Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February 16, 2011

"Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.Do not be conceited." Romans 12:16

You don't have to be an expert in music to appreciate the importance of harmony. Even an untrained ear can hear when the music doesn't mesh!

First of all, you wouldn't want to listen to an orchestra consisting entirely of one type of instruments. One violin is beautiful when played properly. Even several of them when played harmoniously. But an entire orchestra made up of violins would grow tedious rather quickly.

Even worse, would be an orchestra made up entirely of violins and everyone of them playing out of tune.

When you listen to an orchestra or a choral group you expect to hear instruments or voices lifted in harmony. All the instruments or all the voices meld into one glorious sound, full and rich. It is a thing of beauty! It touches the soul!

But when you go to a concert prepared to be inspired by the music you notice right away if one of the voices or one of the instruments is out of tune or off key. The fine music of the many is spoiled by the lack of harmony by one.

Harmony is many blending their talents together into one beautiful result. It is what a local church is supposed to be. When each member plays his part so as to blend with the parts of the others in harmony, you have an example of what God wants His Church to be like. When that happens those people make beautiful music that is like a masterpiece in God's ears.

Harmony is preserved and protected by humility.

How so?

Each member of the orchestra must agree to play his part and only his part, nothing more or less. Perhaps there is a brief solo piece somewhere in the score for the concert, but a the beautiful music is realized when each member plays his music in a way that blends with the other instruments.

That is how God designed His church. It is not a place for solos or for stars to perform. It is a fellowship of God-lovers presenting a concert of love in unity with His Spirit and one another. At the heart of the harmony is humility.

The Church of Jesus Christ is better when each of us blend with all of us! When I humbly honor you and merge my talents with yours we hit all the right notes for God and He is glorified!

February 15, 2011

"Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited."  Romans 12:16

For the past several weeks we have been studying about spiritual peace. This section of Romans 12 mentions three aspects of this peace:

Giving grace not holding grudges, V. 14
Empathizing with other's emotions, V. 15
Humility helps with harmony, V. 16

These spiritual characteristics are significant be cause they promote peace and unity within a church fellowship. But even more so because they show evidence that you have found spiritual peace within.

The fact that you can extend grace to someone who has hurt you shows a spiritual maturity that comes only from the Holy Spirit.

And being able to celebrate the joys of others as sincerely as you celebrate your own and being able to bear the pain of others is a sure sign of spiritual maturity.

Unless you have arrived at a point of peace and contentment in the Holy Spirit, you will not be able to live like this.

Humility is the third quality of a spiritual person. For the next several posts we are going to think about humility and come to a better understanding of why it is so important within a fellowship of believers.

My favorite definition of humility comes from Dr. Elton Trueblood, the great Quaker scholar and theologian. He wrote, "Humility is not thinking less of yourself, humility is not thinking of yourself at all."

If humility is anything, it is certainly removing your self interest from the spiritual equations of your life. It is being delivered from the natural human inclination to ask, "What's in it for me?" Humility is "seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness". Humility is factoring how you can benefit your brother or your sister.

Humility is a clear indication that your "flesh" has been crucified and that His love rules in your heart.

How do you measure on the humility scale?

Have you removed your self interest to the perimeter of your life?

Are your actions showing evidence that you "love God with all your heart and all your soul and your neighbor as yourself?"

Will you humbly assess your heart today?