ODJ: To the Centre

July 12, 2018 

READ: 2 Chronicles 26:3-23 

When he had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall (v.16).

My wife grabbed hold of one end of the rope, and I held the other. Facing each other, we began pulling on the taut cord. Why this two-person tug of war? We were helping some couples see what conflict in marriage can be like. But then—no longer tugging—one of us took a step towards the other. Soon both of us moved to the centre of the now slackening rope until our hands met in unity.

That first step to the centre required humility—something we don’t always do well. But, as the story of King Uzziah illustrates, pride has devastating consequences.

Uzziah started out well as king—taking steps towards God with a humble heart (2 Chronicles 26:4), and seeking His guidance (v.5). But then, amid all the blessings and victories God gave the king—wars won, impressive building campaigns completed, agricultural abundance, a large and well-armed army (vv.6-15)—Uzziah’s humility left him. “When [the king] had become powerful, he also became proud, which led to his downfall” (v.16). He sinned against God and was disciplined by Him—living out his remaining years in isolation due to a debilitating skin condition (v.21).

Pride is so destructive—particularly in marriage and other close relationships. In our arrogance, we could easily tug and tug in power plays that hurt those we love. Or, in humility we could take a step to the centre out of love and honour for the special person God has put in our life. As Paul wrote, “Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too” (Philippians 2:3-4).

A humble heart is vital for all believers in Jesus. May we choose to move to the centre—to come together in Jesus—when conflicts arise.

—Tom Felten

365-day plan: Luke 8:22-56

Consider what it means for you to be “clothed” with humility and the other qualities of Christ listed in Col. 3:12. 
Who might you need to ‘move to the centre’ for within a conflict? How does a humble heart reflect a healthy relationship with God?