Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve here… Are you humble? If you said yes, there is a good chance that you’re not. That’s the elusive nature of humility: striving for it seems to drive it further from our grasp. Yet, Jesus wants His children to be known as humble and contrite people.
Humility is often confused with shyness, bashfulness or putting yourself down. Jesus was humble, but he certainly never degraded himself. It takes enormous amounts of courage to be humble. It is most often the result of high self-esteem and self-confidence. Insecure people are rarely humble people. Insecurity doesn’t produce humility, but pride. Show me a boastful, self-centered person and I’ll show you someone with deep-seated insecurities. Pride is always a cover-up for insecurity.
On the other hand, the Bible tells us that “love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or PROUD” (1 Corinthians 13:4). Love is not proud. Love wants no part of this kind of thinking or lifestyle. Pride is nothing more than a form of self-love. True love is self-effacing and humble.
God clearly loves humility, and says in Isaiah 66:2 that He blesses those who have humble hearts and tremble at His Word. God promises to bless the humble. So, if you want God’s blessing, you’d better be humble.
How do I act humbly? Good question. The “Love Chapter” says “love is not proud” (1 Cor. 13:4). One might surmise that if we love this way, we will act humbly. We also know that love is not a feeling, but more a willful action on our part. Love is something I do. Therefore, when I willfully choose to love, a feeling can follow. I believe the same may be true of humility.
Humility is a way of thinking that leads to a distinctive way of acting. You may say, “I don’t feel very humble”, but I say, humility has little to do with your feelings. Humility is a way of acting, a way of living, a way of behaving. Humility becomes a choice: I choose whether to be humble or not. And if it’s a choice, then it’s something that can be learned—something I can do over and over again until I learn to do it well. And like any learned behaviour, with practice we can become good at it.
What’s the thing I’m supposed to repeat over and over again? Advancing the interests and needs of others ahead of my own. Humility is thinking of others instead of yourself. Humility means being people-oriented rather than being self-centered. Humility is a form of self-forgetfulness, and that doesn’t come naturally to any of us. It’s pretty difficult to do. It occurs only after a lot of practice, repeating selfless behaviour over and over and over again.
And the Lord loves to bless that kind of behaviour.
Have a blessed week,
P.S. - Check out our website to find out more about our current FAIR project, a home for orphaned girls and girls at risk in Lebanon called Cedar Home.
Our 2014 Fellowship theme verse is:
“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35 (NLT)