Be Humble or Be Humbled

Have you ever been humbled? Have you ever been in a situation in which a person or experience took you down a notch or two? Humiliation is usually an experience we try to avoid. But as we look through Scripture we see that humility is a characteristic God desires for us. We are called to be humble or run the risk of being humbled.

In Luke 14:7 – 14 Jesus tells a parable that teaches on the importance of humility. We see this idea reinforced throughout the rest of the New Testament. We are commanded to humble ourselves before the Lord and adopt a mindset of humility (1 Peter 5:6; James 4:10; Philippians 2:3 – 5).

It is clear that we need to be humble, but the question remains of how? How do we develop humility in our lives?

There are two parts to this answer. The first is found in John 15. In this passage Jesus speaks of our total and complete need for Him. He commands us to abide in Him and allow Him to bear fruit through us. We cannot do anything apart from His grace and power flowing through us. Therefore, a major key to our humility is our ability to abide. As we connect to Jesus through His Word and prayer He transforms our minds and hearts and develops within us a new mindset. As we see His glory, majesty, beauty, and splendor we are humbled by our lowly comparative condition. We truly recognize our inability to do anything good on our own. And so, we ask Him to work in and through us. Then as promised Jesus is true to His word and we see fruit born in our lives. But we cannot take credit for these successes and accomplishments. Like Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:10 we declare “I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.”

In addition to abiding, our source of joy and happiness contributes to our mindset of humility. Back in Luke 14 Jesus alludes that those who are humble and gracious will be repaid for their actions. These rewards are better than any accolades or fanfares we may receive in this life. But, if our goal in life is to find our identity and happiness in the applause of men, we are much less likely to ever develop a true mindset of humility. However, if our joy and satisfaction is rooted in Jesus, if our sole concern is the approval of our Heavenly Father, then we will find ourselves much more willing to risk shame, be unknown, or unrecognized in this life.

The call for humility is clear. The question is, are we developing a mindset of humility? Are we looking to the interests of others and counting them as more important than ourselves? Are we trusting Jesus to develop this mindset within us and bear fruit through us for His glory? Are we looking to Him for our reward in order to enable us to better serve others?

Pator Dale

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