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Monday, January 21, 2008

Humility


Humility


In church this morning, the pastor reminded me of how important humility is.


Humble - An adjective that describes someone marked by meekness or modesty. A lack of vanity or self-importance; lowliness, meekness, modesty. A humble attitude, or spirit, is not arrogant or prideful.


Humility – the condition of being humble.

Jesus washing the disciples feet by Ford Maddox Brown


Psalm 131
Lord, my heart is not haughty,
Nor my eyes lofty.
Neither do I concern myself with great matters,
Nor with things too profound for me.
Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul,
Like a weaned child with his mother;
Like a weaned child is my soul within me.
O Israel, hope in the Lord
From this time forth and forever.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia-

“…It by no means implies slavishness or servility; nor is it inconsistent with a right estimate of oneself, one's gifts and calling of God, or with proper self-assertion when called for. But the habitual frame of mind of a child of God is that of one who feels not only that he owes all his natural gifts, etc., to God, but that he has been the object of undeserved redeeming love, and who regards himself as being not his own, but God's in Christ. He cannot exalt himself, for he knows that he has nothing of himself. The humble mind is thus at the root of all other graces and virtues. Self-exaltation spoils everything. There can be no real love without humility…”

As King of the Universe, Jesus could have been born in a palace with slaves in attendance. He could have driven the best and most expensive vehicles and worn designer clothes of only the best material. He could have eaten any delicacy the world has to offer and had bodyguards to keep Him separated from the masses. He could have…but He didn’t! He deserved it, but He didn’t insist on it. It was His right, but He subjected His rights. Christ humbled Himself for our sakes. He, who had never been apart from the Father, who had never experienced sin, now allowed Himself to be born to a poor couple in a barn. He walked barefoot and wore lowly clothes, He worked and provided for His mother and siblings, He ate basic food and walked among crowds of unwashed sinners, touching them. He humbled Himself even to death, a torturous and horrible death, at the hands of those He came to save.

Humility is a Christian grace as exampled by our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Matthew 11: 29 “Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls.”

Phillippians 2: 5-11 For let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him, and has given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of heavenly ones, and of earthly ones, and of ones under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Humility is a state of mind that is pleasing to God and it gives us peace and patience under trials.

1 Peter 3: 3-4 Your beauty should not be an external one, consisting of braided hair or the wearing of gold ornaments and dresses. Instead, it should be the inner disposition of the heart, consisting in the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great value in the sight of God.
God humbles us to bring us to Himself, and when we humble ourselves before Him we are accepted.

2 Chronicles 7: 14-15 If my own people will humbly pray and turn back to me and stop sinning, then I will answer them from heaven. I will forgive them and make their land fertile once again. I will hear the prayers made in this temple,

Isaiah 57: 15 Our holy God lives forever in the highest heavens, and this is what he says: Though I live high above in the holy place, I am here to help those who are humble and depend only on me.

Isaiah 66: 1-2 The LORD said: Heaven is my throne; the earth is my footstool. What kind of house could you build for me? In what place will I rest? I have made everything; that's how it all came to be. I, the LORD, have spoken. The people I treasure most are the humble-- they depend only on me and tremble when I speak.

Mattew 23:11-12 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever shall exalt himself shall be abased, and he who shall humble himself shall be exalted.

The pastor said, if you humble yourself, God will exalt you and everything He does is done perfectly. If you exalt yourself, then God will humble you and you will have caused yourself a lot of heartache.

Matthew 5:2-3 And He opened His mouth and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit! For theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.

Jesus taught that the “poor in spirit”, those who are humble and realize their need of salvation and their dependence on God, are blessed and will inherit the “kingdom of Heaven”. Those who are humble, meek and lowly, who realize the poverty of their spirit, who are thirsty and hungry for what only God can give them, will be saved when they reach out. We are empty of self and ready to be filled with Christ. We know we have a need that we cannot fill so we have to have God. With this humble attitude, we will then value God and His free gift of salvation. Our salvation and relationship with God becomes our treasure.

Where is humility today? We insist on our rights, we sue for our rights, we scream for our rights, we demonstrate for our rights! And we have become a selfish, arrogant, me-generation. We think it’s all about US and we think we are the center of the Universe. We have become mini-gods, demanding our way like spoiled brats. We push ourselves ahead of others, clawing our way over the backs of others, we blame others, we point the finger and sneer. We try everything we can think of to get attention for ourselves whether it’s wearing immodest clothing, performing Youtube videos or jumping off buildings in squirrel suits. We want to be famous, we think we are so important. We are ready to divorce our spouse rather than make sacrifices for them, divorce rather than humble ourselves and try to change, divorce rather than do something you don’t want to do. We don’t want to sacrifice anything, we don’t want to wait on anything, we don’t want anything to cost us. We want it all for ourselves. We have to have our way or someone is going to know about it.

When I was growing up, my parents modeled love, sacrifice, and humility to us. And I learned how to prefer others before myself. If there is 5 pieces of chicken and 4 people, I will ask all 4 of the others if they want the last piece. I don’t hover over it to grab it for myself. I offer to let others ride in the front seat of the car rather than calling “shotgun” to grab the most preferred seat for myself. If there are several of us together to go to lunch, I try to be flexible and follow the group rather than insist we eat where I want to eat. I will let others in front of me. We need to learn to put others before ourselves. We need to treat others with respect and give them the preferred places. We need to treat our elders with respect and put them first in line. While driving we can allow someone else in front of us. We can hold back from honking the horn when someone does something we don’t like and jumps the gun on us. It’s little things like this that will teach us humility.

Humility goes against our grain. We aren’t born with a humble spirit. The first time we want something to eat, we begin to squall until we get what we want. The first time we get a belly ache, we pitch a fit until we get a good burping and some relief. We come out of the womb knowing how to demand our way and get attention. But, as Christians, we have a new spirit in us and the Holy Spirit is in us teaching us a new way so that we can begin to mature and grow past our childishness.

Colossians 3:12 God loves you and has chosen you as his own special people. So be gentle, kind, humble, meek, and patient.

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