|Volume 18 Number 10 October 2016||
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Often, lives are built on foundations of regrets. I know that my life’s foundation rests on numerous regrets, things that I wish I had done differently or not done at all! After many years of living, one comes to the stark realization that there are no do-overs in life. Frequently, bad choices made and simply the lack of making choices have results that cannot be undone.
Few of us reflecting upon our youthfulness would not be haunted by some indiscretions for which we are now sorry (i.e., actions, words, attitudes, etc.). What would we as parents at this late date wish that we could do over in childrearing? Do we as married persons wish we had been more attentive and responsive to our respective husbands or wives? Have we regrets regarding the educational track or lack thereof that we pursued? Are there choices of employment and work ethics over which we lament because we acknowledge our personal deficiencies? Have we failed to follow our Lord Jesus Christ faithfully or dutifully? Have we let down our families, either by not caring for them adequately or by defaming them due to ruined reputations? Do we rue today because of the regrets of yesterday?
Some things for which we have regrets are more serious with ongoing consequences than other matters which we also regret. For instance, the struggling saint certainly regrets every sin of the past and of the present. More than only regretting sin as was true perhaps of Judas (Matthew 27:3-5 “remorseful” or having regret NKJV), the proper outlet for regrets over sin is repentance (2 Corinthians 7:9-10). Despite being unable to reverse some of the consequences of sin, one can nevertheless reverse his or her status as a wayward Christian and be accepted by God once more (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:9). In the process of becoming a child of God (Mark 16:16; Romans 6:3-5), a precious soul can reverse his or her status with God and be forgiven of one’s past sins (Romans 3:25).
Deploring one’s regrets and painfully aware that past circumstances cannot be altered, Christians need to take heart in two facts. First, God forgets when He forgives (Isaiah 43:25; Hebrews 8:12). Secondly, we must forgive ourselves when God has forgiven us (Philippians 3:13). Subsequently, we must press onward and upward (Philippians 3:14).
Life is too short to undergird it with regrets. The young need to choose their courses with extreme care and try to minimize populating their lives with hurtful regrets, sinful or otherwise. Young and old alike have a spiritual solution for regrets, even if we are unable to change the past.
Walking Humbly with God
Rodney Nulph, Associate Editor
“Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:6-8)
The problem in Micah’s day is an age old problem that still exists today. Religion had become a matter of external emphasis to the neglect of the internal. Micah was a contemporary with Isaiah, and Isaiah’s analysis of religion was that the people were only offering lip service to God (Isaiah 29:13). Of course, Jesus quoted Isaiah regarding much of the religion of the Lord’s day as well, when He said, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me” (Matthew 15:8). Genuine religion comes from the inside! God seeks to change the inner man – the mind, the volition and the will. Walking in humility requires sincerity from the heart. What does walking humbly look like? What does it entail?
Firstly, consider the meaning of humility. In the Lord’s beatitudes, Jesus placed a blessing on the humble (Matthew 5:3). Humility literally means to recognize one’s spiritual poverty apart from God. The Lord illustrated this point in Luke 18:9-14. Unlike the Pharisee, the Publican recognized his spiritual deficiency. He realized that his righteousness was nothing more than filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). God demands that His people be clothed with humility (1 Peter 5:5-7).
Secondly, consider some manifestations of humility. Possibly the greatest manifestation of humility is Teach-ability. Some have a “know it all attitude,” which prohibits them from being taught anything. Jesus’ example of this was clear in Matthew 18:1-4 when He pulled a small child in His midst. Children are teachable; in fact, usually children inundate their parents with question after question wanting to know more. Another manifestation of humility is dependency. Proud people attempt to be self-sufficient, even to the point they often feel they do not need God. Of course, the Publican in Luke 18:13 realized his total dependency on God, wonderfully manifesting humility.
Thirdly, consider the method of humility, “walk humbly with God.” Many attempt to walk with God on “their” terms, which is the opposite of humility. Note carefully, it is not just “walking with God,” but it is the method by which one walks that matters. Enoch walked with God, and that walk rewarded him greatly (Genesis 5:24). Noah walked with God, and that walk saved him and his entire family (Genesis 6:9). The method of walking with God involves communication. Reading, studying and meditating on God’s Word enables God to talk to us (Psalm 1; 119:11; James 1:21). Prayer enables us to talk to God (1 Peter 3:12). Proud people, though, seek their own instruction, but humble people rely on divine instruction. The method of walking with God involves association. Humility recognizes that “no man is an island.” We need others to encourage our walk. The early church recognized this association and took full advantage of its power (Acts 2:46; 5:42).
Pride in the days of Micah was leading people away from God. Their religion had degenerated to externals; the heart was far from God. When the heart of man is truly converted, he will walk each day in humility. Be careful of how you walk because heaven is at stake (Matthew 5:3)!