One moment can change your life forever. Just a few words can release you into the fullness of your purpose. Believe me. I know firsthand. True success is on the other side of hearing and receiving a truth that frees. I can vividly remember many moments in my life when understanding came and brought me into transformational freedom. Can you?
H. Richard Hall
One such moment was a hot summer night in Asheville, NC. It was the early 1990s, and I was parking cars for a revival meeting conducted at my home church. The minister was not only a part of the Voice of Healing revival era that swept America and the world in the 1940s, '50s, and early '60s, but he also rode the wave of the Jesus Movement of the 1970s, and until his passing in 2002, he continued to speak into each generation that followed.
Throughout his ministry, he raised the dead, saw multiple thousands healed of all kinds of ailments and witnessed even more come to Christ. One of his primary giftings was to release thousands into ministry. The history of his life and ministry is filled with the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit. I, along with many others, believe that H. Richard Hall, or "Brother Hall" as we affectionately referred to him, flowed in a powerful prophetic and apostolic calling.
2 Keys for Success
I am confident that the service was powerful this particular night but, to be honest, I can't recall any details of the meeting. However, standing outside in between helping people park, Brother Hall told me something that forever changed me. Gazing into a mirror and making final preparations with his hair, he suddenly spoke, "Son, you need two things to be successful in the ministry God has called you to!" I looked over at him, as he paused with hairspray mid-air, and waited eagerly for his next words. His next words shocked me, "You need boldness and humility."
As young men often do, I nodded and said, "Yes, sir!" I acted like I knew what he meant. I'm sure he wasn't fooled. I didn't have a clue. Inside I was in shock. How could someone be bold and humble at the same time? It didn't make any sense to me. I couldn't wrap my mind around his statement. I believed it since I trusted him. But I didn't understand at all.
But the seed of that word found a lodging place in my heart and began to produce a transforming harvest. One day I discovered that what Brother Hall spoke echoed what Paul wrote in I Corinthians 15:9-10, "For I am the least of the apostles and am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am. And His grace toward me was not in vain. I labored more abundantly than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me."
I Am the Least
To me and to many others, humility and boldness appear to be opposites that rarely, if ever, meld together. We often think of them more as personality traits than character traits. Someone soft-spoken is believed to be humble, while someone loud is considered bold. But these power twins are not the manifestations of personality but the choices of character.
True humility is thinking accurately of yourself. Paul said it this way in Romans 12:3b (NLT), "Don't think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given." Some I know speak softly about themselves a lot. They are dismissive of any other viewpoint because they are sure if they think it, it must be right. But humility recognizes weakness and isn't afraid to embrace it.
Humility is not only "not thinking too highly of yourself..." it is also not thinking too often about yourself. To walk in true humility is to be free from living as if everything is about you. Even though you are sure it is, that last post you read on social media is most likely not about you. It may be that you are not the primary focus of their thought life. Living in constant fear of how people perceive you is the bondage of pride, not the freedom of humility.
Another false conception concerning humility is that it means to discount your strengths or talents. Religiously some were trained to reply, "It's the Lord." to every compliment they receive. If it is the Lord, why isn't it perfect? You know what I mean. Was Jesus slightly flat on the second verse of the song? Did Jesus miss the minor in the chorus? Doesn't He know how to pronounce Nebuchadnezzar? You get my point.
We certainly give Him all the glory, but we also acknowledge that we are His partners. Humility always recognizes that without Him we can do nothing (See John 15:5), but it also knows, "I can do all things because of Christ" (Phil. 4:13a). According to many people's views of humility, Paul got it wrong. Philippians 4:13 should read, "Christ can do all things through me ..." But he got it right. Humility recognizes the Lord as the source of any success but us as His partners.
I Am Who He Says I Am
Paul, aware of his actions against the church and Jesus, said, "I am the least of the apostles and am not fit to be called an apostle" (1 Cor. 15:9). But aware of Jesus and his grace, he boldly proclaimed, "I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10b). Paul knew the secret! He was boldly confident of the work of grace in his life.
How confident was he? Bold enough to go toe to toe with a sorcerer. Brave enough to rebuke Peter for his cowardice in the presence of Judaizers. Confident enough to sing songs of celebration in a dark, dank Roman prison cell. Confident enough to say that even though some are doing ministry to rub his chains in his face, at least they preached the gospel. Bold enough to confront sin's bondage and religion's bondage in strong, uncompromising language.
This boldness isn't brash. This confidence isn't cockiness. This air of assurance isn't arrogance. It merely knows who God says you are. It believes what He says about you. Confidence is the conviction that Father knows best. He called you. The Lord chose you even knowing everything about you. You understand how unqualified you were, but you believe He qualifies those He calls. Believe it to such a degree that you live like it. You know who you are and what you are here to do!
Not Either/Or but Both/And
When Brother Hall spoke those words to me; I couldn't wrap my mind around the both/and of humility and boldness. I really thought they were either/or principles. But thank God. The seed of the word grew in me and continued to bring me to freedom. Now, I certainly haven't arrived, and I still struggle with both, but I know what it means to live in the tension of humility and boldness that releases the success of His purpose in and through us.
The Lord is calling us to make a difference. The way it happens is through people who are bold in the face of the enemy and humble in the presence of the Lord of glory! Will you join me on the journey?
Keith Nix is the founding pastor of a thriving congregation, The Lift Church, in Sevierville, Tennessee. He has traveled internationally since 1993, carrying a unique message of awakening and establishing to this generation. He and his wife, Margie, are blessed with one daughter, Isabella. To learn more and get a free audio download you can visit KeithNix.org You can connect with Keith on Facebook: facebook.com/KeithNixTV or Twitter here: twitter.com/KeithNixTV.
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