Humility: Can’t force it

I used to think humility meant to guard against pride and to put yourself lower when you see your own view of yourself going up too high—

I read a great book about it. It obviously didn’t stick with me, as I am 26 and just discovered this:

Humility is not lowering yourself, speaking poorly of yourself or displaying the opposite of pride: It is a right understanding of who we are that allows the Spirit to lead us to a lower place.

I google researched this after i wrote my own definition.

The virtue of humility may be defined: “A quality by which a person considering his own defects has a lowly opinion of himself and willingly submits himself to God and to others for God’s sake.” St. Bernard defines it: “A virtue by which a man knowing himself as he truly is, abases himself.” These definitions coincide with that given by St. Thomas: “The virtue of humility”, he says, “Consists in keeping oneself within one’s own bounds, not reaching out to things above one, but submitting to one’s superior” (Summa Contra Gent., bk. IV, ch. lv, tr. Rickaby).

If I know who I am, I will take a low place. I will not force myself to take the lowest place because I want to show humility, but because it is where I belong. The Bible says to sit at the lowest place, and that is a good reason to do so. But that command offers the “What to do” and humility is the “how to do it”. Taking the lowest place is much easier when we know that’s our spot. Taking the lowest place when we don’t know that it is our spot is more than difficult, it may be destructive. Praying for humility means praying for understanding of our spot, then praying for submission.

This is why Jesus was a humble King. He did not go around saying bad things about himself like, “Naw, don’t worship me, I’m trying to show humility (trying to show + humility = oxymoron)” or “I’m not that great, seriously..” — he allowed worship and adoration and perfume on his feet because he knew who he was—yet lowered himself to pay for us. A humble King.

I am praying that every day I would find joy in the fact that I deserved hell but Christ saved me–and that I would live in that realization.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Humility: Can’t force it

  1. Dad

    I interpreted a good men’s conference a week ago at FBBC, topic “Humility”. Lots went past my busy brain. One thing that stuck. Seeing God for who He is (EVERYTHING GOOD) helps me understand who I am and what I deserve (zip, nada, ‘no good thing in me’). I have worth because God made, loves me, and gave His Son for me. More, I am fruitful to God and others because “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” He must increase and my must decrease.

    You got it right. Paul was sincere when he called himself the chief of sinners. He recognized a reality that empowered his humble dependence on God.

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