We've been studying out wisdom. It's been a cool subject the last two weeks. It's a four part series. I'm preaching today and then our very own Ken Estraske's going to preach next week about how the word of God makes us wise and can't think of a better person to preach on that subject. But when you talk about wisdom, it's found as a biblical theme from Genesis to Revelation. At times, God imparted divine wisdom to accomplish his set purposes. Sometimes the Holy Spirit will impart wisdom for special construction projects like when they were making the tabernacle or special times of leadership, or special times for inspiring the Bible and the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit came upon to give wisdom.
But divine wisdom is not available to everyone. But what is available to us and what we're trying to grow in is wisdom as a character trait. And wisdom as a character trait is not limited to special circumstances, and I'm grateful for that. It's available to every single one of us that we can grow in our wisdom. And as Christians, we are called to be wise. As you study out wisdom in the Scriptures, it talks about how we're called to be wise with our words, with our actions, with our advice, with our emotions, with our anger, with the way that we worship, with our temptation, with our time. To be wise, it's a character trait that all of us can grow in and obtain more and more of.
Wisdom appears and is referred to in the Bible over 400 times and humility is something that comes up again and again as you look at who a wise person is. You won't find someone who's esteemed or someone that's wise that doesn't also embody someone who is humble. And what's crazy is wisdom is not always what we think of as what's wise. We all know who the wisest person in the Bible was. On an intellectual level, it was Solomon. But yet he was such a fool because his heart got divided by impurity, by idolatry. He was not actually wise in a biblical sense. He was wise in the world's eyes, and his kingdom got torn apart from him with his next son Rehoboam in the dividing of the kingdom.
But true biblical wisdom is found, and it embodies in someone who is humble. And humility is something we all need more of, isn't it? Even on your best humble day, you know tomorrow's coming, and a new round of pride and humility in the battle within takes place. I am not naturally humble. I don't know many people who are. I don't know how many people just wake up and eat spiritual humble Wheaties every morning. It's a fight within us. And as I was getting trained to go in the ministry, the guy I was going out to lead this church planning in Bergen, Norway, age 19. It was not a good idea, but it was an idea that I went for and people supported, and they got advice about it. On the morning before I was boarding, this plane to go to Norway, which I've never been, to help lead a team of people I had never met, Chris Reed, the guy who had raised me up, was put me in the ministry and sending me out there. We had this prayer time, and I could tell, you want to tell me something at the end of this prayer time? And it's the last words he was going to give me before I was going to go on this plane. He just looked at me with the fear of the Lord in my eyes. He said, Brian, if you are humble and if you remain pure, God will use you and things will go okay. And OK was really the best outcome I could have hoped for.
But those words were seared in my eyelids. And I remember as I faced lonely days, as I faced many temptation days, as I faced days where my pride was conflicted, in times where I was leaning people older than me, it required such a level of humility that I did not possess. That I needed to grow in. But those words guided me, and they still are a principle that guide me today.
I'm very grateful for God out this elder in my life in Denver named Greg Jackson, and he got to help mentor me for 14 years. And no matter what situation I was trying to get advice on or ask for his input in humility was always the right answer. And I'd be bringing up some situation. There's no way he's going to say humility is the right way. And he just look at me and say bro. He'd always say bro. Humility is always right. It just is, isn't it? It is always right, but yet it is the hard pill to swallow. And I'll never be the smartest guy in the room. I'll never be the most talented person. But I can't eat humble pie. And I've learned to like it over the years. And I know that if I can be humble, God can make me wiser. God can use me. God will move through me. I also know where my pride is, God's not. It's a humbling subject to even look at. And I'm humbled just to even talk about it because guess what? Pride is coming my way. And it has been ever since this subject has been on the table.
And just my whole time here. I've been here almost a year and a half, moving, being the new guy, being on a new staff, new environment, wanting you to like me. There's been levels of my pride I've had to wrestle with that I hadn't experienced in a long time. But yet, just like pie giving last week, I'll eat some humble pie and I can grow from it, I can learn from it. Doesn't always taste good, but it does go down if you swallow.
Humility Puts You on the Winning Team
But let's talk about how does humility make you wise? Let's talk about this in the subject. Why are we talking about it? Why is it littered throughout the Bible that when you choose to be humble, it actually makes you wise? Well, humility always puts you on the winning team. Humility puts you on the winning team. Look at these scriptures with me here. Proverbs eleven, verse two says this, "When pride comes, then disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom." The path of pride will always end in disgrace. Humility is a path that leads to wisdom and pleases God. And it places you on the winning team. If you can choose to be humble, you will be on the winning side of whatever situation you're going through. First Peter five, verses five through six, say this:
"In the same way you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility towards one another because God opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time."
When we submit ourselves to one another, when we humble ourselves to one another, when we cast our cares unto God, when we lean on to God, when we are humble, it says that God is on your team. He's favorable towards you. He wants to show you grace. He wants to be on your team. He wants to help lift you up. He wants to bring about a course of victory when you choose to be humble.
On the flip side, though, what does he say he does to the proud? He opposes them. You want to be on the losing team? Be prideful. Because no one beats the living God, you know what I'm saying? Like if he's opposing you, you're not going to win. I don't want to be opposed by God. I want to be on his team. His team wins, his team shows favor. His team is where grace is at. I want to be on that team and I want to play for him. And his team is where humility is. I don't want disgrace, I don't want to be opposed by God. But humility makes a person wise and it puts them on the winning team. And you can see this from Genesis to Revelation as you read the Bible. Those who win and those who lose, the proud and the humble, you can see this through and through.
A Humble Person is Always Learning
Another thing about why humility makes someone wise is they can learn from anyone, anytime, any situation. A humble person is always learning is always growing. And if you're always learning and always growing, well, you will be wise. It says in Proverbs 21, verse eleven:
"When a mocker is punished, the simple gain wisdom. By paying attention, the wise, they get knowledge."
A humble person is wise because they're always learning. They can learn in all situations. They can observe what the mocker is doing. They learn through defeat of others, they learn through victory of others. They learn by observing. Doesn't matter the situation, doesn't matter who it's from or where they are. They have a learner's seat, they're in the learner's seat. They're trying to learn and observe. And it's amazing how much you can learn if you observe.
And we live in a world where we are so distracted, there's so many vibrations and dings on your phone, alerts popping up. I mean, for men on a Sunday, they are royally distracted with fantasy football. Wait until eleven , 1:00 p.m starts on Eastern time. Men are checking out around the world. We get distracted. But yet if you can pay attention, if you could be an observer, if you can watch what's going on around you, pay attention. You'll learn, you'll gain knowledge. A humble person can learn from both mistakes and victories because they're always watching.
Some of the wisest people I know are just the best observers. They actually listen. They watch, they take in, they learn. No, humility is not sitting down and being instructed from someone. Humility is you're learning by observing. You're learning by watching. In the ministry, I've learned way more valuable lessons by watching than I have been by learning in a classroom setting or someone teaching me. Humility is really what you watch. I don't want to have to learn a lesson the hard way, do you? No. Humility spares you from having to learn a lesson the hard way. Pride certainly leads to learning the lesson the hard way. And we all have choices of how we want to learn these lessons because God wants us to learn.
I have a running list in my head of valuable gold that I've learned over the years by just observing people in their marriages and their parenting and their friendships and their righteousness. By watching, by observing, you can learn so much. These are not lessons that people tried to teach me. They're lessons because you can learn from anyone, anytime, any place. And that's why a humble person, they're always learning. They're always growing wiser because they're paying attention. It's stupid and foolish to limit who you will learn from and when you choose to learn. As humble people, as humble Christians, we're always in a position of growing in our wisdom.
Practice Makes Wiser
Here's another one the more you practice humility, guess what? The wiser you become. It's one of those things the more you do it, the wiser you become. And the more oftentimes you pick humility, the easier it is to choose it. It says in James, chapter three, verse 13:
"Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in humility that comes from wisdom."
Wise people show it by the way they live their lives. Not always by the words that they say or the position that they hold, but the way you live and you display humility. That's how you can tell if someone's truly wise.
Humility is not some type of conceptual concept. It does very little good to talk about how to be humble because humility never comes or pride in a situation where it's a classroom setting. You ever noticed that? Humility and pride is when you enter the ring with another person, typically, and your insecurity is coming up. Or you feel judged or you feel criticized or you feel misunderstood or you feel hurt. And when you're in that ring and there's another human being across from you, you have a choice: to be humble or to be prideful. Everything you've been told your entire life almost goes out the window when you're in this ring and you got two tag team partners that you can tap in. One's humility and one is pride. Which one do you tag in more often? In the ring when insecurity is breathing down your neck, when your defenses are up and you feel misunderstood? Man that's a true test of humility, is the way that a person lives their life.
Some of us suffer from an injury. You know what it's called? Self inflicted selective humility. Self inflicted selective humility. And you don't have to be a genius to figure out what that may mean. Means that you are selected with who you are humble with. If you're selected with who you are humble with, you're not actually that humble. Anyone can be humbled towards authority. Are you humble with your spouse or your kids? Humble with your family group humble with the person you're one another relationship? You know what I'm saying? Like, we can all be selective with humility. That doesn't actually take that much effort. It takes a lot of effort to be not selective. To say, you know what, I can learn from anyone, anytime, any way I want my life to display humility. You can tell if a person's wise by the humility they display in their friendships, their workplace, who they are at home, who they are when no one's watching them. It's convicting even just to look at these passages, right, and to consider yourself, am I a humble person or proud person? And we're only one point in of a three point sermon, you know what I'm saying? Like, it's going to be a little quiet.
I have to mix in some humor. So can I share some humor with you at this moment then? I'm going to give us some breath of air, okay? The most humble guy I've ever interacted with, I won't say his name for his pride's sake, but he likes to hunt. He loves to hunt. We're hunting buddies together out in Colorado, and he reads articles about hunting. He researches it. He watched shows. He has the best gear. He practices very hard. But when he's in the actual field out amongst the wild beasts and the nature, everything he's learned just goes out the window. And he's extremely humble. He'll get advice and all this stuff, but in the moment is when he struggles the most. We all have that moment, don't we, where we struggle the most with pride and humility. And we're on this hunt in Oklahoma for wild hogs, and hogs are like destroying crops and land. It's a big problem in the south. And we're coming up on this group of hogs, and I'm like, Bro, they're up here. We've got a great chance this is going to happen for you. He's so excited. We're stalking in. We're stalking in. And I've learned to be quiet over the years and he has this, I can hear him breathing. I can hear him panting. He is so nervous. He's tripping over stuff. He's saying stuff. I turn back to him and I just go, shh. And the person who's the most humble man I know said, don't shush me. And the hogs burst out, the animals run off. The moment is over. We have that walk of shame back. I'm not going to say anything. He's not going to say anything. We have those moments, but he says a few moments later, maybe hours, he apologized. He said, I shouldn't have been that way. I just got so in the moment and all my nerves I just came out.
A humble person is not humble all the time. But what really makes someone humble is when they make a mistake or when pride comes up, they can apologize. They can learn, and that actually increases their level of humility. It's one of the beautiful things about humility is you can always keep growing in this.
A Wise Perspective on Correction
All right, our second point we're going to look at today, it's a quick one. A humble person has a wise perspective on correction. A humble person has a wise perspective on correction because they want to grow.
You can look at this next slide here, but help wanted. Is this kind of you? Do you walk around with a humble sign saying just help wanted? I want to be a better Christian. I want to be a better disciple, a better spouse, better friend. I welcome help. It's kind of like, stay away, I got this. Well, Proverbs nine has some words for us. Proverbs nine, verse eight says this:
"Do not rebuke mockers, or they will hate you. Rebuke the wise and they will love you. Instruct the wise, and they will be wiser still. Teach the righteous, and they will add to their learning." Psalm 141, verse five says this "Let a righteous man strike me. That is a kindness. Let him rebuke me. That is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it."
Wise, humble Christians welcome correction, welcome lifegiving rebukes, welcome admonishment, welcome lessons that can be learned, ways that they can grow. They welcome it. They want it. They seek it. They ask for it. They're not afraid of it because they know they will grow. They know that God's got them. They know that the person has their best in mind. They know that God is going to use this opportunity to help them grow. A lot of times in our pride, we can feel like correction is someone being critical of us, and we can still an opportunity to grow if someone points out them being judgmental of us or them not understanding us or a way to tear us down. But instead, a humble person accepts it, knowing that they're not Jesus, which none of us are, and we have a lot of ways that we need to grow. Every one of us does. This passage which says, it's oil in my head. I will not refuse it. If someone annointed you with oil, put oil on your head it was an honor. It was an honoring moment that someone would never refuse. And it says, when someone admonishes, someone crushes, someone rebukes, a righteous man struck me. It is an honor because I'm going to grow, I'm going to learn. I'm going to be wiser from this in the end. They don't care if it hurts. They don't care if it's personal. They're not going to let insecurity rob the moment to grow. A humble person just wants to grow, and they don't mind how they get it or who gives it them the opportunity.
Would this describe you? Would this describe you? Would this describe me? Like I said, humility is a tough pill to swallow. You know, that summer when I was out in Norway, I got to go to this Nordic missions conference where the Nordic churches and the Baltic churches, they got together and it's a shindig. I mean, it's literally like five days where you're on this island between Finland and Sweden. And the whole island is just disciples staying on it. And they had this big outdoor, like, amphitheater and that's where all the services happen, all the worship happens. And I show up there and I'm like a lone American and I don't know many people. And the opening worship night was just off the chains. There's so many professional musicians in Europe. It seems like it's an art that's valued more than it is here in the United States. And all these professional musicians and singers are up on the stage just rocking it. It was some of the best, most inspired worship I had ever heard. And there's a secret about me that if you sat next to me, you'll know. But I cannot clap on beat. And I'm like what they call tone deaf. I can't hear a pitch and match it with my own vocal cords. It's physically impossible for me. And I'm at this worship conference and I'm just belting songs. I'm screaming at the top of my voice. There's sweat, there's tears. Like, I'm clapping. I'm not even paying attention. And it was like one of the best nights of worship experience I've had.
And right afterwards, the guy who's leading it named Creston, he beelines off the stage. Now, Creston is a professional musician in Copenhagen. And at one point he's playing the harmonica. Another place he's jamming on the piano. Another time, he had the accordion going. I mean, who could pull off all three of those, right? He beelines it to me right after this opening worship session. And I'm like, oh, no, I've been found out. He knows that I know that I can't sing or clap and I was. And he comes up here's a picture of Creston up here, if you're wondering what it looks like. And he comes up to me and he says, Brother, what did you think of the worship? Were you moved? Was it two performancey? He's just asking me all these questions and I'm waiting for him to say, you stink. Why did you show up? But he's asking me all these questions about what the worship was like, what I thought. And here I am thinking, this guy is a professional. This guy does this for a living. People pay him a lot of money to lead productions and to lead all types of music. And here he is asking a guy who cannot clap for thoughts about worship. What he did understand is that I've seen many churches, I've been to many different worship experiences. I can't physically reproduce them, but I know what I've seen and observed. And he wanted to know what I thought. I thought, what a humble guy. Who does that? Well, humble person does that. I'm not sure if what I share was helpful or not. Like I said, I thought I was being exposed. But what I learned about Creston over the years, he actually that's my ex-girlfriend. We were dating before I became a Christian. They ended up getting married. She wanted a mission field out in Scandinavia later on. But we're great friends. Actually ended up moving to Denver. Great friends. We lived like five minutes from each other. But Creston is like this only in the church, right? Does that happen only in the kingdom. But he's like this with his parenting. He's like this with his job field. He's like this in a small group. Humility is just a part of who he is. And I think that's why God has raised him up in his professional field and in the church. It's pretty special.
How can you grow in your humility towards correction? How can you welcome it more, want it more, ask it more? We're in a weird state in our church. We used to be good at this, but we're not good at this anymore, okay? So the best step to get good at it again is to ask for it because we're all kind of shy. Do I say it? Do I not? Do they know it or not? It's like when someone has bad breath, do you bring it up? Do you offer a mint or a gum? Will they be offended or will they be thankful? It's like that with correction right now, here. Let's offer the mint, shall we? Let's ask for the mint. A breath check. You know what I'm saying? Let's do that way towards correction, shall we?
Wise in Seeking Advice
Okay, the last one. And there's no more humor left in this lesson, all right? The last one is this, wisdom, humility makes you wise in seeking advice. Humility makes you wise in seeking advice. You won't meet a humble person that's not eager and seeking input and advice. Proverbs twelve, verse 15 says this:
"A way of a fool seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice."
A wise person knows and understands that two heads are better than one.
I have a goal that I'm trying to get to. There's a path I'm on, and there's different routes I can take, and there's many paths to this end goal I'm trying to get to, each path comes with different tolls and costs. And a wise person is trying to figure out which one is best, which one is going to give most glory to God, which one is going to be best for me, those around me, they're trying to seek what is best. That's what advice is. And a wise person wants to figure it out. Without advice, we're all prone to be fools. We all have a way that seems right to us. And what seems right to me isn't always best. It could be in the top ten options, but typically not number one. I want to figure out what's best. I want to figure out how to forge things through humility. Because I know if I go the humble route, God's going to bless it. If I go the independent prideful route, it's probably going to be opposed. Even if it maybe was a good idea. God wants us to be humble.
In Proverbs 19, verse 20 it says this:
"Listen to advice and accept discipline and at the end you will be counted among the wise."
Not enough just to ask for advice. You got to listen to it. You've got to accept it. You got to realize that there's a discipline that goes on when you ask for advice. And the discipline is this, someone is sharing a perspective that is different than yours and where the differences is where you want to be a learner. Where the difference is where you want to see how could I grow or see this from another perspective. And those who ask, seek, listen to Godly advice, they grow because there's a part that's disciplining their character in a good way and God's refining them through the advice.
The whole point of seeking advice is to come up with good plans. We all are guilty of making our plans that we want to do and say, you know what, there are about 15 passages in Proverbs about advice. Maybe I should ask someone. But you already in your heart have made your plans right? We've all done this right? And you get advice and it's different than what you want. See that's where the folly comes in because by the time you've already set your mind, you're limiting the wisdom that you can soak up. Your humility is being going to be limited because when it's something you want and you don't get it. I don't know about you, but my first reaction is pride is that not yours? So if I want to set myself up to respond humbly, let me get help, let me get advice before my mind is made up, before my heart is made up, is the best way to go about seeking advice.
I don't know about you, but I want to get advice from wise people. What makes someone wise? Do they get advice themselves? Last thing you want to do is get advice from someone who does not get advice. That is not wise. You want someone who values it. That's who you want to talk to. You know, I can't preach a lesson like this without having conviction about humility and about advice. And there's a few things that I feel more strongly about personally, my personal righteousness that I'm far from being perfect in. But humility, purity, righteousness, integrity, those are some things I just deeply value.
You know, as a minister you don't get to hold on to many things in your life because so many things are public about you. But what I value most, where I can hang my head on my pillow at night knowing if I'm humble, if I'm pure, if I have integrity, if I'm authentic, I can be okay with that regardless of what people think about me or how a response is like before God. And I feel this deeply about humility, because humility and advice is something I've chosen, a path that I want to live. And getting advice doesn't always mean that you hit gold every time, but it puts you on the best path. And following good Godly advice has never done me wrong. And I mean, that has never done me wrong.
Now, there's been situations I've gone into that are lose, lose. That even if Jesus was there, it would be a loss because of what the situation is. And I followed advice, and I think it gave the best opportunity for something to happen. But even when I follow advice and it doesn't work out the way I hoped or the way I wanted, there's a process that God worked in me of being humble, of seeking to be wise, of seeking input that I end up growing from regardless of what the outcome is. Advice is part of being wise, but it's more than that. It's a process of refining yourself and growing and trusting God and trusting people he's put in your life. Like, advice doesn't always equal a home run, but it does lead to a good end result. And you may have followed advice in the past that wasn't good or maybe put you on different trajectories. I'm asking you to trust this principle. Trust humility. You can't abandon it even with some bad experiences because it is so vital to growing and being wise.
Following advice has helped Christina and I to be debt-free. It's helped us to navigate extreme health situations in our life. I mean, even just this last week, we're in a leaders meeting, a family group leaders meeting. Last Saturday night, Christina started having contractions. She's still eight weeks away. I mean, it was a scary moment. She had to go on bed rest for several days last week. And I'm grateful that I can get advice. I can get help. How do I navigate this? Because if I had to handle that response on my own, I'd be a mess. I'm already slightly a mess today. I could probably cry right now if I wanted to, but I don't want to. But I'm like it's one of those weeks. But I'm grateful for advice because I could rest on something that was beyond my own understanding and experience. And I want this in my marriage. I want this in my parenting. I want this with my finances. I hunger to learn this, to lead a region. I want to inspire the older generation. I want to thirst to win the next generation. I want advice in this. I want to give God glory in this. I know humility is the way. You know, in the Mandalorian, it is the way. Like, there's not another way.
These scriptures ask all of us to have some tough, reflective questions. You ready for them? How humble are you? How humble are you? How much humility is displayed in your life at work, at school, at home, with your friends? What would those who interact with you say about your humility? Your coworkers? Your spouses? Your kids? Hopefully not spouses. Spouse. We don't believe in that. Spouse, kids. I said no more humor. But then I messed up, okay. Do you trust in yourself or out of humility do you reach out? Do you seek out and listen to advice? Are you wise in your own eyes? Do you welcome correction and instruction? Or do you avoid it and deflect it? You can't be wise without being humble first. No one understood this more than Jesus.
Jesus Leads the Way in Humility
As we shift our thoughts to Communion, Philippians, Chapter two, says this and it's crazy to think about God, the maker of heaven and earth. All those seen and unseen would choose to humble himself to be stuffed into a woman. Born on earth have to be raised. I mean, skin your knee, have someone change your diaper. Go through the awkward middle school days with acne and all that. Go through the humility of being a human, tested and tempted in every way. The humility that he displayed to restrain who he was for the benefit of mankind. No one understood the path of humility more than Jesus. And it says here in Philippians two, verse five:
"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, who being in the very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing. Taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God exalted into the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name that at the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow in heaven and on earth and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of the Father."
Jesus in humility humbled himself to death on a cross because he knew that this was the way for mankind to be saved. This was the way to rescue the world.
And in his wisdom and in God's wisdom, this was the path. And humility was the steps he took out of love for you and for me. And he gave up his equality with God, gave up so much to rescue us. Now, after that death, burial and resurrection, it says that God exalted him to the highest place. At the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow. Every tongue shall confess that he is Lord. And that's our proper response to Jesus humility for dying for you is to make him Lord of our lives.
Let's reflect that as we take Communion at this time. Let's pray together. God, you possess and ooze humility through Jesus in ways that I just dream and want to be. I think about the way he lived on this earth, the way he loved, the way he served. I mean, he was the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, and yet he knelt down to serve the servants and to talk to children and to love the outcast like he humbled himself for my benefit and for our benefit. And I pray that his humility and his example that we celebrate at Communion when we reflect on his death and burial and resurrection can help fuel us to be more humble.
God, humility is not a trait that we all possess in an ever increasing measure, but we need to. I pray that Jesus is the example, the grace that he gives us on the cross. I feel convicted I hope we all feel convicted about our level of humility. But what gives me hope is God, your grace and Jesus grace that picks us up and believes in us and gives us new chances probably as soon as we end and go into fellowship. To be humble in our drive home to be humble. Tomorrow morning to be humble. Like you give us so many chances to grow in this. Let us follow Jesus in his footsteps as he walked a path of humility to the cross that we can walk a path of humility as well. We ask this in Jesus name. Amen.