1 Peter 5:5-7 (NASB)
Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility for God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
I’ve been blessed in so many ways but understanding even when things are going unfavorable in my life, I’m still blessed, was indeed the area where I needed growth. You know, it’s easy to believe you are blessed when things are going well, but when things are not so good we often neglect the reality we are still blessed. Things can happen in your life suddenly and when these things happen, you must remember they are not meant to devastate you to the point of no return.
I have a little secret…anytime something happens suddenly in my life, I always know God is somewhere in the program and He’s up to something. Remember in Acts when suddenly came a mighty rushing wind (Acts 2:2), I believe God uses the winds of circumstance to change the projection of our lives, suddenly. I think when we are humble, we look at things differently and when life changes suddenly, we are able to withstand knowing our trust is in God. Well, it took a while for me to get it.
My Marriage Beginnings
When I met my husband, he was a hardworking man who had been on the same job for over nineteen years. He was making a pretty good salary and took care of his family well. My attraction to my husband was based neither upon his job nor upon his ability to make money, but instead, I was attracted to his humility. I could not quite phantom how a man could be so humble, even to the point that nothing bothered him. When you are in church, one often experiences their fair share of stuff that should or could bother them but not my husband.
I would say, “Scroggins you just let people walk all over you,” and his reply would always be, “You cannot walk over me and not be stopped by my God and if you walk over me, you have to pass by my God and be given permission by Him”. He angered me because his confidence in the fact no one could do anything to him no matter whom they were, especially, if God was still with him or except God allowed was far beyond my mental capacity. My feeble mental mind said, “you do me in, I’m gonna find a way to do you in”, and this made for a stressful life. Wow! How I envied my husband. I realized I wanted the assurance and humility Scroggins had.
There were times I tried to fake as if things did not bother me but my pride always got in the way. I never wanted folks to feel like they were playing me but Scroggins (with this different type of way), seemed to come out on top even when folks thought they were doing him in. I wanted what he had but the one thing I had to learn is being humble or gaining humility would take process. No one just wakes up and decides today I am going to be humble. I wished it were this easy because had it been so, I would have just tried to fake it until I made it, knowing well that anything fake can never take on realness just because it looks the same or acts the same. (I want you to remember this and look at Isaiah 29:13.)
“…anything fake can never take on realness just because it looks the same or acts the same.”
We can get there and be real but it requires God’s assistance. God is an all-knowing God and He is as strategic as He is intentional. He knows when we desire humility because He knows when we get to a point when we are ready to stop struggling with what and who we are, to be what and who He has ordained us to be. Therefore, God uses what I call processes in order to help us gain humility.
It was not that my husband became the apple of my eye because he was so good, it was that he was gifted. Gifted people stand out even in their way of thinking and those of us who may be gifted in other areas can understand this. When you are gifted, your thought pattern is different and most gifted people, who know their gifts came from God, are truly humble. Now I am neither blind nor stupid, I have run into many folks who are gifted and proud. You would be surprised at gifted Christians who are full of pride. The very ones who are commanded to live a life of humility cannot deal with humanity because they are full of an epidemic called “Me”. It’s all about me, I’m doing me, I’m living for me, and so goes and grows the epidemic which leads to self-righteousness and self-rightness (my word).
When a man believes he operates in his gifting because it is so naturally him or believes he owns it, he sometimes opts to make himself a gift. In other words, if you find a man full of pride, you will see a man who made himself a gift and never separated himself from his gifting. Or one who took the gifting from God as an attribute or characteristic of simply being him. Nonetheless, they need to remember the gift is from God and their character helps them to embrace the gift and operate accordingly. 1 Peter 4:10 says, “As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
Now here is where we need a good glimpse of the Word of God...
“And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted”. Matthew 23:12
God blesses us with gifts not so that we can exalt ourselves or make ourselves look good to the world, which hates us, but instead He gifts us so that we can aid one another in the kingdom and show forth His grace through our lives, in order that He may be glorified.
I do not need a click or connections to validate my calling.
When I first began preaching, it was difficult for a woman to go up into a church’s pulpit because some of our brethren were not in agreement with women preaching the Gospel. The late Pastor Authur Washington whom I loved dearly for his humility said to me, “Daughter, look at Luke 14 with me, Jesus teaches on the lowly place so whenever you go into a sanctuary never go to their pulpit. It’s better for them to ask you up than to ask you down.” At that time, I was so angry. Having been treated bad, I figured so-called godly men rather I am a whoremonger than a preacher because as long as I had whoredom in my veins, preachers stayed in my face…but as soon as I turned from my wicked ways, they despised my gift of exhortation. I thank God for the late Pastor Washington because this lesson was a part of my process.
That is why it is hard to find me in the good girl preacher clicks. I do not need a click or connections to validate my calling or my gifts. All I need is the gift God has given me, enough character to operate inside of my gifting and outside of myself, and humility to walk in the calling and operate my gifting- God’s way. I also believe as Andrew Wilson that there are no New Testament prohibitions on women preaching the gospel.[i] I found out when I was about twelve years old God gifted me and I had no choice whether or not I’d use the gift because my gifting has eluded to purpose, and where there is purpose you become a target. Not just for people but for the enemy and the enemy in the inner you.
That may have startled you but sometimes gifted people start leaning on the gift instead of the giver and they become complacent and arrogant in everything they do. See, humility makes you strive to bless the gift giver. I’m not concerned whether man accepts me, I’m concerned that I don’t get lazy because of my gifting, I study to show myself approved, I never treat the giver of the gifting like a pimp, and that I understand always He (The Giver) could have chosen anyone else other than me to give my gift to. I work hard to stay close to The Giver because He and I together are more than the world for or against me.
This is where so many women are missing the mark. They feel like if they build a coalition with one another then they can be accepted, but you have to know when God calls you, He validates you and your gifting equips you. His acceptance of you is more than enough and if you humble yourself, He will cause you to intertwine with Kings and Queens. I can remember when I first began to get engagements. Sometimes I would pray to get there and then when I get there, preach my heart out, I’d get this we cannot pay you speech and a basket of trinkets to add to the collection already in my kitchen drawer. Yes, I began to feel a certain type of way until God reminded me… you are my vessel, chosen by me, to do the work I have begun. If they never give you a dime, you be humble enough to except what they gave as the blessing they desire to receive.
[i] Andrew Wilson. “Women Preachers: A Response to John Piper”. Think. (May 6, 2015).