Humility efficacy? Sorry for all the not-quite-rhyming syllables, but stick with me. Efficacy means “the ability to produce an intended result.” When I mess up, God often chooses to produce His intended results in me via enforced humility.
Isn’t humility a great word for Christians? There’s true humility, meaning we don’t think of ourselves more highly (or more lowly) than we ought. And our lifeline—the saving humility that Christ exercised on our behalf. False humility, pride wrapped in a cloak of humble colors, is exposed in Scripture for our own good.
And then there is enforced humility. This is the kind that God sometimes has to shove down my throat for my own good. It has EFFICACY.
I’m thankful for enforced humility, even though it makes me cringe. God won’t let unrecognized sins huddle in my heart corners, snickering that I can’t identify them.
Oh no. Not more humbling!
Maybe you’ve never had to be forcibly humbled. Happens to me ALL THE TIME. In third grade I worried about two second-grade misfits. No one played with them on the playground. Why couldn’t outcasts, I reasoned, hang out together? I introduced Ira to Arthur and sat back to enjoy the fruits of my compassion. Know what they did? Ganged up on me. Chased me around the school. TOSSED MUD AT ME!
It was my first memory of God telling me I couldn’t fix everyone’s hurts. And maybe Arthur and Ira didn’t need me micromanaging playground time for them.
Compassion is wonderful! Until it attempts to function as a cure-all for the human condition. I’m not the Savior! How about when I obey God’s command that I do my good deeds in secret? Excellent. But on occasion God has shown me that I’m also using anonymity to guard my privacy, or I’m too worried people may take advantage of me.
A little efficacy goes a long way
I am not very organized, not very technical and often befuddled by directions. On the other hand I work really hard at my writing.The right word doesn’t come easily so I spend long hours trying to express my thoughts. I take pains to properly using the tools of grammar and punctuation.
But by taking so much care with my writing, I sometimes forget the other details required for getting published. Like not putting a cover page on a manuscript sent to my editor. (Take it from me. Editors do not appreciate this.) Like not pushing harder to improve the look of my blog posts here at Heart”wings.” Only a gracious editor prevented my cover-page-deficient manuscript from getting tossed in the virtual trash. The Heart”wings” administrators have to pick up the slack I miss when I hit “Publish,” because I haven’t followed all the guidelines.
Was I humbled by that 3rd grade chase scene with Ira and Arthur? Oh. Yes. And muddy.
God gave me an early glimpse at how compassion can turn to control. Did He humble me by the very clear demonstration that I need to be vigilant in the peripheral facets of writing? Absolutely. Without even being aware of it, I was selfishly focusing on my “art” instead of the nuts and bolts which hold my word creations together. Others had to take care of finishing touches, which meant I was using people in a way they aren’t meant to be used.
Humility efficacy. God uses it in me to produce a desired result: the mysterious becoming-more-Christlike process known as sanctification. I’m frail and human and not too bright sometimes.
But God loves me so incredibly much that He will not let sin masquerading as mistakes hide in my heart. How has His efficacy worked in your life lately?