Last month we introduced a new blog feature called Meditations, where one of the teachers who volunteers at Beacon shares a perspective from their spiritual walk to encourage you as you follow Christ. This month, Matthew Dent is back to help us consider the ways we pursue humility in our lives.
Scripture Focus: 1 Peter 5:6-7
A new year is upon us, and like any new beginning, 2018 represents the potential for a fresh start, an opportunity to reflect, a time to establish goals and make resolutions of how we would like to change. This is a worthwhile practice, but of all the resolutions I have heard over the years, one I have never heard is to grow in humility.
In the world we live in, humility is regarded more as a weakness than a strength. And unfortunately, for many in the Christian faith, humility is not something we seem to really spend much time trying to develop. When is the last time you prayed for humility? When is the last time you heard a series of sermons on the importance of humility?
The Bible, however, says a lot about humility and the Lord Jesus Christ is the perfect model. When Peter writes to the suffering believers scattered throughout Asia-Minor he concludes with a simple imperative, “humble yourselves.” Of all the counsel he could offer to people that are suffering on account of their faith, Paul chooses to say, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)
These verses teach me three things about humility. First, humility comes from God. “Humble” is a passive verb which means we are not the ones doing it. Instead we must allow God to work through us and in us. How? By seeing ourselves in relation to God and placing ourselves under his sovereignty. No matter how skilled or talented we are, we cannot compare to the majesty of God. When we acknowledge our insignificance, we are well on the way to understanding the Christian grace of humility. John the Baptist possessed godly humility as he expressed, concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, “He must increase, and I must decrease...He who comes from Heaven is above all.” (John 3:30-31)
Second, humility comes from understanding we live under the mighty hand of God. The instruction to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God finds its roots in the OT. In Exodus 6:1 God’s mighty hand is a reference used to describe His power over Pharaoh and deliverance of His people. Pharaoh chose to defy the mighty hand of God and he paid the consequences. By submitting to the rule of God in our lives we demonstrate humility and the result is that He will exalt us at the appropriate time.
Third, humility is a remedy for anxiety. As a result of living in a fallen world, we all worry throughout our lives for various reasons. Do we realize, though, that worry which negatively affects how we act and think is sin? Remembering the instruction to be humble in these moments is the remedy to overcoming worry. We acknowledge the difficult situation but we also acknowledge that we are spending too much time and effort thinking about ourselves. We cast our anxieties on the Lord because we willingly acknowledge that we do not have the power to change the situation. A humble heart recognizes the pride of being consumed with ourselves and gives the situation over to the Lord.
May this be the year we seek to be obedient to Paul’s command. Let’s aim to think less of ourselves, so that we might make much of Him! “To Him be glory forever!” (Romans 11:36b)