Humility in a Christian's Life

“For 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, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” Isaiah 57:15

“Humility” is not a word you hear very often, is it? I was going to call it an old-fashioned word, but in thinking it over, I don't think humility has ever been a much-used word. The dictionary says it is from Latin (low to the ground) and is a condition “marked by meekness or modesty in behavior, attitude, or spirit; not arrogant or proud.” The world naturally associates it negatively with the word “humiliation.” It is in our depraved human DNA to want to be lifted up, not brought low. A small book could be compiled of all the variations on the phrase, “If I don't look after #1 who is going to?” I wonder if that thought was in Lucifer's mind when he tried to lift himself up and dethrone God? According to John 14:30 he is the “ruler of this world,” and 2 Corinthians 4:4 tells us that he is the “god of this age.” That explains why lifting oneself up is considered not only a virtue but a 'right' in this present world system, and meekness is considered weakness.


The first question to be asked is, “Why is humility in His children so important to God?” Let me answer by asking two questions: “How did you see yourself when the Spirit of God showed you that you were a sinner and needed a Savior? Did you see yourself as worthy of God's grace and mercy? Let me remind you; “For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any MAN SHOULD BOAST.” (Ephesians 2:8,9) Peter put it very simply: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (1Peter 3:5) Consider this; ALL the writers of the Bible addressed the issues of pride and humility. They are foundational issues in God's mind. The New Testament is full of warnings for believers about drifting away into worldliness for good reason. James and Peter both give us the same advice about humility: “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up.” (James) “Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.” (Peter) I think that last phrase, “in due time” is important.

Both Don's children and Wendie's children received copies of “The Velveteen Rabbit” from their grandmother when they were young. In it the rabbit asks the old rocking horse about being real, and the horse explains; “Being real isn't how you are made, it is a thing that happens to you, and it takes a long time. That's why it doesn't often happen to people who break easily or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.” We are not made humble, it is a quality that God develops in us (usually through trials and suffering), and it takes a long time. It goes against our human nature and makes us stand out from the culture all around us. It is a struggle.

The Spirit of God wants to clean us, refine us, and polish us until “the glorious light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” shines through us. To do this we need to make sure that our free will is under the control of God's will. It is simply being obedient by doing what we know we should do in all situations. There is no magic wand, and yes, it is hard, and we fail miserably more times than we want to admit, BUT the reward is the joy of knowing God personally and intimately not only in the hereafter, but in the here-and-now.

I feel as though I have been writing this devotional in an alien language, but let me close with these words; “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11)

“O to be like Thee! O to be like Thee, blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art; come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness; stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.” Amen