Word@Work, Let God's Word energise your working day!

Honest Humility

Acts 10:24-29
The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. But Peter made him get up. "Stand up," he said, "I am only a man myself." While talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. He said to them: "You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without raising any objection. May I ask why you sent for me?" (NIVUK)

Peter arrived at the home of Cornelius after two days' journey of about 30 miles along the coast road (Acts 10:24). When he got there, Peter was greeted by Cornelius, and a large gathering of his friends and relatives inside the house. Cornelius believed that God had instructed him to invite Peter to explain the gospel; it was so important that the centurion invited as many people as possible to hear what God had to say. It was an honest and humble response to an opportunity to hear very good news.

Cornelius was in awe of Peter. Surely this man was from God: he was found in exactly the place Cornelius was told in his vision (Acts 10:5-6). So he fell at Peter's feet to worship him. But Peter could not allow that, honestly saying he was only a man, not God. He could not take any glory for what God was about to say and do through them (Acts 14:11-15).

As the crowd hushed to hear Peter, he started with a humble and honest confession. God had dealt with his religious prejudice. He would not previously have agreed to visiting a Gentile or do anything to defile himself, but God had shown him never to despise what He makes clean. (Although that initially referred to eating 'unclean' animals, Peter realised that God also mean that Gentiles were equally loved by Him and had an equal right to hear and respond to the gospel). So Peter had come in obedience to the Lord's command, and humbly placed himself as God's servant to help those Gentiles understand the gospel of Jesus.

If we are open to God, He will show us how we must humble ourselves in order to be used by Him (James 4:6-10). We may start, like Peter, with big ideas of what we can do for Him: but honest humility admits that it is He who has done so much for us. He also has to overcome our prejudices before He can use us. The reality is that we are all great sinners. Apart from the grace of Christ we have nothing to boast about except that Jesus loves every sinner and welcomes those who humbly admit it, and trust Him - whatever their background (Colossians 3:11).

Gracious God. Thank You for showing me the need for honest humility so that I can be useful to You and share the gospel with my friends and colleagues who have never understood the Good News of Jesus. Forgive me for my pride and prejudice, and help me to change so that I can serve You with an honest and humble heart. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Bible Book: 

© Dr Paul Adams