Are you humble? I have a friend who jokingly says, "I'm proud of my humility." The funny thing is that he actually is one of the more humble men I know. He and I both realize that humility is no joke. It is a hard thing to master. If I say I am humble, then am I humble? If I think I'm humble, am I? Or what if I say, "In my humble opinion, I'm not very humble," then what do I do?
What is humility? Biblically there are several facets to humility, but I want to focus on that aspect that deals with our relation to God. Therefore, humility is the right understanding of who you are before God. Notice, I did not say it means that you have to hate yourself, or call yourself names, or say you aren't worth anything, etc. Humility is that quality of a Christian that demonstrates a right relationship and position before God. This demonstration is manifested in attitude, words, and deeds. John the Baptist was humble: "And he was preaching, and saying, "After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals," (Mark 1:7). He knew who he was in relation to Jesus. Remember the parable of the tax gather in Luke 18:9-14 where he said, "Lord have mercy on me a sinner"? Jesus called him humble. He knew that before God, he was a sinner.
How about you? Are you humble before your Lord -- don't answer. Instead, think of who Jesus is, His holiness, His greatness, His majesty, His love, His sacrifice, etc. And remember that Jesus humbled Himself by becoming one of us, "And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross," (Phil. 2:8). Then, ask yourself if you are humble or not.
Romans 12:3 says, "For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith," (NASB). God does not want us to think too highly of ourselves. Instead, he wants us to think soundly. Whenever I start getting prideful and begin thinking that I know a lot about the Bible, or how big my website is, or whatever else I can boast about, the Lord reminds me of how utterly pompous I really am. Does God need me to carry out His will on this earth? Nope. Does He need me to answer tough questions for people? Nope. Does He need me to "get things done"? Nope, not at all. He doesn't need me at all. That is why it is really amazing that He uses me in spite of what I am inside. Now, THAT is grace! Praise God! What I need to do is listen to Him, look to the cross, love God first, love my neighbor second, and not think more highly of myself than I ought. Oh Lord, I pray that you would fill my heart with humility as I look to your Son, that you would not let me think more highly of myself than I ought, and that I would love you and honor you.
We need to be humble for many reasons, but 1 Pet. 5:5 has a good one to focus on: "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble." I don't want God to oppose me. I suspect you don't want Him to oppose you either. It is good to be humble before people and to be thought of as nice and kind and not proud, but our humility before God is where we need to start, not with people. We need to start with our relationship with Him that can only come through a proper relationship with Jesus. We need to be humble before God and dependent up Him, seeking His will. Therefore, prayer, the place of dependence upon God, is the practice of humility before God. When we let our souls bask in the presence of God, we find out who we really are: sinners, saved by grace, and kept by His love. And, as Moses' face shined because of being in the presence of God, so too will your heart reflect the humility and love of Jesus as we spend time with Him in prayer. Seek Jesus and you will find perfect Humility.