Some weeks you look at the world around and draw quiet. Because what could you possibly add of value to all the noise?
Some days you speak and you end up wondering if what you are saying can ever be clearly understood in the vein you mean it. You furthermore wonder if you even mean it the way you thought.
Sometimes you have to ask yourself if you are doing the same to others….coming with your own agenda, but not opening the door to receive questions and not truly hearing answers when offered. Sometimes you despise a rebuke and you feel anything but humble in heart.
Humility truly listens. Humility asks questions to gain understanding. Humility doesn’t rebuff at the word of correction. It seems we must sift through our own intentions and motivations continuously in order to gain and maintain a humble heart.
That being said, godly humility does arrive at conclusions. It has opinions rooted in the Word of God. Being humble in love does not mean one must float adrift, following every wave of thought that rolls in simply because we think that is the most loving thing to do. In love, we can humbly remain anchored to the truths of scripture–and we should.
The world is far from humble. Boasting and insults abound. We are far from humble too. So do we follow the way of the world or do we as Christians walk in humility?
humility: the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people: the quality or state of being humble (Merriam-Webster)
The Bible tells us there was no man greater of humility than Moses. He walked with God, was physically changed by time spent in God’s presence, fasted 40 days in grief over his people’s idolatry and sexual revelry. He mediated the volatile relations between a Holy God and a sinful people. Moses KNEW God, and all the while he was tapped the most humble man on earth—a man who did not think of himself more highly than he ought.
Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth. Numbers 12:3
Perhaps his humility was most easily seen while he was consumed with the cares and troubles of the people he led. Day and night he listened to and judged the complaints and disputes among them, and it wearied him greatly. His father-in-law, Jethro came to visit. In wisdom, he offered Moses advice: delegate your work to faithful men who serve God so that you can preside over the more difficult cases. In humility, Moses heard and took the advice. And he was greatly helped. It took a certain humility for Moses to first hear his father-in-law and then apply the wisdom offered. He is an excellent example to us.
The tricky part of humility though is that it can disguise itself. For example, pride often cloaks itself as humility–covering true intentions, not revealing the wayward heart beneath. It uses the right words and the hushed tones to speak; but underneath the meek veneer it has an agenda that is deceitful. How can we discern this in our own hearts? How can we discern this in others?
Wisdom is proved right by her actions. Over time wisdom will prove itself to be true.
The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.” Matthew 11:19
Jesus lived among the broken and did not cast aspersions. By this, some people want to characterize Jesus as hanging out at the bar every Saturday night, welcoming all without change. He was there among them, but in order to call them OUT of sin and to heal their souls. He did not stumble in any way while doing that. He did it all in love. But may we never think he didn’t do it!
So what am I driving at today? This week I am weighing the intentions of my own heart. Though I may begin something in humility, I can quickly turn away to pride. When I follow the path of pride, I have ceased to keep in step with Christ. So I know I have a continual need to scrutinize my own heart and corral my rebelliousness.
But humility does not equal the absence of conflict or rebuke. Humility does defend truth…God’s truth. It calls people to be changed through the blood of Christ. And in the defense of God’s truth, humility and love are not abandoned. This is displayed through the true love which points others to the narrow, wicket gate of salvation through Christ. It is not the broad road, but the narrow road that leads to eternal life! And it is his truth and his name we honor and defend–not our own–because he calls us to.
Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. Luke 9:26
Humility does not always come in a demure, hushed package. It can be intact even in the midst of unrest. Conflict does not nullify wisdom and humility. When Moses came down from the mountain and found God’s people worshiping a golden cow, engaged in a literal orgy, he did not demurely talk the people down from their sin, nor did he make concession for it. He broke the tablets of the law against the rock, called the people to repent, and administered strong discipline from the Lord.
We don’t like a God who would honor the behaviors of that last sentence. Because perhaps we only want a demure and hushed god as well?
May we take the whole counsel of God in faith. He is gracious and forgives sinners, but he calls us OUT of our sin and desires to make us into a holy priesthood–vessels fit for his use. May we not resist or hate that call, but in humility, listen and stand firm.
In Christ’s love, Erika