Another year has passed and I recognise that I’ve not posted in a while despite my best intentions to keep on top of the blog (that’s the reality of life at the moment!). I wanted to begin the first post of this year by sharing a few thoughts on humility and what a gift it is to learn how to walk and move in it.
It is my view that humility is one of the greatest attributes that a person can develop and learn to keep hold of. It is not something that comes easily or naturally, especially in this digital age where it has become all too easy to throw about judgement as if it were normal or welcome. No, sadly, humility is lacking in most places yet it is vital if we are to learn how to discern, truly listen, stay teachable, and perhaps most importantly of all, stay close to the Spirit of God.
I’m challenged by the words of 1 Peter 5 verse 5 which reads:
Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for
“God resists the proud,
But gives grace to the humble.”
6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
God resists the proud! What a remarkable statement! Almighty God actively stands in the way of the proud.
So here are some tips to develop humility (and keep it!)
Look around you
You and I are one of 7 billion, in a vast universe of stars and planets spanning millions of light years that do not revolve around us. Whilst each of us is unique and loved by God we need to realise that there have been many that have gone before us and many that will come after we are long gone!
Every relationship is an opportunity to develop and walk in humility. Faithful friends that we trust can help us develop humility through encouragement, reflection and fair criticism. Even those that don’t like you, trust you, or see things the same way as you are an opportunity to grow in humility and grace. Our family are another wonderfully honest mirror that reflects our walk. Listen to all, weigh what is said and use it as an invitation for the Holy Spirit to develop your character.
Recognise that we see in part
If you ever come across anyone (or any church for that matter) that think that they have all the answers and can see “truth plainly”, run away! We see in part, we prophecy in part, we know in part. The rest of the body of believers in your congregation may help fill-in some of the blanks, but some things are best understood as simply mystery (the fullness of what the cross achieved for example, or the Trinitarian nature of the Godhead!). We do our best as finite creation to try to understand and explain the infinite and eternal Godhead, but we have no real concept of what infinite or eternal really is. So, whichever way we slice it we still end up putting God in a box made of our own understanding. Humility recognises and is at peace with this.
If you have ever tried your best and still made a mess of it then you are not alone! Failure is one of the better teachers in life. Even though we stumble and fall we are loved by God and learning the lessons of those failures and trying to apply them is a marker in your life of how you are growing in humility. Failure is not the end, it is another opportunity to learn and grow.
So why do we need it?
On this I’ll close by letting scripture speak to you on this subject! God bless you as you develop and walk in humility!
“Therefore, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (I Peter 5:6).
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29).
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart–These, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17).
“He gives more grace. Therefore He says, ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).
“Thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit….” (Isaiah 57:15).
“The Lord is near those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit” (Psalm 34:18).
“Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3-4).