Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“You are bought with a price; do not be slaves of men.”
Paul, in 1Corinthians 7:23
Preacher Clark told us that God doesn’t want His children to act as a doormat for anyone. That is, God is not pleased when we bow before the unrighteous and knowingly allow sinful people to take advantage of us. When the righteous fall down before the wicked, Solomon said, it is like “a troubled fountain and a corrupt spring.” In other words, it is poison for those who partake of it. Solomon also said, “the lying tongue hates those who are afflicted by it.” The world will respect the man who “turns the other cheek” when he is persecuted for righteousness sake, but it will only scoff at the man who willfully allows the world to take advantage of him. Yes, Jesus did say that we are to be harmless as doves, but he also said that we are to be as wise as serpents. There is a right balance of the attributes of the Spirit to which we must attain if we are to be like Christ.
Was Jesus being “harmless as a dove” when he drove the money-changers out of His Father’s temple? Some of God’s children will stand by and watch as truth is being trampled and goodness condemned, as if that is humility. But it is not; it is cowardice. We are not the servants of men; we are the servants of God.
Recently, I was talking with a woman who was being taken advantage of on her job. She was crying as she told me of how much was being demanded of her by a new boss and the impossible load of work she was expected to bear. She didn’t see any way she could do all that was being asked of her, and she was right. Instead of feeling sympathy for her, however, the Spirit of God became indignant with her. Why was she allowing the world to abuse God’s temple? Why wasn’t she driving the money-changers out so that she could have peace and God could be praised in His house again? “You are bought with a price,” wrote Paul, “do not be slaves of men.” Jesus has bought us; this is his temple. Do not let men abuse it! I bluntly replied to her, “What’s the point of you coming out of Christianity and then allowing the world to use you up? If you will not allow Christian ministers to use you up for their glory, why will you allow business men to do it for theirs?”
The spirit of the world is the spirit of Christianity. That religion uses God’s children up with responsibilities and ceremonies that God never intended for His children. If we will not allow the spirit of the world that is in Christianity to use us for its own vain glory, then why would we allow the world of unbelieving sinners to use us up for it’s own vain glory? It is the same spirit. And it takes the same faith to overcome both of those evils.
The word of the Lord came to me last year for a certain brother whose appearance of humility impressed everyone he met. I was commanded to warn this brother to see to it that his humility come from the heart, and not allow it to degenerate into a mere appearance. I delivered that word of God to him in the presence of a room full of witnesses in my house. But he failed to fear God and put it into practice. Because appearances impress men and gain us praise and respect from them, we are tempted to act so that men will honor us as righteous, but God judges the heart. And He must have foreseen that this humble-appearing brother was headed toward that dead end, for that brother, still as meek in appearance as ever the last time I saw him, has now fallen away from righteousness altogether to pursue his own ways. God knows. We cannot judge who is truly humble by what we see or hear. Some very proud men know how to appear humble. But it is a matter only of the heart.
No, God does not want His children to be anyone’s doormat. True humility is neither blind or foolish; rather, it is wise and just, and it makes us nobody’s fool or plaything.