Pembroke Road Baptist Church a multi-cultural, multi-generational church in urban South Florida.
This entry was posted in Gospel, Sanctification, Scripture. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to I Humiliated Myself, and then God Taught Me

  1. Lee says:

    Thanks for being humble enough to share the lesson! It reminds me of Owen’s rule #5 on how to know you’re speaking peace to yourself in chapter 13:

    When men of themselves speak peace to their consciences, it is seldom that God speaks humiliation to their souls. God’s peace is humbling peace, melting peace, as it was in the case of David [Ps. 51:1]; never such deep humiliation as when Nathan brought him the tidings of his pardon.

    I see your lesson as analogous in the sense that God has to work in your heart to make your abiding real just as He is the only true source for peace when you have been wounded by a sin, convicted, and repent (or “repent”, as the case may be). And that one’s sense of abiding will necessarily be accompanied by deep humility.

  2. dad says:

    I’ve been doing the “no Bible, no computer” thing for several weeks. Sometimes (it feels like) its just a robotic obedience and sometimes its a blessing.

    I’m glad God honors our efforts when they are done in His name. Sometimes knowing that He does so, is the only thing we get (the knowing). That is especially helpful in times when we (think) we are resting in Him and we are simply resting.

    The growth of fruit in our lives is not always immediately visible to us; fortunately God has taken responsibility for that growth. When I have spent time in the Word and follow that with an immediate outburst of “me” it is comforting to know that I am not held in God’s hand by my own grip.

    John 10:29
    My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.

  3. dslavich says:

    It’s funny how faith in Christ is such a battle, and we are to strive. But, yet, it’s all of grace.

  4. Lee says:

    I’ve been finding that I have to do both – no Bible, no breakfast or computer. It’s too easy for me to either get going on work or (lately) blogging right out of the gate, especially since I work from home a lot. And if I start breakfast, I automatically read the news online, which seamlessly transitions to email, etc. It’s been a good discipline.

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