What is True Humility?
by Michael Chu
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Very often we think that a truly humble person will not so much as make mention of his humility. But Scripture tells us otherwise. In Numbers 12:3, Moses wrote: “(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)” Jesus Himself said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)
True humility is knowing God’s standing and our standing before Him. When the angel has explained to Mary on how she would conceive Jesus, she said, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” In John 3:27 ~ 36, John the Baptist said that: “A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.”; he is a “friend of the bridegroom”; “He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease.”; “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.”; and “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
Paul’s progress in his walk with the Lord is remarkable. In 1 Corinthians 15:9 (written around A.D. 55), he said, “I am the least of the apostles.” Then, in Ephesians 3:8 (written around A.D. 60) he said he is “the least of all the saints”. Finally, before his execution, he said in 1 Timothy 1:15 (written around A.D. 63 ~ 65) that he is the chief of sinners whom Jesus came to save. Now, this is what I would call having a deeper walk with God, where we grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.
True humility is realising our total dependency on God. Proverbs 3: 5 ~ 6 urges us to: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” This means that deep down in our heart of hearts we are to have faith in God even when our mind disagrees, and we are to commit all of our ways to Him, seeking His guidance. Lest we forget, let’s be reminded that God’s thoughts and ways are always higher than ours. Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God said, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) Even Jesus himself, while on earth, recognises his dependency on God the Father. In John 5:19, Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.” And, again in John 5:30, “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just: because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.”
God wants to be on our side, but do we want Him to be on our side? Are there areas of our lives where God is kept out? Perhaps: we still harbour unforgiveness in our heart whereas God’s word tells us to forgive; we plan and make decisions without seeking God first; or we become angry with God for the incomprehensible trials or bad things that we are undergoing. The following two imageries may help us to picture ourselves in relation to God: (1) God is our potter, we are the clay; (He is in the business of moulding our character so that our faith will be proven and we can be vessels of honour for His glory.) (2) Jesus is the true vine and we are the branches. (Apart from Him we cannot be fruitful and bear fruit that will remain.)
True humility would be our response to the majesty, holiness and righteousness of God by revelation. In the year that King Uzziah died, Isaiah was transported into God’s throne room. He said, “Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” (Isaiah 6:5) John who has been a follower, disciple, friend and servant of Jesus Christ, writing from the isle of Patmos, said he fell down as dead when he, while in the spirit, saw Him walking in the midst of seven golden candlesticks. (Revelation 1:17) When the children of Israel rebelled against God by making a molded calf, Moses fell down before God on Mount Sinai. He said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.” (Hebrews 12:21)
True humility means submission to God and spiritual leaders. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble so that we will be able to resist the devil (who fell because of pride). “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double-minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4: 6 ~ 10) Again, we read in 1 Peter 5: 5 ~ 11, “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. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us into his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish and strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
Let’s cloth ourselves with humility today and be revived in the Lord. “For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.’” (Isaiah 57:15; NKJV)
(All Scripture quotations are taken from the King James version, unless indicated otherwise.)
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