Devotional thoughts on Luke 18:9-14
By Jen Dunning
Most of us like to be recognized and enjoy a pat on the back for a job well done. It makes us feel valued and appreciated for what we’ve accomplished. I have always enjoyed the spotlight and have used my witty sense of humor for attention and approval. Being totally honest, pride is a problem for me. I love when others gush compliments about my best qualities. My head occasionally fills with the notion that I am better than I actually am. Thankfully God isn’t finished with me yet.
Knowing my heart needed to be challenged in this area, I began serving others quietly, careful to conceal the origin of these acts of kindness. I find myself mopping the floors some evenings to help our overloaded church custodian. Neighborhood trash pickup has become a routine task. After overhearing a conversation about a poorly painted office, I returned late one evening to repaint the room in secret.
Occasionally my cover is blown and I receive praise for my thoughtfulness. Here are a few challenges I use to keep myself humble. Perhaps they will be helpful prompts for you as well.
• Remember Jesus is Lord—In a recent sermon my minister mentioned an adage, “If Jesus isn’t Lord of all, he isn’t Lord at all.” If Jesus is the boss, that means we aren’t and our job is to obey.
• Don’t Dare Compare—Our focus needs to remain on our own faults and not on the faults of others. Comparing ourselves to others is a dangerous practice. Confess sins but don’t obsess over them. Always embrace grace.
• Pray for a Humble Heart—Prayer is powerful when we allow the Holy Spirit to remind us to “humble yourself before the Lord and he will lift you up” (James 4:10).
• Serve Like the Savior—One of the quickest ways to put humility into practice is to follow the example of Jesus. “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45).
Worldly applause and working to sustain the praise of others to find value will always leave us unsatisfied. Our value is found in the eyes of the Lord, not in the eyes of the world. Any attempts to promote oneself will fall flat. “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted” (Luke 18:14).
Jen Dunning and her husband, Anthony, and their two daughters, Natalie and Brynn, live in Katy, Texas, where she is the director of Pre-Teen Ministry at Current—a Christian Church.