(This is from my new book 31 Letters to the Church on Discipleship.)
Dear Confessing Church,
A humble heart is the key to experiencing the grace of God. One of the first books I read as a new Jesus-follower was C.S. Lewis's Mere Christianity. One of the chapters is called "The Great Sin." What, I wondered, could that be?
Lewis said it was pride, or self-conceit. Pride is the complete anti-God state of mind. Francis Frangipane calls pride "the armor of darkness." As I read Lewis, I am sure I agreed with him. I am also sure I did not realize how much pride I had in me.
In 1993 Jesus gave me a lesson about pride. It began with a dream.
One night I dreamed I was driving a tour bus in the Smoky Mountains. The roads were curved and twisted. I could barely get the bus around the corners. Then, after an exceptionally sharp curve, the bus came to a cliff, with a deep drop-off. That's when I woke up.
The dream shook me up inside. Nevertheless, I eventually lost sight of it and went through my day. When I came home in the afternoon Linda had bought a card for me. She sensed I was struggling with things in the church. When I opened the card and saw the cover, I was stunned. It was a drawing of a road, twisting through mountains, that came to a cliff that dropped off into nothing. How could she know? I had not told her, or anyone, about my dream.
God was trying to tell me something! I decided to take some praying time. I opened to a devotional book I was reading. It was on James 4:6: God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble. It was like God took a bright highlighter and lit this verse up for me to see.
When I drove to pick up my boys at school, I arrived early, and went into the gym. I walked around the gym several times, repeating James 4:6. While doing this I felt led to fast from food until God revealed the meaning of the dream to me.
Two days later, the revelation came.
I was driving to a leaders meeting at the church building. I was praying about James 4:6, still stunned by the dream and the card Linda gave me. Another Bible verse came into my head - Proverbs 16:18 - Pride goes before destruction; a haughty spirit before a fall.
That's it! God was telling me if I don't get rid of pride in my heart, I will take this church for a fall.
I felt relieved, and joyful. Every warning God gives contains a rescue. I shared the entire story with our leaders. None of them disagreed. This was another important lesson in the School of Jesus. Humble disciples experience the outpouring of God's grace.
A humble heart is one that is good soil for God's Spirit to plant seeds of renewal in. A humble heart is teachable. Humility is the foundational attitude for spiritual transformation.
May this attitude be formed in you.
Lord, if there is any conceit in me, remove it.
I have a teachable, trainable spirit.
I am growing in humility.
My constant prayer is, more of Jesus, less of me.