Friday, December 19, 2014

What Is Christian Humility?

Contrary to our human nature of self-interest, somewhere between self-love and self-loathing there is a balance point called humility. When we experience it, and even learn to live there, it is not that we try to think less of ourselves, but rather that we go beyond considering or dwelling on ourselves. In that place, we almost reflexively focus our attention on God, or on other people's needs, without considering ourselves. Like courage, which is doing what is right and needful despite the considerations of fear or risk to self, humility pushes us out of our natural self-protective inclinations.

Humility is not the denigration of self, not even the denial of self, which is too conscious a choice. Humility is more an almost unconscious use of self to accomplish that which needs to be done, simply because something needs doing. It is more like letting go and floating one's raft on the river of life, studying and reacting to the current and obstruction changes, polling when needed, resting cautiously, waiting for the next challenge, instead of trying to fight the water and swim directly across the river. Too often we think that we are being humble when we force ourselves into doing something that we'd rather not do, or when we consciously determine to accomplish something for a 'good cause'. How humble is that decision?... when one has to say to self, "I have to do this." We are already on the journey of life. Why not look to God to supply our every need as we let Him work through us, floating us along in His intents and purposes for our lives.

Ephesians 2:1-10:
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.    
4  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
7  That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.    

If we simply do our best to accomplish what is right and needful from God's perspective, because we do those things out of our love for God and for our fellow humans, even as Scripture and Christ Jesus command us, then we shall develop the habit of doing things humbly (without thinking to elevate ourselves if they succeed or to berate ourselves if they fail). Doing our best to accomplish what God says to do, because we love Him, is what God expects of us all the time. No points. No foul. We can neither take pride in successes gained for having obeyed God and done right, nor can we beat ourselves for any failures that occur despite our having done right in God's eyes and according to His Word. 

Isaiah 57:15:
15  For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

John 12:25-26:
25  He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
26  If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. 

James 4:5-10:
Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?
6  But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
7  Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
8  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
9  Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.
10  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

1 Peter 5:5-7:
Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
6  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
7  Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for yo

No comments:

Post a Comment