Journal 1 Pet 5 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation and notes are mine)
Scripture: Clothe yourselves, all of you with humility toward one another—for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you; casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Pet 5:5b-6)
Observation: I have heard of this thing called “humility.” What is it? More importantly, what does it look like if I want to see it in action?
Application: I would be fooling myself if I didn’t acknowledge that there have been times when I thought, “I am proud that I am so humble.” In doing so, I certainly failed the pop-quiz.
I have a problem with the function of humility—not the concept because the Bible states the need of functioning in humility very well and extensively. Humility is not usually on the “Top Ten Biblical Subjects to Pursue” by category. It is the “how to do it”, the finding of an “Idiot’s Guide to Humility” that trips me up.
This is how it works for me: if I am thinking, “What do I need to improve in?”, I can think of, “I need to pray more”, “I need to evangelize more”, “I need to serve more”, and so on and on. Hardly ever do I review the syllabus possibilities and come to, “I need to learn how to be humble”, much less more humble.
One of the issues facing most folks is that it is hard to point at a role model in humility. I am thinking “why” and I think that it is because I am not sure (in a concrete manner) what the building blocks of Biblical Humility are.
I know what they are not:
- Pride, and overt conduct of pride
- Self-aggrandizement (making myself look good)
- Self-depreciation—this is the one that a ton of folks fall victim to; they default to this mind-picture of what humility is supposed to look like and conduct themselves according to this vision.
Being self-deprecating is what I tussle with a lot. I will bet most folks do when they think “I need to be more humble.” Looking humble and being humble in the sight of the Lord is not the same thing.
Scripture says this, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit [arrogance, pretentiousness, snobbery…], but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”
[Further] “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
[And more] “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped—but emptied himself by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” (Phil 2:3-7)
Folks who are looking to be great are also having the greatest issue with humility. I remember this story about the disciples:
“A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And [Jesus] said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority are called benefactors. But not so with you—rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves.
For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not (considered) the one who reclines at table? But (take note of this fellas) I am among you as the one who serves…’” (Luke 22:24-27)
James was not one to talk around subjects: “God opposes the proud.” I don’t want to be opposed by God. That doesn’t sound like a good place to be. “…but he gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6b) James continues, “Humble yourselves before the LORD, and he will exalt you.” (James 4:10)
Humility, being humble, resisting pride, and all its component parts is destined to be a lifelong pursuit—as is everything about being a Christian.
Me? I want to learn to humble myself before God sees fit to humble me…
Prayer: Lord, putting on the lenses of finding out about humility shows that every passage in the New Testament has some flavor about putting on humility in some manner, some context of humility.
Therefore, I am beginning to conclude that the Gospel may be what humility is about. Let me understand AND EMBRACE true biblical humility, not the false humility I have been peddling to myself all these years.
Ricky Two Shoes