Humility. It’s one of those words that is both excellent and gut-wrenching!
On one hand, God blesses us greatly when He humbles us. We are able to see more of His heart and our need for Him. That is so glorious and needed in our self-sufficient culture!
On the other hand, it feels really terrible, doesn’t it? It’s not something that leaves us feeling grateful, at least not until the other side when we get to glimpse my first point.
We don’t want to admit when we’re wrong. We especially don’t like others seeing that we’re wrong, much less pointing it out. And yet, God uses those relationships for our good. He presses us toward holiness so that we may admit we don’t have it altogether. We aren’t right all the time. We don’t know or control everything.
Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty,
but humility comes before honor.” — Proverbs 18:12
Something I’m learning in my marriage is that I’m rarely right. I married a man who is so very wise in nearly every capacity and it irks me! Yet God uses him to mold me, to soften me, and to bring about godliness through humbleness.
As someone who never witnessed apologizing or forgiveness in my household growing up, it is certainly not an easy thing for me to put into practice. However, as I began walking with Jesus, I had to learn what it meant to admit I was wrong & seek forgiveness – to have the posture of confession and repentance.
The reward for humility and fear of the Lord
is riches and honor and life.” — Proverbs 22:4
We often don’t understand that laying down our “right to be right” or rather our inability to admit we’re wrong, is where God meets us and draws us to Him. It is in confession and forgiveness that we are ushered into a grace-filled relationship. Not only with God but also with others.
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” — Ephesians 4:1-3
We also need to be on guard against the tendencies to hold fast to our ideas, opinions, presumptions and projections. These things often blind us to the objectivity needed to see when we are being prideful. Pray for God to convict you in times of prideful temptation. Pray for growth in humbleness and an urgency to rectify relationships by walking in humility.
And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” — 1 Peter 5:4-8
There is danger in pride. Pride lends itself to viewing ourselves as greater than we ought to. So, when exercising our pride with those in our households, it damages relationships much like it damages our relationship with God. Distance starts to form. Bitterness may take root. Yet, in our pride, we are always right no matter the cost.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” — Colossians 3:12-13
The best passage which demonstrates humility is a gospel presentation from Paul in the book of Philippians. Philippians 2:1-11 exemplifies the humility that we ought to possess as Christ-followers. Our walks should be marked by this characteristic. Sacrificing ourselves so that others may see God in us – humble enough to admit our weaknesses and wrongdoings. Humble enough to say, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”
That’s what I desire in me, so I will go through all these lessons that feel terrible to my flesh because my goal isn’t to exalt myself. It’s to exalt Him; the only One worthy of worship and exaltation.