04 November 2008

Hugleiðingar (Reflections)

No matter who we are, God at times gives each of us the opportunity to show whether or not we are capable of real humility. For those of us who are attempting to align our will with God's, it can seem that He gives us these opportunities most often while we are in full view of our painfully obvious faults--faults which are like our shadows on a sunny day--always there and more apparent when the light of God is on us.

In Luke 22:24-27 in the New Testament the apostles were having a "strife among them, [wondering] which of them should be accounted the greatest." I would honestly like to understand how a conversation like that could even have started in the presence of the Son of God, but it did. Jesus then taught a lesson. "but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve...I am among you as he that serveth."

Peter, in his desire to demonstrate his faithfulness in spite of the possibility of prison and death, said he would follow Jesus through anything. Then the chance for real humility came. Jesus told him he would deny him three times before the next day came. I am confident that Peter could not imagine denying the Lord once, let alone three times. He was one of Jesus' favorites, his "rock". One who Satan desired to have so he could lead the children of men astray.

But then Peter really did deny knowing the Lord; he did so three times out of fear and then the "cock crew. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord...And [he] went out, and wept bitterly."

Since we have each done things of which we are not proud, imagine Peter's feelings as he left the presence of the Lord and wept bitterly. The guilt and feelings of "worthlessness" must have been intense. Peter knew that Jesus was the Son of God, but there he was, having denied even knowing the Lord three separate times.

But Jesus knew Peter's heart and the man that he could become. On the sea shore after his resurrection he asked him a pivotal question: "lovest thou me more than these?" If so he said, "Feed my sheep." That the Lord repeated it three times caused Peter to be grieved and offered him another chance to demonstrate real humility. "I give unto men weakness that they may be humble." If we are humble he will "make weak things become strong unto [us]."

Peter then becomes one of the most noble and faith-filled disciples of all. He took full advantage of the opportunities to learn from those terribly humbling and painful experiences. Weak things became strong. "Then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God;"

I know exactly where I am weak. If each of us accepts that we are weak in some areas and then turns to the true source for strength, we can refine ourselves. This refinement will make us better prepared and aware of how to build the kingdom. Our understanding will deepen. Our joy will increase.

So let's embrace the awareness of our weakness and let the real humility teach us.