“I will remove from your midst your proud, exulting ones and you will never again be haughty on my holy mountain. But I will leave among you a humble, lowly people and they will take refuge in the name of the Lord.” (Zephaniah 3:11, 12) The Lord has promised to remove the proud from the midst of the church and leave only the humble ones therein. This is why He works in us to humble us, so that He may not have to remove us altogether.
Many were humble when they first came into the church. At that time they realized that they deserved nothing but hell fire and were grateful that their sins were forgiven and that they could have a place in the church. But as time has gone on, they have lost that humble spirit and have desired honour and recognition from the brothers and sisters. Why has this happened? There can be only one reason. Such believers have not been sensitive to hear the Spirit’s voice. When we become deaf to the Spirit speaking to us to humble ourselves, then God has to humble us in various ways Himself. If after many attempts, God is unable to succeed in humbling a person’s pride, then He removes that person from the church altogether.
Philippians 2: describes some of the characteristics of a genuinely humble man. He is one who is working out his own salvation constantly and has finished with all grumbling and disputing (Phil 2:14) Grumbling and disputing are caused by discontentment with one’s appointed lot in life. Pride and discontentment always go together.
In 1 Cor 10:6-11 we find that the Israelites grumbled. God is displeased with those who grumble and complain. In Numbers 11:1-9 we read that they grumbled because the food was not upto their taste. They got the same manna every day for forty years. The manna was nourishing for the body but it always tasted the same. Do you think God could have changed the taste of the manna every day, if He so desired? Certainly. He could have given them over 14, 600 different varieties of manna during their 14,600 day sojourn in the wilderness. But He did not do so. Why? Moses told them the reason later on: God humbled you and fed you with manna so that He might know what was in your heart (Duet 8:2, 3)
It is the same today. God has to deliver us from an inordinate love for food that makes us complain about it. The Bible calls those who worship their appetites as enemies of the cross (Phil 3:18, 19). One reason why Jesus suggested fasting (Mat 6:16) could be to deliver us from being enslaved to our taste buds and our bellies. When children complain about their mother’s about their food, remember it is serious. It must never be taken lightly. They are getting into fellowship with “the destroyer” (1 Cor 10:10) When we are discontent with our salary, or our house, or our husband/wife (wishing we had married someone else) what does such an attitude indicate? It shows that we are proud in our hearts and have come into fellowship with Satan.
A healthy corrective to such an evil attitude is to give thanks for everything. The Bible clearly states “this is the will of God for us in Christ Jesus” (1 Thes 5:18). We must learn to give thanks for everyone in the body of Christ (Col 3:15). Develop the habit of giving thanks for your fellow believers in your local church. It is easy to be thankful for brethren who live in faraway lands whom we see only once in a while. But God tests our hearts by our attitude towards the ones whom we see every week in our local church. Our very best and closest fellowship should be with those in our local church and not with those from other lands and places.
If you are proud and conceited you will find that you cannot appreciate your local fellow believers as much as those believers from other places. Thus you can evaluate your own heart’s condition. God is the one who has chosen the brothers and sisters in your local church. If you cannot love them and value them and live in glorious fellowship with them, you will be deceiving yourself if you think that you love God and are in fellowship with Him (1 John 4:20)
God has appointed all things and all people for “our sakes” so that our “inner man may be renewed daily” increasingly into the likeness of Christ (2 Cor 4:15, 16) All things have been planned to “work together for our good” (Romans 8:28). So there is absolutely no room for complaints or murmuring or grumbling in the life of a true disciple of Jesus.