Let them know me not for my mind
Or my manners. Keep from them all
Tendency to love my name (kind
Flattery). Their praise is my fall,
For I know my heart enough to
Predict its vain response. They call
For me, and I shamefully do
All that I can to earn their awe.
I must decrease. I must decrease,
For I, though only briefly, saw
Your glory. Arrogance must cease,
For you alone warrant all fear
And worship. You who dwell above
Creation yet art ever near,
You meet us with your perfect love.
I am undone. Let me then be
A humble vessel. Let my boast
Be only of your grace to me.
O Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
This clay can claim no title. You
Alone are worthy. Let all eyes
That look on me always see through
And your great glory recognize.
Be evident in all I do.
Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash
I love to talk about theology, but I’m not very good at talking about theology.
I wonder if comparison is a nicer-sounding expression for envy. When I read the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, I can quickly pass over verse 17 under the assumption that I don’t have any problems with desires for the wealth or the family of my neighbors. In fact, I tend to read this verse with specifics in mind, comforting myself that I don’t desire my friend’s Xbox or his car or whatever else he may have. I tell myself envy isn’t an issue for me. But then I begin to compare.
My eyes, too weak to properly perceive
The face of beauty, found in God alone,
See clearly lesser things, and thus they leave
The truth of God for gods of self and stone.
And thus I grow to hold too high a place
In my own estimation. I forget
That any good in me is all of grace.
My ev’ry breath is evidence of debt
To God who is the giver of the breath,
Revealed in part, unknowable in whole.
He is, before my birth, beyond my death,
The maker and sustainer of my soul.
Adjust my eyes to greater glories see;
Thereby produce in me humility.
Photo by LoboStudio Hamburg on Unsplash
Might sins which seem so far removed from us
Be those which pose the greatest hidden threat?
Temptations that we never much discuss
May be o’erlooked, which leads us to forget
To strengthen our defenses ‘gainst the foes.
Imagining that we, somehow exempt
From diff’rent dangers, will not face such woes,
We look on those who struggle with contempt.
In truth, we are no better off than they,
For we all wrestle with the fallen state.
We all would perish if not for the Way.
We all need God to make our pathways straight.
So guard your heart with all humility,
Or else risk falling to futility.
Soul, be silent. Listen well.
Hope in God, and pray.
He who saved your soul from hell
Will bring you through this day.
Worry never. Doubt him less.
Know that he is God.
Learn to live in humbleness,
And trust your Shepherd’s rod.
Fix your focus. Do not shirk.
Stand as he has stood.
He will cause all things to work
Together for your good.
If this day should end in death,
Sing the last refrain.
Faithful to the final breath,
At last, to die is gain.
Photo by Artem Sapegin on Unsplash
This weekend, I saw the church in action.
Asking for prayer is not just a sanctified sympathy request (though I often unconsciously see it that way). Continue reading
(Photo cred: Jeremy Poe – Instagram: @jeremy.m.poe)
I do not know how much I do not know.
I know that there are limits to my reach.
Let me, O Lord, as I aspire to teach,
Walk in humility and ever grow.
Let fear protect me from presumption’s throes
And keep me bowed before your holy face.
Teach me to dwell before your throne of grace.
Speak heaven’s poetry to human prose.
My learning threatens me with arrogance.
It whispers lies of self-sufficiency
And hides the truth I know, that I am weak.
Grant me a reverential reticence.
Produce in me humble proficiency.
God, make me quick to hear and slow to speak.
It’s easy to sound authoritative online. Scroll down your social media feed, and you’ll likely find posts that sound less like opinions and more like statements of fact. When you don’t actually have to face opposition in person, when there’s a screen shielding you from seemingly any repercussions, boldness comes a bit more easily. Sadly, many people seem to make these bold, matter of fact statements about issues that aren’t so clearly black and white, leading to bitterness rather than to resolution. Continue reading