My last blog post tackled the issue of pride - how to identify it and surrender it to the Lord. As I’ve been meditating more on this topic, I’m realizing just how crucial dealing with pride is.
See, I have a problem though. Humility is a tricky thing. It’s often misunderstood.
I think the enemy realizes how powerful true humility is, and tries to twist it into something it's not.
My personality tends toward more of the passive, chill, prefer others way of life, with a sprinkle of some people-pleasing tendencies here and there.
My problem is that my personality can occasionally LOOK like humility. I began to wonder if maybe I’m just naturally humble. (Maybe she’s born with it? Not hardly.)
This natural tendency tells my brain that I’ve got this area covered, I'm winning (with humility of course), and I can move along. No need to inspect further.
Except that this is a lie.
It’s a counterfeit.
Because it’s not Jesus. It’s just my self. And my self has no good thing in it.
The funny thing is that this tendency makes me pretty PROUD of how humble I am, naturally.
Humility is so easy! Look at how I prefer others and let them have their way! Look at how lowly I am! I. AM. AWESOME.
It’s laughable really.
If I'm being even more honest, this lie then makes room for more lies. That maybe because I'm so naturally chill and humble, that when I do want my way (pride), that I DESERVE it. That I need to ASSERT my rights (pride), because I am so giving most of the time.
Before I know it, it's a vicious cycle of lies. All logical of course.
The enemy loves to deceive us with logical, justified counterfeits. That’s why we must know the Word to be able to discern between the Truth and a lie.
True Humility doesn't come from our personality, or our strengths or weaknesses, or our skills, or our past or future, or anything having to do with US.
True humility comes from one thing: gazing at Jesus and allowing His nature to be formed in us.
Andrew Murray puts it this way in his book “Humility:”
“Humility is nothing but the disappearance of self in the vision that God is all.”
I was attempting to be humble in my own self, in my own strength. Massive fail.
My problem was that I needed to get out of the way.
Philippians 2 challenges us with this:
"5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."
That is a tall order. Have this same mind in us.
Thankfully, we don’t have to muster this up on our own. The Holy Spirit will help us to have this same mindset!
So what does true humility look like? Here are four characteristics of Humility:
- Humility is DEPENDENT. Jesus Christ is the perfect example of this. He clearly states that He did nothing on His own during His time on earth, but “only did what He saw the Father doing.” A truly humble person realizes that he or she can do nothing on their own. They completely rely on the Lord. A baby is a great picture of dependence. They need help for EVERYTHING. So do we, truly. We cannot even sustain our own breath by ourselves - it is a gift from the Father.
- Humility is CONFIDENT. Many people think of humility as weakness, because it is so dependent. But it is not. Humility is confident trust in the Person you are relying on. I love this because it takes the insane pressure off of US, and puts in on God’s shoulders. He is able, and willing, and is such a good, good Father. We can be confident in His care for us. Jesus’ humility during His time on earth never veered into insecurity, or worry, or anxiety. He trusted His Father.
- Humility is OBEDIENT. Because Jesus humbly loves and trusts the Father, He took obedience to a whole new level: Death. Even death on a cross! This is the pinnacle of all humility. Christ brought Himself so low at the cross, out of obedience, that He undid the workings of the entire world in a moment. True humility is powerful. And we cannot suppose that this type of humility is just for the God/Man Jesus. Christ calls us (and empowers us!) to the same level of humble obedience: Luke 9:23 says “And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” And also in Matthew 11:29 “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
- Humility is CULTIVATED. Humility isn’t something that just comes upon us one day. It is something we can pursue and cultivate in our lives. Back to Phil. 2, Paul urges us to “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus…” The mind is our realm to bring into order, but it also says this way of thinking is ours in Christ Jesus! 1 Cor. 2: 16 says, “But we have the mind of Christ.” This is exciting to me. I have the ability to think like Jesus does if I replace my own thought structures with the WORD. I have been asking the Holy Spirit to show me what true humility looks like, to produce this fruit in my life, to reveal and deal with any pride, and to help me think like Christ does. And I’ve been putting the Word to work - writing verses on notecards and memorizing them, and letting them take root in my mind and heart. I want to cultivate this same mind that was also in Christ Jesus.
What do you usually think of when humility comes to mind? Has your perception of humility been based on Christ? Let's pattern our thoughts and lives after His way and walk in True Humility.
Here is an audio version for free of Andrew Murray's book "Humility."
If you need more time to digest (me!), the book is available on amazon (or your local library).
Also, this sermon on Humility by Charles Spurgeon has some great points.