Archive for the ‘Humility’ Category
“Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons.” Hebrews 12:7
This is another difficult Bible verse about humility. How quick we often are to run from hardship and pray to God to deliver us from it. It takes a lot of humility to go through hardship and be thankful to God that He is disciplining us for our own good like any good father does with his child. Having this kind of mentality requires a completely different shift in how we view God. Most of us view God as a counselor, a supporter, a giver of good gifts, and God is definitely all of those things. What we don’t often consider is that God is more interested in our character than in our happiness. God wants to bless us with good things, there is no doubt of that. But God is more interested in blessing us with character than He is with material things. God is more interested that we become wise, content, humble, and loving than He is that we become financially free and independent.
But so often in our prayers we neglect those things. Just ask yourself, when was the last time you prayed that God would make you more humble, or more loving, or that he would increase your faith? Conversely, when was the last time you asked Him to give you something materially or financially? And because we don’t often ask God for things relating to the betterment of our character, and we don’t often surrender to Him those areas of our lives, He has to discipline us against our wishes so that our character is refined. It’s a much easier path to ask God to better your character and then surrender to Him the results. In the Old Testament, God warned Israel:
“Don’t be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle.” Psalms 32:9
I definitely don’t want to be like that. I would rather be the kind of man who realizes that his character needs a lot of work and who asks God in prayer to better his character and help him become a better man. That way, hopefully I won’t have to wonder and be angry if God decides to discipline me for my own good. I’ll be ready for it and asking God for the grace to help me change.
“It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees… Before I was afflicted, I went astray.” Psalm 119: 67, 71
This is one of the most difficult Bible verses about humility. No one wants to endure affliction and suffering, even when we know it’s for our own good. We want to learn things the easy way and not have to go through the school of hard knocks. Bible verses like this one are especially difficult for people who are somewhat spoiled and feel entitled to always having an easy life. It takes a lot of humility to say that it was good to go through that hardship or affliction because it made me rely more on God and realize that His plan for my life is better than my own plan. Most people don’t have enough humility to live their lives this way. I’m one of them.
But when you really stop and think about it, sometimes hardships and affliction are really the very best things for us. I think that everyone can look back at a time in their own lives when they considered themselves a bit spoiled, someone who took things for granted that they don’t take for granted today. No one looking back, would ever say “I wish I was spoiled again” or “I wish I took things for granted again.” No, we always are grateful for the experiential wisdom that we gain from going through hard times.
And Bible verses like this one point out an important truth about God. God is more interested in our character than he is in our finances. God cares more that we learn humility and become humble people who love others and serve them. God definitely wants to bless us and give us good gifts. That’s why it says in James that every good and perfect gift comes down from the father of heavenly lights. But God might need to change us before He can bless us. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way over many years of praying for things that I haven’t gotten and watching as God used hardships to point out why He could never give me the things that I was selfishly asking for. Hopefully you’ll learn faster than I did.
“Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.” 1 Corinthians 10:24
Aren’t Bible verses about humility and sacrifice fun? This verse just sounds so wrong doesn’t it? Of course I need to seek my own good. How else will I survive? This is a Bible verse that really separates the men from the boys, so to speak. All of us would like to consider ourselves good people, people who have other’s best interests at heart. But how many of us actively think about how to seek someone else’s good above our own? I confess that I rarely do. I don’t have this type of humility. I hope, by the grace of God, that I’ll one day have it. But I don’t know if I ever will.
My own human nature is powerful. It wants what it wants, and it wants quite a bit. I have so many ambitions, so many things that I want to find in life. And many of them are good things, things that I don’t just want to abandon so that I can actively seek the good of others. But luckily, I don’t think the verse is telling us to abandon all of our hopes and desires and instead to wholeheartedly just seek the good of others. But it definitely is telling us that we need to live differently. Most of us live above our means. We spend just as much or more money than we make, and spend almost all of our time trying to pay back the bills we incur. Most of us don’t even have the opportunity to think about someone else’s good because we’ve so entrapped ourselves in debt and liabilities. For those of us that this is true of, maybe we ought to really make a concerted effort to spend less on ourselves and to think of ways that we might use our time and our money in ways that benefit other people. Just a thought.
“This is the one I esteem:
He who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at My Word.” Isaiah 66:2
This Bible verse from Isaiah is really cool. One main reason why I love it is because it uses the word esteem. Esteem means to honor, to lift up, to put in the spotlight. That’s a pretty cool word picture. God very rarely says that He will esteem someone. But here in this Bible verse, He gives the criteria for the person whom He will esteem. In another post, we went through a verse that said that the sacrifices that God wants from us are a broken spirit and a contrite heart. Here again in this verse, we see that God esteems the one who has a humble and contrite spirit. So what does contrite mean anyway? It’s very similar to things like humility, meekness, and surrender. In my mind a contrite spirit is one who is humble and stands with the fear of the Lord.
But what about the second part of the verse? What does it mean to tremble at the word of God? Obviously trembling is a synonym of fear, and people only generally tremble in the presence of something powerful. When I see that phrase, “who trembles at my word,” in my mind it brings the idea that we first fully realize how powerful God’s word is, that it isn’t just some book written thousands of years ago to a people group a lot different from us. Rather, it’s powerful and relevant for today, and has the ability to change our lives if we’ll give it the respect and attention it deserves. That’s what the phrase means to me.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others as better than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3
Now this is definitely one of the toughest Bible verses about humility to read. I don’t think anyone enjoys reading this verse. I can’t think of any command that’s more difficult to accomplish than this one. Isn’t it so contrary to human nature, so contrary to everything our thoughts and emotions tell us? From childhood we grow up striving to fulfill our own desires, searching for happiness and pleasure, and not much thinking about anyone else in our lives. But God commands the opposite. He tells us that other people should actually be more important to us than achieving our own happiness and desires. That’s just plain tough.
But that’s the mandate that Jesus gives us. And He has the right to demand that from us. After all, He himself gave up everything and came down to Earth to give up His own life in order that we might come to have a relationship with Him and God the father. So when He says that we ought to consider others as better than ourselves, what He’s really commanding is that we become more like Him, because that’s exactly what He did. So when you take a look at it from that perspective, it becomes clear that if any of us desires to be more like Christ, we need to have the kind of humility that Jesus had. And that kind of humility isn’t something that comes easily. It’s probably the hardest thing we’ll ever work for. But the good news is that we don’t have to do it alone. If anyone truly desires to have the kind of humility that Jesus had and wants to consider others as better than themselves, then God is eager to give that person a helping hand. God loves to give us humility and won’t hesitate to lend a hand.
“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” Romans 12:3
I used to reflect on this Bible verse a lot, wondering in what ways I thought arrogantly about myself. I’m sure that we all do. Most of us don’t have the humility to think of ourselves in sober judgement. It’s so easy to see other people’s faults; so difficult to notice our own. But anyone who calls themselves a Christian really needs to take an honest look at their lives and find ways to build humility into their character. That’s interesting that Paul says, according to the measure of faith that God has given you. Faith then, becomes a criteria for humility. If God has given you a lot of faith and the desire to follow Him and forsake your own selfish desires, be grateful and humble, for you are blessed. If God has only given you a small measure of faith, and it’s so difficult for you to follow Him, be humble and ask for more and for the desire to change.
Sadly however, so often we don’t think of ourselves with sober judgment. Because of the fact that God has gifted many of us in many different ways, it’s so easy to see the talents and gifts that God has given us and to look down on those who seem to be doing less. But that’s why I love parables like the one Jesus told about the talents. He said that some servants were given 5 talents, others 3, and still others 1 talent. Those who were given 5 talents were expected to produce more than those who were given 3 and 1 talent. That always convicts me, because whenever I’m tempted to think that someone else is doing less than I am, I can’t escape the thought that maybe that person was given less than I’ve been given. When I think about it like that, it helps me to have a correct opinion about myself. I know that I’ve been given a lot. And to him who has been given much, much will be required. So do not think about yourselves more highly than you ought.
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” James 3:13
This is another great verse. I love that it says that humility comes from wisdom. Those aren’t two character traits that we often associate with one another. Generally, when we think of wisdom, we think of well-read, well-educated people who have a lot of life experience who like to stand up and teach the masses. But this verse says that the wise and understanding person will focus on simple good deeds done in humility. That’s pretty astounding actually. Usually the person doing simple good deeds that often go unnoticed isn’t the wise and understanding person. It’s usually those with generous willing hearts that do the jobs that no one else wants to do. But this Bible verse and other verses like it say that the humility to do the simple, menial tasks that no one else wants to do is actually a mark of wisdom.
But if you really stop to think about it, we probably all can think of someone who was didn’t always think of their own needs but was always giving a helping hand to someone else. People like that are often the most content, and when you’re around them, they make you want to be more content with your life as well. I can see how that would be called real wisdom. Wisdom, after all, is just the knowledge of how to live one’s life well. Those who are the most content and doing the most good, could probably be said to have gained the most wisdom. That’s why I love the Bible verse in James. Humility and simple good deeds come from wisdom. That’s the kind of wisdom and humility that I want to have in my own life. I hope you do too.