I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility.Eph. 4:1-2 ESV
Do you have the tendency to defend, promote, or preserve yourself? Do you strive to be seen in the best possible light? Do you always want to be right and viewed as successful? The extent to which you engage in promoting your self is the evidence that you are lacking in humility.
Excuse my sin
When confronted with sin, the human condition seeks to respond by excusing the issue of sin or explaining the episode surrounding the sin, all for the purpose of escaping any exposure to sin. Selfish ambition and vain conceit are pervasive within our normal course of life, creating such a condition of heart where humility is a rarity. Humility as a construct has been so marred by self-centered intent that its meaning within our culture is obscure.
To prove this point, simply ask anyone to define humility. The response you may anticipate will be a very blank look followed by a random attempt to provide an answer. Most of the answers will be from previously heard sermons articulated without personal experience with what is being tendered. The reality will become obvious that humility is not apart of our social norm.
Christians today substitute humility for a pretense of being right. Thus within a conflict the modern day Christian seeks how they may best promote themselves while posturing to look the most righteous within the conflict. Therefore eliminating the need to be humble for being right. Such a demeanor concerning humility would demonstrate how far from the true meaning of meekness we have strayed.
There is a chasm between our theology and how we treat others, between our doctrinal faith and our deployment of our faith, between our position in Christ and our practice of Christianity. To appreciate this expanse, just consider that anything not done in love is preformed through selfish ambition. To understand the potency of this point simply read the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1 – 7:29). Here you will be shown by Christ the nature of the issue. Consider the Beatitudes as a sample.
And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:(Matt. 5:2 – 11 ESV)
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.“
Humility is all about what I am not. One who possesses the virtue of humility discerns from within their soul, that they bring nothing to God so as to increase Him. Additionally they know that they add nothing to God so as to enhance Him. Therefore, bringing nothing to God nor adding anything to God, the humble of heart grasp that they stand before God only by the love of His redeeming grace. Humility leads the broken to understand that only by divine enablement can personal empowerment be embraced.
Not I but Christ
Pride while bringing honor, praise, and exaltation to self asserts with pious tone, “I want to do great things for God or I want God to do great things through me.” Pride misses the point completely for being emerged in the pursuit of greatness—only God is great, and apart from His enabling grace and the perfecting work of Jesus Christ we are incapable of industry for God.
Industry, compelled by our intimacy with God, prompts us within our service to glorify God, to edify God’s people, and to solidify God’s will on earth. There is no room for self to glory in what self has done. Nor is there time for self to bask in the residual effects of accomplishment, whereby one is validated to feeling significant and secure. Humility proclaims that self has nothing to contribute.
The two polar extremes that block dependency on Jesus are “I am not good enough” and “I am good enough.” The reality is that it is not about us—whether we are or are not good enough. It is about Christ and what He has accomplished.
- When do I try to defend, promote, or preserve myself?
- How do I define humility?
- Do I agree with the statement that anything not done in love is preformed through selfish ambition?
(excerpts from Desperate Dependency by J. Kirk & Melanie D. Lewis)