Me

Psalm 131

A song of ascents. Of David.

“1 My heart is not proud, Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.

Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.”

I found the title to the blog while reading a commentary on Psalm 131, and it really stood out to me.  I’ve always loved this passage, because it speaks to the humility that accompanies truth growth in the Lord.  While the worldly definition of the personal growth is rooted in more knowledge, more power, more influence, and ultimately more self-confidence and self-love, the radical Christ-like humility that we find in scripture appears to be the direct opposite.

How many times have we heard  it said, whether it was via Oprah, Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil, or a Tony Robbins like figure that maturation is an outgrowth of self-love…….. “Because, if you don’t love yourself first, then how can you love others?”  That’s the rhetorical question often asked.  There is very practical basis and a real human need for self-confidence.  Especially amongst people who the world values as less than.  Many of those people struggle to truly find their identity in Christ, and in turn have a low self-worth.  On the contrary, there are those whom the world values highly that are “middle-class in spirit”, and have a self-confidence that is prideful.  They actually love themselves a little too much.

If you look closely enough, you can see the grip that self-pride and self-love has taken on the culture at large and in many ways how it’s even crept into Christianity.  If I had to describe it using an analogy it’s like a slow, but steady growing ivy or vine that consumes a tree or a building.  It’s starts out small, but eventually grows to a point in which it’s almost indistinguishable from the original and larger object.  In today’s day and age where so much information is readily available, self-help advice dominates the cover of every popular magazine, and reality TV is the most popular form of entertainment it’s hard not to focus on self.  However, as a Christian we have to actively fight against the tide.  Indeed, David, as King, obviously faced the same dilemma.  I believe the key verse needed to keep the whole Psalm in perspective lies in verse two.  Where he says:

But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.

The fact that he uses the analogy of a child going through the process of weaning by it’s mother speak volumes.  Think about the initial struggle that a baby faces as it’s mother attempts to wean them from nursing.  Making that transition can be difficult.  It may involve some crying in the beginning and struggle, but eventually the child is calmed and becomes content in no longer having to rely on it’s mother’s milk.  In much the same way, as adults, it takes daily persistence to deflect what the world constantly tells us what success looks like.  I envision verse 1 as David’s daily pep-talk:

“1 My heart is not proud, Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.”

In these times, where we’re constantly bombarded with information it’s not always easy to remain humble regarding “what we know”.  Because self-pride gets in the way it takes true humility to admit that there are some matters too wonderful for concern.  Many debates that Christians engage in whether it’s about once saved always saved, or even on the gifts of the spirit often amount more to self-pride and personal justification more so than ardent concern.  Don’t get me wrong, each of those topics are important to some degree, but the debate that surrounds the topic is usually less than edifying.  More specifically, many of them, whether it’s about the Trinity or on election are well above anyone’s pay grade, including pastors, theologians, apologists, and scholars.  Meaning, only God fully understands how the Trinity really works, or the implications of election and whether Romans 9 was specifically to the nation of Israel or to individuals.  Who really knows??!?!  Even Paul was humble enough to admit that although he had a clear conscience that only God could truly judge “the mysteries that God had revealed” to him (1 Corinthians 4).  I spent a little more time on this in light of the growing movement within Christianity to return back to it’s more Orthodox roots – meaning preaching and teaching from the bible, and more emphasis on doctrine and theology.  Although it’s a good thing, the accident waiting to happen is a generation of younger Christians who know alot about Christianity (“know-it-alls”), but don’t act like Christians to the world or to fellow Christians.

One of the fruit of the spirit is love, meaning that one evidence of God working in a person is the depth of their love for God and others (Galatians 5:14).  That alone makes the way that David closes the Psalm so fitting.  When God reigns supreme in our hearts, it’s inevitable that we place our hope in him.  When all of our hope lies in him, we tend to lose ourselves in him and as a result self-love is subdued.

Advertisements