As many of you know, God has helped me to read through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation annually for decades. In the past 6 years He has led me to pull together bible studies on different topics, which are contributing to the renewing of my mind. I feel as if I am rebuilding my understanding of God, who He is and what He has done for me.
For the past two months, I have been revising and adapting these topical studies to be included in the revised edition of Stewardship for teens. I try to keep my comments to a minimum and let the scripture speak for itself.
This months newsletter is a study on humility. This is not often on the list of New year’s resolutions, but I think after you read through these inspired passages, you will see how precious this attribute is and how important it is for God’s people. May we each seek to be more like our humble God.
God is humble.
“Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.’” (Matthew 11:28-29 NLT)
Men of God reflect God’s character.
“Moses was very humble—more humble than any other person on earth.” (Numbers 12:3 NLT)
We are encouraged to have the same humble attitude that Jesus embodied.
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,” (Philippians 2:3-7 ESV)
The opposite of humility is pride and arrogance. Pride comes naturally to each of us. But humility is a virtue to be sought and embraced.
“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.” 6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,” (1 Peter 5:5-6 ESV)
I have read Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis more than once, and parts of it frequently. He writes with wonderful insight and clarity. One of the most convincing sections of the book to me, is when he discusses “The Great Sin.” Here are some excerpts.
“Today I come to that part of Christian morals where they differ most sharply from all other morals. There is one vice of which no man in the world is free; which everyone loathes when he sees it in someone else; and of which hardly any people, except Christians, ever imagine that they are guilty themselves.
There is no fault that makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others.
The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit: and the virtue opposite to it, in Christian morals, is called Humility. You may remember, when I was talking about sexual morality, I warned you that the centre of Christian morals did not lie there. Well, now, we have come to the centre. According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.
If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realize that one is proud. And a biggish step, too. At least, nothing can be done before it. If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed.
True Winners in God’s Kingdom!
“Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:4 ESV)
“Whoever would be first among you must be your slave,” (Matthew 20:27 ESV)
“The greatest among you shall be your servant.” (Matthew 23:11 ESV)
The Way Up is Down.
The secret to receiving honor is to humble oneself.
“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12 ESV)
“The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” (Proverbs 15:33 ESV)
“The reward for humility and fear of the LORD is riches and honor and life.” (Proverbs 22:4 ESV)
God is especially near to those who need Him.
“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalms 34:18 ESV)
“The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: ‘I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts.’” (Isaiah 57:15 NLT)
He sees us when we are humble and hurting.
“This is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2 ESV)
“The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.” (Psalms 51:17 NLT)
He hears us when we pray with a spirit of humility.
“Because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God when you heard his words against this place and its inhabitants, and you have humbled yourself before me and have torn your clothes and wept before me, I also have heard you, declares the LORD.” (2 Chronicles 34:27 ESV)
“Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.” (Daniel 10:12 ESV)
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 ESV)
From Moses to Paul
Humility is a virtue shared and embraced by devoted servants of God.
(Paul writes) “You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews;” (Acts 20:18-19 ESV)
“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.” (Ephesians 4:1-2 NLT)
Father, help us to, “seek the LORD, all you humble of the land, who do his just commands; seek righteousness; seek humility; perhaps you may be hidden on the day of the anger of the LORD.” (Zephaniah 2:3 ESV) Amen.
If anyone would like to help review the revised Stewardship before it is released this summer, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org. Each participant will receive a complete set of the new curriculum for free.
Learning how to humbly play second fiddle,