Whoever is humble raise your hand. You can’t contrive humility, it sneaks up on you, you don’t even notice it, but everyone around you does. To see humility in yourself is to find it fly away. So, what do we do with the scriptural admonitions to be humble? There are two aspects to humility. I can humble myself before others, by subjecting my will to theirs. However, that is an outward action that may or may not reflect the heart. Inward humility is much more difficult.
Humility comes when we are so overwhelmed with the reality of God’s grace that everything in our lives gives sway to His will. A humble heart sees everything through a redemptive lens. A life of humility gives way to another, not because they are superior, but because it is an expression of God’s favor. Humility sees others as more important because its identity is in Christ and not in being right or greater.
This has ramifications in how we live the Christian life. The consumer heart sees church through the lens of personal interest. The humble heart sees the church through the lens of God’s mission. The consumer heart looks at the church and asks, “How will you meet my needs?” The humble heart looks at the church and asks, “How can I express God’s will?” The consumer heart wants a return for its investment. The humble heart is owned by God and is available to His will. The consumer heart searches for something better. The humble heart sees nothing better than God and rests in His will.
Humility is a discipline and a characteristic. As a discipline I practice putting others before myself. As a characteristic I have to allow God to bring me to the place where I am undone and have nowhere to turn. Humility is cultivated through the disciplines of prayer, bible study, and meditation. We are overwhelmed by God’s grace when we spend time with Him, move in Him, and breathe Him in. I asked the people at church to meditate on what it really means to “have a closer walk with Thee,” from the old hymn. The closer we get to God the less we are focused on our self. The more focused we are on ourselves the further we are away from God.
We are constantly moving between these two points. At any point in your day reflect on what you are thinking and feeling. Are you complaining about something…Self. Are you looking for others to meet your needs…Self. Are you running away from God’s mission…Self. Are you seeking the easy way out…Self.
It is much easier to point out when we are being self-centered than what it looks like to be God focused. Because doing church stuff doesn’t mean you are God focused, if it is done from a need perspective. What I do know is this: Today as I wallowed in discouragement, self-pity, anger and even resentment, I was struck with how far away I was from God, at that moment. I needed to refocus my attention.
I am learning again and again that I must be undone with nowhere to go, so that all I can see is Jesus. That can be very painful. I’m just saying….