A recent Bible study discussion prompted various comments focused on God's grace. Several people interjected their thoughts on what grace means, and how it relates to them. My personal experience with God's grace over the years fills me with a profound sense of humility. Why? Because I realize my smallness and God's greatness. In spite of my failings He showed me kindness and compassion. How much? King David the psalmist said it like this, "Your lovingkindness is better than life." (Ps 63:3 NKJV) Did you get to see Nik Wallenda walk across the Niagara Falls on a tightrope? I did. It was both stunning and ironic. Nik, the great-grandson of Karl Wallenda ("the Great Wallenda") is a born-again Christian and a tightrope walker. Throughout his traverse of these enormous falls he called out to and praised God. This was a dilemma for the famous news channel broadcasting it live. They wanted audio of the walk as it unfolded, but I doubt they wanted all the commentary they heard from Nik, as he prayed and praised his way across the falls.
A lot of time can be spent on analyzing spiritual truth or defining theological terms. But at the end of all that effort, the truth can elude us. Insight may be gained about truth, and an intellectual grasp of conceptual truth may be held. But spiritual truth, God's Word, is not abstract or conceptual. As Jesus said, "The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life." (John 6:63)
It is not intellectual pursuit of truth that leads to understanding, but a spiritual and personal quest. Nor is it a doctrinal polemic where truth is debated and weighed. Even theology, in its truest most plain sense, is a study of God Himself. Again, in the words of Jesus, "You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!" (John 5:39 NLT)
Some of my favorite biblical images are found in Psalm 42, which begins with, "As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God." David's soul thirsts for the living God! Isn't that a beautiful picture? The whole psalm brims with deep expression from King David's heart. Yet, my favorite image is found at the midpoint of the psalm, and reminds me of God's grace and its inevitable effect on me—humility.
I've visited the place in Israel where this was penned. Ein Gedi is a green oasis in the middle of a dry, rocky, and barren desert. It is where David found refuge from King Saul's murderous pursuit. After King David cries out to God and questions himself, "Why are you cast down, O my soul…?" His heart exclaims, "Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me." (Ps 42:7)
This picture, being overwhelmed by an immense waterfall in the middle of the desert, with waves of water flowing over him, is my sense of God's grace. Overcome by God's greatness and goodness.
So, what's all this have to do with the question, "Do I have to be humble?" The simple answer is, no you don't. But in light of God's graciousness and goodness is there a better or wiser option?
Have you genuinely experienced God's grace in your life? If so, how did it effect you? Did it help put things in perspective? I know for me, it brings me to a place of humility, as said earlier. How about you?