While reading this blog post, I want you to ask yourself this question: Am I humbling myself according to God’s Word?
What does it really mean to “Humble Yourself?”
Well, the word humility comes from the Hebrew word anavah meaning “modesty” or “gentleness and meekness.” In Part 1; we talked about how Pride can lead you down a dangerous path away from God and what He wants for your life, but today; we will be talking about the other “I” trait: Humility and how we should strive to humble ourselves and think of others instead of letting our pride consume us.
In Matthew 18:3-4, Jesus tells us that if we don’t humble ourselves and become like little children, we will have no means of entering the kingdom of Heaven.
“3. … unless you are converted and become as little children, you will have by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. 4. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
These verses should act as a reminder of what we all Christians and non-believers should strive to become: little children in Christ. For me, humility is not my strong suit and I’m sure that it’s a struggle for a lot of people and I think it has a lot to do with humanity’s pride and what we feel we deserve. However, if we just took the time to focus on other people and their needs we would be able to learn humility and how to humble ourselves just like Christ did when He decided to fulfill God’s plan for all humanity when He decided to die on the cross.
In the Bible, we see how God will sometimes cause people to go through a situation or series of trials (e.g. like the Israelites in captivity to Canaanite kingdoms or King Nebuchadnezzar being driven mad) in order to humble them and cause them to come back to God. However, there was a king by the name of Manasseh in the Old Testament that comes to mind where he was put through such affliction by his enemies that he decided to humble himself before God.
In 2 Chronicles 33, King Manasseh was 12-years-old when he became king of Jerusalem and reigned for 35 years; however, he performed such evil before God that God caused him to be kidnapped by the Assyrian Empire; which affected him and caused him to humble himself.
King Manasseh’s Fall
- Verse 3, “… he raised up altars for the Baals, and made wooden images.”
- Verse 4, “He also built altars in the house of the Lord.”
- Verse 6, “he caused his sons to pass through the fire in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom”
- Verse 6, “He practiced soothsaying”
- Verse 6, “… practiced witchcraft and sorcery, and consulted mediums and spiritists.”
- Verse 7, “He even set a carved image… in the house of God.”
Because King Manasseh performed so much evil in God’s sight, God allowed Manasseh to be captured by his enemies (the Assyrians) who brought him to Babylon. In 2 Chronicles 33:12, it says, “12. Now when he was in affliction, he implored the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, 13. and prayed to Him; and He received his entreaty, heard his supplication, and brought him back to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord was God.”
We see that Manasseh, having no other choice in his capture begged God and humbled himself and was given back all that he had lost and acknowledged that the Lord was God.
In my opinion, another great example of humility in the Bible is the boy, later prophet Samuel. In 1 Samuel 3:10, we see that the Lord previously called Samuel and each time Samuel would go to Eli, however, it isn’t until verse 10 that we see the Lord call Samuel and Samuel’s response. 1 Samuel 3:10 says, “10. Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.”
When I initially read this verse, I looked at it as a conversation between God and man, however, now I am reading this not as a conversation but as a way for God to humble us and to get us to focus on Him and not on what is going on around us.
This leads me to a blog post I read by Mike Mobley called, “Scripture on Humility” where he talks about this subject. In the blog post, he said, “When we humble ourselves before others, we are considering them more important than ourselves” and I think that this is very important because he goes on to say that “… this runs counter to our culture. Our culture tells us above all else…look out for yourselves, make sure you take care of yourself, and that you deserve more.”
These two statements by Mike Mobley should give us as people and Christians the understanding that by remaining humble and focused on God and His Will; will give us the strength necessary to not let our pride get the better of us.
Mike Mobley said, “Jesus is our model for humility and demonstrates perfectly what it means to be humble.”
If we are willing to let go of our self-serving attitudes and humble ourselves and kneel before the One who has all the answers; then we would be able to fulfill all that God has for our lives even if it means laying aside our physical pride and putting on the “attire” of a servant like Jesus did when he washed the disciples’ feet.
In John 13:4-5, the disciple John shows us the humility of Jesus and what He did saying, “4. … rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 5. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.” In this passage of scripture, Jesus is showing us how we are to show humility and learn to serve others.
By Jesus laying aside His “Heavenly attire” and putting on the “attire” of a servant, Jesus was humbling himself and willing to wash the feet of his disciples. This to me, this shows how much Jesus loved us that He willingly gave up His life in order for us to have an everlasting relationship with God.
I recently read a devotional by Jessie Milani called, “Humility for Humanity” where he focuses on this topic, saying, “Humility tempers pride. It says “I’m OK, and YOU are too…” and I think that this is a very good statement for us as humans because we all struggle with pride.
C.S. Lewis said, ““Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”
Just like we are called to be humble and serve others, there are people in the world who will appear to show humility towards others but will actually be practicing false humility. In Colossians 2:18, it says, “18. Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind.”
I feel that best describes those people who claim to be “Christians” but are just people who don’t champion for Christ and are filled with pride. Lizzy Milani wrote a devotional on this topic called, “Walk Humbly with God – How to Live Series – Part 3” where she said a quote that I think we as people and Christians should use when struggling with humility.
Lizzy Milani said, “… humility IS strength. It provides room for wisdom to grow, it creates opportunities for you to learn, and space to hone and acquire new skills. It helps you stand boldly and confidently after you’ve fallen and it allows you to ask for help.”
When we learn to humble ourselves, we will start to emulate what Jesus did and learn to willingly put on the “attire” of a servant and help others; even if it means going out of our comfort zone. Philippians 2:5-8 shows us that Jesus willingly humbled Himself despite knowing that it meant separation from God and the agony he would face.
Rae, from Real as the Streets did a blog post on humility entitled “30/30 Challenge: Day 9” where she focused on the topic of humility during the challenge. In the blog post, she said, “The best aspect of humility is not necessarily admitting my shortcomings but rather acknowledging God’s greatness and appreciating that without Him there is nothing” and I feel that many Christians today forget that because we live in a society where the thought of humbling ourselves is “beneath us.”
Efua, blogger of Grace over Pain said, “Humility softens the soil (heart) as it ensures that nothing blocks the Word of God from penetrating.”
Remember that question I asked at the beginning of the post: Am I humbling myself according to God’s Word? well, I pray that you continue to ask yourself this question whenever it feels like your pride is getting the better of you or you feel that God is “nudging” you to humble yourself because of your pride.
Lizzy and Jessie Milani’s devotionals on humility shared some insight for me on what humility is and how it can help us as people and Christians become better people and disciples in Christ. Some of the quotes in their devotionals will prayerfully give us a better understanding of what it truly means to humble ourselves before God.
Humility for Humanity
- “Humility keeps us down to earth, teachable…”
- Humility doesn’t see what we don’t understand as a threat, but as something to be explored.”
- “Humility keeps on the learning path and faith keeps me looking to the Divine for my answers.”
- “Pride will only bring you disgrace, but Humility will keep you on track.”
Walk Humbly with your God
- “Humility opens you up to be needed and to need others – contribution and participation”
At the end of the day, humility still deals with humanity’s issue of “I” because while pride deals with self, humility deals with servanthood and willing helping others. Sometimes, God will continue let us continue to go through trials and circumstances in our lives in order to humble us and have us recognize that we can’t do everything on our own and that we need help from the One who has the answers.
So, what will you do?
Will you continue to let pride rule over you?
Or, will you humble yourself and submit to God’s Will?
Lewis, C.S. “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”, AZ Quotes, http://www.azquotes.com/quote/174171 . Accessed 5 Oct 2017.
Milani, Lizzie. “Walk Humbly With Your God – How To Live Series – Part 3”, www.pktfuel.com, https://www.pktfuel.com/walk-humbly-with-your-god/ . Accessed 11 Oct 2017.
Mobley, Mike. “Scripture on Humility”, beforethecross.com, https://www.beforethecross.com/scripture/humility/ . Accessed 6 Oct 2017.
Rae. “30/30 Challenge: Day 9”, 9 Apr 2016, Real As The Streets, https://realasthestreets.org/2016/04/09/3030-challenge-day-9/ . Accessed 8 Oct 2017.
Author Unknown. “Unchained – Daily Devotional” 21 March, https://peacebewithu.wordpress.com/2013/03/21/unchained-daily-devotional-2/ . Accessed 11 Oct 2017.
Author Unknown. “Top 10 Bible Verses on HUMILITY”, 19 Sep 2014, http://www.crossmap.com/blogs/top-10-bible-verses-on-humility-5387 . Accessed 5 Oct 2017.
Author Unknown. “Humility”, http://www.westsidefellowshipchurch.org/resources/multimedia/details?id=1256732 . Accessed 12 Oct 2017.
Author Unknown. “Humility (Matthew 18:4)”, https://www.flickr.com/photos/amberlu/4385812693 . Accessed 11 Oct 2017.
Smith, Patricia. “Speak, Lord!”, 24 Sep 2017, beholdinghimministries.org, https://beholdinghimministries.org/2017/09/24/speak-lord/ . Accessed 12 Oct 2017.