Humility, from what I have read in the bible, is one of the foundational truths of true holiness. We cannot be on the path to sainthood or heaven without humility. It’s the first truth we must embrace when we convert. It is the ongoing truth we must continue to embrace as we strive to learn about our Lord. It is the lifestyle we must practice as we submit to the way of life that is Christian. How can I say that? Well, let’s look at what can be and can’t be if we do not practice humility.
1. You cannot acknowledge your sin or need for redemption if you have not been humbled: Pride and rebellion think they know all and know what is right. We often times live in a state of pride and rebellion if we do not know or acknowledge God. Pride and rebellion are the states in which the only authority we recognize with any power is our own. We are in a state that believes we are, in total, correct in whatever we deem to think or do. In contrast, humility is a teachable and reachable state where God can speak to us and convict us that what we are doing/have done might have seemed right to us, but is not what God has ordained in our lives. In other words, without humility (the understanding, conviction, belief) that we are NOT the absolute authority of what is right or wrong we cannot see or confess sin. If we cannot do that, then we cannot/do not reach out to our Messiah for forgiveness. Which means we remain lost to heaven.
2. You cannot learn if you have no humility: If you believe you know it all (pride) then you will not pause to listen to other teachers, pastors, or most importantly God. If you do not feel the need to listen, or think that others (including God) might know a little more about something than you do…then you will not learn more. If you aren’t learning, you aren’t growing, and if you are not growing then you are dying. Revelations 3:16-22 speaks a little about the stagnancy of pride, and the belief we are, in and of ourselves, sufficient with what we know and have. Frankly, if God said I made him want to vomit I’d probably willingly cast myself into the fires! The fix is simple here, which is wonderful, but it takes practice. We need to start considering that God (first), and those around us, may know more than we do. It is when we begin to consider that as possible, we begin to have the humility to learn and seek.
3. You cannot serve or love God (or anyone else) if you do not humble yourself first: Pride is a state of unhealthy self-love in which we do what we perceive is best for ourselves. Pride is a state in which we “deserve” (fill in the blank it could be anything, but usually includes the words more or better, and often confuses needs with wants and desires.) Matthew 6:24 tells us that we cannot serve two masters, that we will love one and despise the other. As long as we are working hard at serving our self-interest we will despise God, because what God wants for us often is not what we want for us. God wants us to be holy. He wants us to be in Heaven with Him. He wants us to serve Him, and our neighbor, so that we have eternal things over temporary things. He wants us to have imperishable peace and love over fleeting worldly treasures. Humility grants to us what He wants while pride is a block from that.
Proverbs 16:18 tells us that pride goes before the fall. Proverbs 11:2 tells us that pride brings destruction and with humility comes wisdom. James 4: 6 tells us that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. Proverbs 13:10 says that pride breeds quarrels but wisdom (humility) takes advice. Proverbs 29:23 says that pride brings us low, but humility will grant us honor.
I could go on (and on and on and on) but by now I think you should get a little of the point. If we want to be great in the eyes of God, we must first humble ourselves not only to Him but also to one another. If you think that is a lot to ask, remember that He gave up all of glory to take sin that was not His, destroy death that did was not His, to redeem all that did not want Him. As Easter approaches, ask yourself, if Pilot asked you who you would spare would your pride make you scream, “Barabbas!” Because Barabbas was/is us, sufficient in himself, doing what HE thought was right, fighting for this world and not the next.
Just some food for thought and prayer.
Here I am, Lord, send me!