Finding humility in the most unexpected of places
I found humility in the most unexpected of places – in the pages of the Old Testament among military strategies, mighty kings and family feuds. I’ve never quite understood humility. To me, it is associated with being broken and weak – opposite of all the traits you need to get ahead in the world we live in.
Over and over, God kept speaking to my heart about humbling myself before Him, so I began to earnestly search for what that means exactly. I prayed, cried and promised to give God full control of my life.
See, God? I am humble. Can we move on now?
“…Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed in humility, for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” -1 Peter 5:5-7
Lower, my daughter. Clothe yourself in humility before the mighty God.
I tried and tried, but kept failing for months. I had grasped many other concepts in my walk with the Lord, but humility just would not fit into my heart. In the end, my lesson in humility was quite simple – it was never about me, but about Him. In this small detail resided all my pride and fruitless efforts.
So often, we take for granted that the Lord will answer our prayers or bless us in certain ways. We pray, and expect immediate comfort, answers and gifts. We also expect comfortable, blessed and wealthy lives on this earth. After, all we are God’s children, we deserve it.
We’re wrong though. We’re not entitled to a single thing. Our God is a mighty and powerful God – the Creator of everything whose plan is not dependent on us humans.
That is where humility rests - in the full acceptance that without Jesus, I am nothing. As I'm working through the Old Testament, God is speaking to me through the lives of those before me - the men and women of valor and power who served the Lord with obedient, loyal and humble hearts.
"Now, therefore, our God, we thank You and praise Your glorious name. But who am I, and who are my people that we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, and of Your own we have given You. For we are aliens and pilgrims before You, as were all our father; our days on earth are as a shadow, and without hope." -2 Chronicles 20:13-15
With these words King David recognizes how great our God truly is. Yes, through Jesus' sacrifice we are the children of God, and sometimes, we feel like that give us some sort of entitlement or a get out of jail free card, but really we are alive today because of His grace, not because we earned it or because we're something special.
"And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the lord has filled the Lord's house. When all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed their faces to the ground on the pavement, and worshipped and praised the Lord, saying: For He is good, For His mercy endures forever." -2 Chronicles 7:2-3
The people of Israel saw and felt the Lord's presence and their only reaction was to fall on their knees and worship Him. This is not just a story in the pages of some history book though, this is the same God before whom we live today.
He is in the church you go to. The house you live in. The office you work in. The car you drive and the parks you visit. He is everywhere. His glory doesn't come and go whenever it's convenient for you or whenever God feels like visiting you. No, He is always here.
The thing is, we often forget about His presence. We just don't notice the glory of God around us, nor do we feel it. That is a lack of humility. By not recognizing Him in our lives, we pretend to go about life on our own, indirectly saying that we're capable of prospering without Him.
"Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth!" -1 Chronicles 16:29-30
Humility of the heart is the sweetest way to worship our Lord.
He doesn't require dancing, a great band or even an adrenaline-pumping worship session. He doesn't need our hands raised high and chest standing our proudly proclaiming His name.
Over and over in the Bible, God commends the people who served Him righteously and they all have the same characteristics: they walked all the days of their life in humility, loyalty and obedience.
"So it was, when Ahab heard those words that he tore his clothes and put sackcloth on his body, and fasted and lay in sackcloth, and went about mourning. And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 'See how Ahab has humbled himself before Me?'" -1 Kings 21:27-29
No, this doesn't mean we should put on rags and live in mourning. But, we can see that the Lord saw humility in Ahab's actions because after hearing the words of God, Ahab felt the magnificence and power of the Lord. In response, he disregarded everything else in his life - physical appearances, food, his job and everything else just so to bring his heart before God.
Humility is not only in our actions, but first and foremost it's in our heart and our thoughts; it's the way we think about life and how we serve God. Humility is acknowledging that without God we are dust and ashes on this planet. It is feeling the Lord's presence in our lives and walking accordingly before Him.
Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up. -James 4:10
Humility is falling on your knees and giving Him all the honor by giving away our lives, personal ambitions and pride. It's willing to feel and look like nothing in the eyes of the people around you and only seeking to glorify God's name in everything.
When the rest of the people around you are screaming "Look at me! I'm the best! I did it!", you respond with, "To Him is the glory. Look at God, not me. In His name I am able to do anything. Because of the Almighty I am here today and should He ask, I would leave it all to follow Him."
Humility is a way of life, a state of the mind and a condition of the heart.
What are your thoughts on humility in a Christian's life?
PS. Coming up on Thursday: I'll be answering a few law school admissions prep questions over on Christy's blog, AND I'll also be hosting a Q&A with Livy Jarmusch, editor of the Crown of Beauty magazine for Christian teen girls, about her newly published book, "When Life Feels Like a Taylor Swift Song, A Girl's Guide to Guys."