NOTHING TO PROVE // Ethan Merritt

As many New Yorkers know (or transplants, visitors, pilgrims, etc), this city has a way of pushing us to chase titles, a way of making us think that we are somebody important. Most of the time, though, it only distracts us from what originally brought us here.

During our series of Untitled and our talks about humility, I began to identify some of those titles that the world has given to me: Creative, Designer, Thinker, Builder, Runner, Intellectual. Recently, I’ve been trying to obtain one that requires licensure through earning hours of practicing the trade, mentorship, studying and testing: the title of an Architect.

I’ve been practicing the trade for long enough now to know that there’s a lot for me still to learn, but I feel like I’m capable of doing so much more. This overwhelming tide of energy combined with my prideful nature has fueled an internal frustration, and there have been moments in my walk with God where one of two things could have occurred as a result of His sweeping love. The first option was me kneeling down and singing praises, while the other was me getting knocked down for trying to stand up on my own.

Take a wild guess which one happened to me in this moment! Yep, you guessed it. I got knocked down on my butt. A bit stunned I sat there thinking, "Who am I trying to perform for? Why am I constantly striving to title myself, be the first in the race, or garner renown for my skill sets and growing expertise?" One moment I stood foolhardy, the next I was literally sitting in contemplation. 

And then, last Sunday I heard Filmore read this passage from 1 Corinthians 1:26:

“Brothers and Sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things - and the things that are not - to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ, who has become for us wisdom from God - that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: 'Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.'"

Now I realize that though I could have been greatly humiliated for some of my recent prideful thoughts, God instead showed kindness and great understanding. Thankfully, I said to myself, “I am not those things. I get to be a child of God — one of His sons. I get to admire and look up to Him, to learn from Him, to practice as He does, and to live with Him." Now on my knees — willingly, wantingly and Untitled — I pray to Him, “Abba father, you are my mentor. You are making me humble.” Let us boast in Him.