In this episode John and Gregg continue their discussion from Episode 47 around Kyle Idleman’s message from May 25, 2014 titled The Inside-Out Way of Jesus: Humbled To Be Exalted (week 2) and attempting to answer listener Brandon’s questions.
The notes John refers to taking from Idleman’s message are here.
Gregg sums up his view of this sermon by Kyle Idleman be wanting to re-focus on the correct guiding principle within Christianity. So instead of focusing on ‘heaven or hell’ Gregg suggests that the message of Christianity (and its proper focus) is first that God loves you. Second, that God is truly sovereign and truly parent. Third, that God desires to enact a love relationship in a context of truth (and truth-seeking) and that God will instigate that relationship, even if that is by means of you being exposed to the biblical text or to Christians who demonstrate God’s love to you in how they respond to you.
So Gregg rejects Kyle Idleman’s view that humility–humbling ourselves–is the answer for any situation in which we find ourselves. Instead, Gregg argues that humility’s proper context is the Christian’s proper, overarching orientation: loving God entirely, loving yourself rightly, and loving your neighbour likewise.
John in turn highlights Brandon’s interest in the sermon (that comparing one’s humility to others is prideful and the importance of anonymous giving), John notes that giving anonymously does not insure humility. John also thinks that that the parable that Kyle Idleman used has more intricacies and nuance than Kyle presented–it’s not simply about being humble in order to “get the goodies” from God! So John values the principles that Idleman presents but can’t see how Idleman has actually based these on the Bible (versus a variety of self-help books).
Gregg reflects on the unrealistic expectations that seem to accompany Idleman’s perspective, such as seeking opportunities to be humbled (or even humiliated?). For example, asking why we never post photos of ourselves in compromising situations (such as a family argument). Yet this is not being proud but being normal: we share moments of failure selectively but share moments achievement broadly and indiscriminately, because we’re not looking for feedback in such cases.
Instead, Gregg suggests that when we fail it is our love relationship with God that can stabilize and re-energize us. And where this is not the case, Christians should ask themselves some frank questions, such as a) What does your relationship with God look like? b) On your best days, what do you imagine that it could look like? c) How do you think that you can get there (and what do you think it will cost)?
Further, when we see ourselves habitually doing things that we “don’t want to be doing,” to communicate with God: 1) What need do you see this habit meeting? and 2) Asking God, “How would you like to see this need being met instead?” We are best to approaching God with these questions from a belief that God seeks to increase our relational attunement with / to God.