What does God say about humility? I was attending a prayer group recently and the question about humility was posed to me. At first, I thought, hum, that’s easy enough to carry out, but as the evening went on, and I ruminated about humanity in general and my humanity specifically, it was not that easy to answer. Humanity was created in righteousness and perfect innocence, a reflection of God’s holiness which means it is a state of attainment. It is the way we humble ourselves before the Lord in our actions and deeds. Questions that arose during my inner thinking were, when am I humble, when it is convenient? When do I own humility? When do I act on it? Does choosing when to show humility make me a hypocrite? When am I not humble and why? When do I express humility and why?
I’ve fought this battle most of my life, limelight-humility, limelight-it’s about me; humility or pride. I know this is the battle that rages in many of us. Sometimes we rise to meet God’s expectations of us and other times we fall flat on our face, and all the while ego is laughing. Do we succumb to the evil one, or do we repent?
Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Bible Theology describes ‘humility’ as being grounded in the character of God. Humility is necessary to enter God’s kingdom (Matt 5:3; 18: 1-4). As the absence of self (Matt 10:38-39; Luke 9:23-25). It is a bankruptcy of Spirit (Matt 5:3); that accrues no merit but depends solely on God’s righteousness for salvation (Luke 19:9-14, 18:15-17). Since the Lord denounces hypocritical worship (Isa 57:15; Matt 6:5-8, 6:16-18) and false humility (Colossians 2:18 w:23), a person’s heart must match his or her posture (Isa 57:15, Luke 18:9-14; cf. Isa 6:5; Acts 11:29). A person must not claim honor for self (Prov 25:6-7; Luke 14:7-11) but have an unassuming attitude (Romans 12:3). [www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/humility. 1/27/2018).
John the Baptist is a perfect example of what we must do when he said, “He (Jesus) must increase and I (John) must decrease.” Humility stems from understanding who God is, our Lord and Savior. We must understand that God is Sovereign and He has entrusted us to be used for His purpose and glory, not our own. [Lesson 19: A Lesson in Humility (John 3:22-39), www.bible.org/Series Page/Lesson-19-humility-John-322-30, 1/27/2018)
So back to the questions, like many, I work to build and strengthen my relationship with our Father. I know that pride, a lack of humility, is a part of our battle on earth. As a Christian, I must be alert and put down my carnal self. I must not claim honor for self but have an unassuming attitude at all times, choosing not to want public credit to bolster my self-capital. Only God is righteous. My righteousness is through Him. I am no more than ‘a filthy rag’. I must become humble in my being, demonstrating humility as my personal norm. I must terminate a prideful attitude. According to Stephen Cole, pride is the most deadly and evil of all sins because it’s at the root of all other sins. When we sin, we are arrogantly asserting that we know better than God knows what is best for us. As Christians, we must constantly battle pride and grow in humility.
Growing in humility is a life-long process. When we think we have mastered humility and remain humble is when we fall prey to the evil one. This type of thinking leads to being prideful, and pridefulness is a sin. So when I fail, it is important for me to repent and continue to move forward, working on humility and being humble before the Lord.
How does this affect our children? Our children learn from us. As parents, we constantly tell our children to be competitive, win, take credit for the win, do your best and standout. While these may be good earthly characteristics, they do not demonstrate the character of Christ within us. We must teach our children that it is more important to be humble than prideful. It is not the way of our Lord to beat our chests and claim greatness in what we do and accomplish. We must humble ourselves and thank the Lord for everything He has done for us, after all, He knew us before we entered our mother’s womb and knows the plans He has for us, all of which are absent of pridefulness and a haughty spirit. Our children must learn to submit to God’s reign over their lives and renounce all glory except glory from God. They must avoid arrogance, stubbornness and a willful spirit. Our children must learn to be humble. The hard question is – Are you humble or do you take credit for your accomplishments and sacrifices? Do your children, nieces, nephews, and other young people see God in you? Do you demonstrate humility in your daily living?