Thursday, December 11, 2014

Exalted those of Humble Estate

"Let your light so shine ..." Liberty Springs, PCA
It was the mid-1990's; we sat in the coffee shop and spoke of our common love of women's
bible study. Then the question ... Sue, what role do you want to play in the bible studies? Without hesitation I answered, I would like to train your leaders.

As I think back, I hang my head. Did my observations of the bible study make me think I had something better to offer? Why was I so bold, so confident? Was that position a need to bolster an identity crisis?

I'm not sure. But I am sure that it was a proud response, a response seeking to set myself up--exalt myself, to climb my own ladder. Arrogance.

How different from Mary.

Immediately upon learning that she was to give birth to Jesus, the son of God, Mary hastened to her cousin Elizabeth's home. Elizabeth confirmed her pregnancy. Did Mary even know that she was carrying a babe yet?

Mary's response from inside her being, from who God created her to be, was to magnify her Lord, to rejoice in her savior. It wasn't about Mary--it was about God. Every sentence focuses attention on God. Luke 1:46-55

"for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant...
for he who is mighty has done great thing for me.
and holy is his name." Luke 1:48 and 49

Mary's tender-hearted beauty, her lovely humility flowed easily from her heart to her words. Mary allowed God to exalt her.

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you." I Peter 5:6

God wants to, intends for us to be exalted in his time, for his purposes, for his glory. The road to exaltation begins with humility. Mary's humility showed in her submission, her obedience, even in her willingness to suffer. And it led to exaltation. An exaltation Mary never sought; it was God's gift to her, and through her to us!

What does exaltation look like? Is it position? Is it influence? Is it living out God's design? What is the source of exaltation?

I learning that God initiates. God sends personal Gabriels my way with Sue-shaped messages in his time for his purposes. 

I learning that exaltation is what God does in me so he can work through me for the benefit of others.

I learning that in humility, a door is open for God to enter.

John Blase in his coda to Touching Wonder,

"Some would say a perspective like that leads to arrogance. Some say a lot of things. My friend, there is an "arrogance of belonging" that reveals hearts fully attuned to the moment and fully engaged in the story in which they find themselves. It looks like arrogance, I'll give you that. But upon deeper reflection, it shows that in the grand play each one has been given a part. The question is, "How will you play it?" (Page 122)

Where are your opportunities to practice humility? What have the Gabriels in your life offered? Are you listening to their messages?  What is the part God has assigned to you in his grand story? What would it look like for you to trust God with his definition of humility and exaltation for you?

"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
I Peter 5:5


  1. I love this! Thank you for sharing and reminding me of what an attitude like Mary looks like today:)

    1. Thank you Rachel ... you are so encouraging. We all need reminders.

      Merry Christmas. love you, sue