The perpetual prayer list to aid us in transformation begins with a character quality that is treasured by God but rare in humanity: HUMILITY. Let’s look at Christ and gaze on the beauty of humility He exhibits.
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8
Throughout Christ’s life, He evidenced humble surrender to the will of the Father. Jesus told the disciples that the meat He ate was obedience to the Father! His very sustenance came from doing what God desired.
The essence of humility is surrender to the Heavenly Father.
Faith and humble obedience look an awful lot alike. Any time spent looking at how Christ lived will reveal new aspects of humility: his entrance to Jerusalem was on a donkey; He lived as a homeless servant; His own will was never His driving force.
The opposite of Christ’s humility is humanity’s self-serving, self-centered demands for consideration. A focus on ‘my rights’ draws me from His humble presence. Pride rears its head in subtle, diverse ways. We are often unaware of pride’s presence in our hearts until we fall flat on our face. Anytime we trust in ourselves–our strength, our knowledge, our experience, our efforts–instead of God, lethal pride is lurking. Humble awareness of the need for divine intervention ushers in victory. Prideful perseverance in the face of need guarantees a fall.
Humility matters so much to God, that all of life
functions as a classroom for pride and humility lessons.
Consider the ‘classrooms’ discussed below and ask the Spirit to reveal areas in your life where pride is lurking and threatening a fall. Seek to see where foolish pride is obscuring the glory of God. Rejoice at the victory of humility!
• Relationships are a priority to God. Perhaps that is why relationships offer university-level instruction on humility. Without Christ, meeting our own needs and securing our ‘rights’ drives every relationship. Unity demands humility; without it, marriages disintegrate, parents and children fight, churches split and friendships end. Humility trusts God to meet our needs and direct our interactions.
• The workplace, too, teaches humility. As employees become sacrifices on the altar of greed, profit-driven administrations shred pride in preparation and performance. Humility trusts that God orchestrates both the present and the future. Humility gives victory over unpleasant working conditions and even unemployment.
• Working for the Lord is especially fraught with pitfalls of pride. God calls us only to the work of faith. The service we do is simply scaffolding on which to observe the work of God. Pride confuses our efforts with His work and interferes with eternal fruit. Humility rejoices at God’s handiwork and the immense privilege of working for the King of Kings!
• Trust in our physical bodies begins in childhood but wanes in aging. The human body is a marvelous machine; yet its design includes wearing out! Even those who exercise and eat right experience illness, disease and ultimately death. Humble acceptance of the aging process exhibits trust in God to work within our limits; prideful resistance hampers His work and dampens our spirit.
• Personal tragedies and natural disasters provide brutal lessons in humility. Mistakes, carelessness, the unavoidable presence of evil in the world and even accidents devastate our prideful assumption of control. Humility frees us from the need to be perfect. It acknowledges that God is greater than our mistakes and greater than the evil that is in the world. God trusts God can and will bring good from the most horrid events. Humility accepts a loss of control to receive total security from Christ.
Recognizing need is the key that opens the door to humility and its faithful companions: joy and contentment. When needs confront us, let us reject our natural, prideful responses of whining demands or childish independence and humbly, jubilantly praise God for His powerful promises of provision! In fact, let’s learn to look at needs as invitations to know God more and humbly accept the invitation.