I recently read about a man who took great pride in being a former Navy Seal. And why not? That’s a very elite group of people. It takes a special sailor to qualify as a Navy Seal. This man told about sharing his military exploits with his grandson’s kindergarten class. This former Seal regaled the children with his war stories. After he finished, hands shot up all over the classroom. The kids were eager to ask questions. He called on one little girl who asked, “So, can you balance a ball on the end of your nose?”
Sometimes learning humility can be painful!
Do you have any Bible verses that you have memorized? I have never been good at memorizing anything…so I gravitate to short (but powerful) bible verses. A great example of such a verse is found in the Old testament. Micah 6:8 (niv)… what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
So…what is humility? The dictionary says it is…” a modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness.” Some characteristics include…
- They acknowledge they don’t have it all together. …
- They know the difference between self-confidence and pride. …
- They seek to add value to others. …
- They take responsibility for their actions. …
- They are filled with gratitude for what they have.
Henry Augustus Rowland, professor of physics at Johns Hopkins University, was once called as an expert witness at a trial. During cross-examination a lawyer demanded, “What are your qualifications as an expert witness in this case?” The normally modest and retiring professor replied quietly, “I am the greatest living expert on the subject under discussion.” Later a friend well acquainted with Rowland’s disposition expressed surprise at the professor’s uncharacteristic answer. Rowland answered, “Well, what did you expect me to do? I was under oath.”
So…what does it mean to walk humbly with your God? I looked online and found some interesting quotes:
- It was John Riskin who said, “I believe the first test of a truly great man is his humility. I do not mean by humility, doubt of his own power, or hesitation in speaking his opinion. But really great men have a … feeling that greatness is not in them but through them; that they could not do or be anything else than God made them.”
- Andrew Murray said, “The humble man feels no jealousy or envy. He can praise God when others are preferred and blessed before him. He can bear to hear others praised while he is forgotten because … he has received the spirit of Jesus, who pleased not Himself, and who sought not His own honor. Therefore, in putting on the Lord Jesus Christ he has put on the heart of compassion, kindness, meekness, longsuffering, and humility.”
- M.R. De Haan used to say, “Humility is something we should constantly pray for, yet never thank God that we have.”
- Benjamin Franklin, the early American statesman, made a list of character qualities that he wanted to develop in his own life. When he mastered one virtue, he went on to the next. He did pretty well, he said, until he got to humility. Every time he thought he was making significant progress; he would be so pleased with himself that he became proud.
Humility is an elusive virtue. Even Jesus’ disciples struggled with it. When Jesus learned that they had been arguing about who was the greatest, He responded, “If anyone desires to be first, he should be last of all and servant of all” (Mk. 9:35). Then He took a little child in His arms and indicated that we need to humbly serve others as if we were serving Christ.
Let’s take a look at our opening verse again but this time in the message translation. Micah 6:8 (msg)… It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously— take God seriously.
The Bible is full of self-humbling (man bowing down before God)…as well as doxology (man giving praise to God). The healthy heart is one that bows down in humility and rises in praise and adoration.
So…now what? It can seem confusing to ask for humility…while finding Joy in accomplishing much for the Lord (or through the Lord). While it’s hard to avoid those feelings of pride…focus on Who is working through you and Who gets the glory.
God has called you to walk a path…it is different than anyone else’s path. All equally important! Each of us are part of God’s big picture! Don’t let anyone convince you that their path is better than yours…and don’t act like yours is better that theirs.
1 Peter 5:5-6… All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
This topic is especially important in this time of pandemic and social unrest! We need to treat people the way that God treats us…with grace, mercy, forgiveness. To humbly treat them as equals.
All right…this is too good to not include… A husband said to his wife one day, “I’ve noticed that you always carry my photo in your handbag to the office. Why?” His wife said, “When there is a problem, no matter how impossible, I look at your picture and the problem disappears.” The husband puffed himself up and said, “You see how miraculous and powerful I am for you?” And his wife answered, “Yes, I see your picture and say to myself, What other problem can there be greater than this one?”