Our study of Ephesians has brought into focus both the beauty of the gospel and a powerful reminder of our identity in Christ. This study has reminded us that our identity is always the source of our actions. When we start working for our identity, rather than from our identity, things begin to misfire in our lives. When our identity is rooted in things other than Jesus Christ, it leads to selfish desires that manifest in selfish actions. What is this but pride in us? But, when our identity is rooted in Jesus Christ, it leads us into greater selflessness and humility as we look more like Him over time. This is where each of us is called to live as we walk in a manner worthy of the calling of the gospel.

Humility is the word that seems to be permeating, not only my inner thoughts, but also my conversations within the Heartland family. Humility is the central characteristic that must be present in order for us to live out the gospel. We are reminded over and again in Scripture that “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  Simply put, humility is the primary outflow of the gospel’s work in us. Different people have different definitions of humility. I would like to expand on a definition that came up during our study of Ephesians.

It was said that humility isn’t weakness in standing up for the truth, but that humility is a bold, but loving, declaration of the truth in a way that puts the focus on Jesus and not on us. In other words, humility is the recognition that Christ is King and we are not. Humility is the recognition that Christ is Lord and we are not. This recognition allows us to live out our identity in Christ. We are who we are because of who He is and what He has done to make us new. This identity permeates everything that we do and say, and it is the thing that allows us to die further to self as we live together in the body of Christ. This is what enables us to “submit to one another our of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21)

Humility makes a way for unity with God and each other. And unity with God and each other makes a way for greater humility to be realized in our hearts. We are able to live ever-aware of our depravity, realizing that we all fall short of the glory of God in our sin (Romans 3:23). We realize that Jesus is completely without spot or blemish and yet, because of the great love with which He loved us, He died in our place (Romans 5:8). This is the truth that must saturate our hearts and our minds as we learn the rhythms of living out the gospel for the glory of God. We must never remove ourselves from the truth of who Jesus is and what He has done to make us do. If we do step outside of that belief, pride begins to creep back into the heart.

Heartland family, as we are entering a month of focusing on prayer, let’s approach God with humble hearts. Let’s fix our eyes on Jesus and the great work of redemption that He has accomplished through His death and resurrection. Let’s ask God to help us in our unbelief and draw us gently to our knees in joyful submission. Let’s ask God to bring us all to an end of ourselves that we might live more for His glory. I count it a great privilege to walk with you as family in this way!

Because of Christ,

Austin Strange