It is worth remembering that the roots of the words humiliation and humility is humus. To be down in the straw and the dung and the refuse – Paul’s words – is to become the soil in which the seed of Christ’s manhood falls and dies and brings forth the harvest.
How can we create fertile soil for the seed of Christ to grow?
For J.V. Taylor, joining in with God’s Mission is about humility and sacrifice. For the Spirit to be fully able to work through our encounters with others, we must be willing to let our guard down. This means that we need to come to the end of ourselves, or to put it another way: we need to get out of God’s way and let the Spirit get to work.
This is why Taylor takes huge confidence from the increasing marginalisation of the Church in society. He realises that it’s far better for us to be on our knees, desperate for God to work in our weakness, than for us to be caught up with our own influence and achievements.
Perhaps Taylor would approve of Evan Roberts’ desperate prayer, at the beginning of the 1904 Welsh revival:
“Lord, humble me.”
Some questions to ponder:
- What defences might you need to ‘let down’ when you encounter others?
- In what ways might a marginalised church find itself in a better place to join in with God’s Mission than one at the centre of society?
- How can you create fertile soil for the Holy Spirit to bring fresh growth in your context?