Friday, June 8, 2012

Why I don't need Humility

Humility?  I don't need it.  I'm perfectly humble!

Examine that statement for second.  Is there any possible way in which a person can state the above and NOT sound like they are riddled with pride?  Imagine yourself in a church service where everyone has their eyes closed and heads bowed.  What would you do if the pastor suddenly said "I want everyone who needs more humility to raise their hand!"  Would you peek and then shoot your hand up?  (You don't want to embarrass yourself and rocket that arm up if nobody else is, right? - Think about the irony of that question...)  But most of us think we are fairly humble people, don't we?  We try to be nice to others - even serving them.  We try to remember to let at least one or two cars go in front of us in the evening traffic quagmire when everyone is trying to get home.  We try to be patient and not thank badly of the woman wrestling that screaming toddler with two other children playing tag in the checkout line wreaking havoc on the efficiency of the whole. 

"OK, why the 20 questions on humility already?"  Because I don't need it.  Do you?  Honestly, is this in your "Top 5 Self-Improvement List" for God to work on with you?  For most of us, it falls far below, possibly not even making the chart, yet somehow God keeps bringing me back to it.  I've written on this a couple of different times in posts entitled It's Not About Me: Resting in Humility and The Power of Submission Through Humility so it is evident that the Lord is dealing with me on this issue.  But why keep bringing me back to it? 

Up until now, God has shown me in His word my part in humility and its tremendous importance in my life.  But do we ever consider the humble nature of God?  The Word is clear, the nature of the Son is the same as the nature of the Father which is the same as the nature of the Spirit.  They are one in thought and intent, one in value and in objective.  Unified and distinct.  But do we ever ponder humility as a character trait of our Father? 

It is awe inspiring to gaze at deep space imagery and consider the hand that framed the heavens.  It is equally magnificent to study the microscopic intricacies that permit life to even exist on our planetary sphere and to consider the mind that has designed these to perfection.  Praise readily comes forth when we enrapture ourselves in the greatness and magnitude of our Creator when we bear witness to the power of the oceans and the majesty of the earth.  All of this is without even considering His redemption of our doomed race from death and hell and price paid to usher us into His presence.  His love is overwhelming.  His majesty is staggering.  His power is incomprehensible.  His humility is.....?  We draw a blank.  Why?  Why do we fail to see the strength and necessity of humility in our day-by-day, moment-by-moment walk of faith?  Shouldn't we be seeking to emulate Him?

"Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn't think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn't claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion."
Philippians 2:5-8 (MSG)

This verse is powerful to transform how we interact with each other.  The heart of a servant is revealed and we can see our Savior washing dusty feet, silencing the bickering between a dozen men who still couldn't grasp what it meant to love selflessly.

Why do we stop here though?  Why do we continually hit the mental wall of humility being equal to being abused and downtrodden?  It's because we continually fail to see the power of humility and its affect in turning our circumstances and the promises associated with it.

The reward of humility and the reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.
Proverbs 22:4 (AMP)

Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you'll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you're content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty.
Matthew 23:11-12 (MSG)

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.
James 4:16 (NLT)

Humility isn't about seeing who can get the most people to step on them.  Jesus was perfectly humble, never sinned, and even in humility angrily drove money changers out of the temple.  The Father in complete majesty, power and glory is completely humble, though all praise in the universe is due Him.  Is this such a stretch?  Can you imagine if He did not possess humility?  First, it would be His absolute right to boast about anything He wished, and secondly, it would be His absolute right to wipe out anything that challenged His absolute authority and power.  "But for the grace of God go I...."

But Humility is core to His nature, as is Love, as is Grace, as is Mercy, as is Righteousness, Purity, Goodness, Kindness...where do we stop?  This God, our Father, is so big and cares so much for each of us.  But often we are too busy to pay attention to Him.  We are too busy, too worried, too fearful, too proud living this life that He has given us and sustains to come to know Him.  Love and Humility, Patience and Grace, Mercy and Goodness - all waiting for us to turn our thoughts, our attention to Him.  And do you know who He takes special note of?

For all these things My hand has made, and so all these things have come into being by and for Me, says the Lord. But this is the man to whom I will look and have regard: he who is humble and of a broken or wounded spirit, and who trembles at My word and reveres My commands.
Isaiah 66:2 (AMP)

When do we tremble at and revere His Word?  Remember, "the Word was made flesh".  He has modeled humility to us on such a grand scale that just like love, and numerous other character traits of His, we will spend the rest of our lives trying to get it right.  The beauty of it all is that He is the one who empowers us to do so. 

In the face of an eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent tender loving Father who sacrificed that which was most dear to Him to bring me, a faulted creation, into His family and continues to put up with my faults, my failures, my ungrateful outbursts, my lack of trust and at times my faithlessness and even continues to bless me in spite of it - in the face of all of this, I could never imagine why I (especially) should ever fail to run towards more humility.  I invite you to examine and ask yourself "Why I don't need more humility?"

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