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How To Not Wreck Your Life

“Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage.” (2 Kings 5:12)

There at the precipice of a miraculous healing…Naaman almost threw it all away.

Naaman was a competent and effective leader of men. A commander of the king's army with victories in Syria bearing witness to his proficiency as a warrior. But despite his might and despite his valor… God had struck him with leprosy. Humiliated him in fact. The great man, highly favored, if left untreated was facing the prospect of blindness, paralysis and social exile. 

Naaman was staring down the barrel of a future he didn’t deserve, with no other options and no way out.

But suddenly came a word of hope. An Israelite girl that worked in his house claimed that there was a prophet in Israel who could cure him. Desperate, Naaman sent communications to Israel, and to his (probably) surprise, the prophet Elisha, invited Naaman to come to him. So Naaman, being a man of considerable importance, arrived in Samaria with a grand entourage of horses and chariots and stood outside the door of Elisha’s house requesting an audience. But rather than greeting Naaman with the formal dignity of a foreign ambassador seeking aid, he calls out from within the house “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean” (2 Kings 5:10). Naaman, freshly wounded by the indignity of his leprosy, was enraged. Having received this second insult from the prophet, he asked himself “who is this man, who fails to come out, and stand before me, and offer a verbose prayer for my healing? What is the Jordan that I should wash myself in it? We have bigger, more beautiful rivers in Damascus! Why did I even come here??” And in a fit of anger he turned away in a rage. 

The wise one said “one’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.” (Prov 29:23).

Fortunately for Naaman, one of his servants chased him down and talked some sense into him; after which he went to the Jordan river and was healed. But how many of us have spurned some profoundly helpful advice or a penetrating insight about ourselves because we did not like the way the message was delivered?

How many of us have refused the healing that God offers, because our pride would not suffer the indignity of humbling ourselves to receive it? How many of us have come to the precipice of great help from God, only to reject it because of our pride? 

It’s a funny reality to get your head around…that protecting my dignity will bring me low…but lowering myself is what leads to honor. Looking at the world (like Naaman) through the lens of what I deserve, or the respect I have earned, will drive me away from God’s word and God’s help. Humility and dependance on the other hand, will lead you directly into it. 

Where is God calling you to humble yourself? Are you telling yourself (like Naaman), that you shouldn’t have to do it because you deserve to be treated better? Pride doesn’t work in God’s kingdom. Pride will wreck your life and blind you to God’s present healing grace. Humbling yourself is where you find grace and help in your time of need. There is one path to glory in Kingdom of God…and it’s following this guy:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, (Philippians 2:5–9)

Don’t save your life. Don’t cling to what you deserve. Surrender your life to the man above, and He will lead you in the way of humility and life everlasting.

Post by Joshua Camacho

1 Comment

Shadia Hrichi - July 28th, 2023 at 11:41am

Amen. Such a Powerful, and humbling, reminder.