Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Path of Humility

One of the chief things required to live for God is humility (James 4:6-10; 1 Peter 5:5-9; Luke 14:7-11). But humility is not something that is highly respected in our current culture. We must assert ourselves. We must put ourselves forth. And if we do not, others will ignore us. But this is not the Biblical approach.

However, before we can talk about cultivating humility, we need to understand what humility is, not just our society's caricatures of it. To understand what Biblical humility is, we need to start with what it is based on. The common idea of our modern culture is that human beings and their desires are basically good and humans need to overcome their humility and reluctance, to express themselves and follow their true inclinations. This can often encourage people to charge heedlessly ahead into wrong and destructive behavior. However, it is equally destructive to decide you are worthless and your life is pointless. This leads to depression and hiding in the corner, avoiding doing anything not strictly necessary. And this latter view is really the natural result of the modern view that we are a meaningless accident spewed forth by a indifferent universe. So in reaction, we assert ourselves loudly, affirming we are somebody. The people we are trying to convince are ourselves.

The Biblical approach starts from the facts that we are created by God in His image (Genesis 1:26,27; 9:6; James 3:9), but we are also sinners in rebellion against Him (Romans 3:23; Jeremiah 17:9; Isaiah 64:6). But God still loved us and has made a way for our sins to be forgiven through the sacrifice of His Son (Romans 5:6-8; John 3:14-18; 1 John 5:11-13), not as a result of what we do, but through putting our faith in Him (Romans 4:4,5; Ephesians 2:8,9; Philippians 3:9). And even after accepting His salvation, we are unable to change ourselves (John 15:5; Romans 7:14; 8:8), but He is at work in our lives to transform us (2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 2:13; Colossians 1:29). Therefore, we should not sit trembling in a corner, but go out boldly, in confidence, trusting God (Proverbs 3:5,6; Psalms 127:1,2; 37:3-6). But we will keep ourselves in perspective, knowing that everything we have comes from Another (Romans 12:3; 1 Corinthians 1:26-31; Galatians 6:3-5). Rather, we will avoid trying to make a final judgment of ourselves or others (1 Corinthians 4:1-5; Romans 14:4: James 4:11,12), and leaving concern with ourselves behind, will press on to love God and others (Matthew 22:36-40; Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 6:9-10). For this is true humility, not focusing on ourselves but on loving others.

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