Well it happened again - I intended on writing a Bible Study to go through with my kids this morning and wound up needing the message much more than them - praise the Lord; I hope you are edified through its reading:
There is one quality that must characterize our life.
This quality is ideal even for someone who is not a Christian, but for the Christian it is a must; without this quality none of the other qualities of the fruit of the Spirit will be a part of your life.
In fact, without this quality you cannot be a Christian (more on that later). Without this quality you will only have God opposing you, but with this quality, you will be given God’s Grace.
The quality is humility.
The definition of humility is: a modest or low view of one’ own importance,
In addition to humility; the Bible uses the following words that are closely tied to humility: meekness, lowly
A person cannot simply say they are humble, in fact, some would say that as soon as a person says they are humble they have lost their humility. A person must walk out the very things that make them humble:
A humble person:
• Will not insist on their own way
• Will think of others as more important than themselves
• Will put others first
• Will let others get their food in line before they get in line
• Will seek to serve others rather than seeking to be served
• Will look for a way to help do the work, rather than look to get out of doing work
• Will seek to understand others, rather than first seek to be understood
• Will listen and consider what another is saying rather than tune them out and talk over them
• Will listen and be thankful for correction and warning, a humble person is teachable
The opposite of humility is pride.
Pride is defined as: a feeling or deep pleasure derived from self, from one’s own achievements
A prideful person:
• Insists on their own way
• Thinks of themselves as better than others
• Thinks of themselves before others
• Wants to be served by others
• Put themselves first
• Wants to be heard instead of listening to others
• Has an exaggerated and inflated sense of their own importance
• Will not listen to correction or warning, a prideful person says, “I’ll do what I want, I am king!”
Pride is the cause of all bad things. We are all born with pride, pride comes natural to us, we do not have to be taught how to be prideful, but we must work at being humble.
Here are some things that will help you grow in true humility:
• Empty yourself out of self, die to self
To do this you must understand that you are nothing and your Lord, Jesus, is everything. You must consider every person you encounter of more importance than yourself. It is not difficult for us to look at people we admire as being more important, in fact, our culture uses the term “look up to" – we have people we “look up to” – like athletes, movie stars, etc. But what about the homeless man asking for money on the street corner – do you think of yourself above him? That is called “exalting yourself” – we do not want to exalt ourselves, we want to empty ourselves out of self.
• Seek to serve
To do this you must have the attitude of, “why should this person have to do this thing, I should do this for them, or at least help them do it." When you see a person serving others at a family function do you sit on the couch and watch them, or do you get up and start helping. Use phrases like, “I’ll do that” or “Let me do that”.
• Deny Self
One of the ways to cultivate humility is to deny self. A treat, or even a meal for example, when you are hungry, or you want to indulge in a treat – deny yourself of it. For practice, go without something you want. Not satisfying your desires is how you deny self. I am not denying self if I refuse onions, because I don’t like onions, I don’t desire onions – but to deny a steak when I am hungry would be denying self. The most common act of denying self is called fasting. Fasting is denying yourself something you want for a certain period of time – like food for 24 hours, etc. Think of something you really enjoy (like video games, social media, or TV) and deny yourself that for a certain amount of time – and then next month deny yourself for even longer. Make a practice of denying self.
• Work hard
To work hard when you want to, does not cultivate humility, but to work hard when you do not want to, or you are tired – now that is a different story. Do not leave the work for someone else to do, that shows pride, that is saying you are more important, someone else of less importance can do it – this is not only pride, it is laziness. Humility and hard work is on display when a player doesn’t have to be asked, he or she is the one who picks up the team equipment after practice OR a worker that cleans up the break room after a company party OR one that takes out the garbage without being asked. Ask yourself at the end of every work day, every school day, every practice, every work out, “did anyone work harder than me today?” – If the answer is yes, then work harder next time. Not all of us have the same level of talent, but we can do something about our attitude and our effort. Our attitude should be one of humility, and our effort one of hard work.
• Be giving
Pride is the root of evil and greed is one of the weeds that springs up from that root. Greed says, “I want what I have, and I want more, and more still won’t be enough!” The opposite of greed is generosity and contentment. To consider others more important than yourself, and to see another in need, and to fill that need with time and/or treasure is to be generous. To be satisfied with what you have and not be obsessed with wanting more and more is to be content. Generosity and contentment is humility on display, so give of yourself and your possessions – it is far better to give than to receive.
Humility, to do something that is truly humble, is an act of love – love is action not emotion. God calls us to love, and to love without selfish motive requires humility – so we must cultivate humility.
There are two ways you can cultivate humility and make the world a better place immediately:
• Do something for someone who has no ability or opportunity to do anything for you
• Do something good every day without anyone ever finding out – if anyone finds out, it does not count.
The second one above goes against the grain of the pride that comes so natural to us. When we do good, we want people to know, we want to be recognized, we want to be thought of in a certain way. To do good without being found out truly cultivates humility.
You can't have your mind changed without humility. You can’t have your mind changed if you won’t consider the possibility you are wrong. The most important reason a person must be humble is to re-think their view of God; and to re-think the severity of their sin.
If a person is too prideful to consider they are wrong about God – God will oppose them. In all of God’s Word, when a person humbles themselves before God, God shows them Mercy – on the other hand, every time a person is prideful before God, God gives them Judgement.
Mercy or Judgement, eternal life or eternal death, Heaven or hell – hang in the balance of ones humility.
Compare pride and humility with a few common world views below:
• Pride says, “There is no God”; humility says, “God is the Creator of all things and every breath I take is dependent on His Grace.”
• Pride says, “God would never send me to hell”; humility says, “I deserve hell, I have sinned against God and He would be Just in sending me to hell, hell is right for me.”
• Pride says, “I have not sinned”, humility says, “I have done nothing but sin my entire life.”
• Pride says, “I have done ‘this and that’, I am a good person”; humility says, “I have nothing and I have done nothing of any value that God should save me – nothing in my hands I bring, but only to the Cross I cling - I set my hope in Christ alone to save me from the Wrath I deserve.”
• Pride says, “I go to church, I help people, I am not like those wicked people in the world”, humility says, “Lord, me merciful to me, a sinner!”
If you have humbled yourself before God, if your mind has changed and you now agree that your sin has earned you eternal hell and God would be right and just in sending you there – CONGRATULATIONS!
That “mind change” is called repentance – God has opened your eyes and allowed you to repent, to re-think the severity of your sin and God’s Righteousness. Evidence of true repentance toward God is found in a dramatic change in direction – the repentant will be moving toward and seeking to know God more and more; they will be moving away from and forsaking their sin.
Repentance doesn’t happen without humility, and repentance must happen to be saved, but repentance doesn’t save you. Believing in the Gospel, the Good News, saves you. The Good News is, Jesus, who never sinned, bore the sin of the world on the Cross, He bore YOUR sin on the Cross; and because God must punish all sin, He poured out His Wrath upon His Son, He crushed His Son on the Cross. On that Cross, under God’s Wrath, the Blood of Christ satisfied the sin debt of the world, satisfied your sin debt – Jesus was the one final sacrifice for sin. Salvation comes to the one who trusts in Christ alone, Jesus’ atoning sacrifice, His Blood - putting your faith in Him to save you – that is how you are saved. Believing this saves you.
Jesus said, “repent and believe the Gospel.”
Mark 1:15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."
Proverbs 3:34 Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor.
James 4:6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
1Peter 5:5 Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
Matthew 23:12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
Luke 14:11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
Proverbs 15:33 The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.
Proverbs 22:4 The reward for humility and fear of the LORD is riches and honor and life.
Ephesians 4:1-2 I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love,
Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
Colossians 3:12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,
1Corinthians 13:4-5 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
Luke 18:9-14 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.'13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!'14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."