“…Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…” Colossians 3:12
My husband thought that I was sitting down to write “the first chapter in a book about humility.”
“No way!” I said. “I’d have to be crazy to write a book about humility.”
I was joking-not-joking, because everyone knows that when you write a book about a godly virtue, God makes sure you know what you’re talking about first. He sifts and sanctifies you, wrestles and wrangles you, until your message is purified. Writing an entire book about humility is asking for trouble . . . if you know what I mean.
Even sitting down to write 1,000 words on the topic is problematic. I’m sure that while I’m writing this blog post, God will sift my pride. He’ll convict me and surprise me. I’ll wonder why I ever embarked on this project in the first place. But I must admit that I’m heartened to keep plowing ahead with this post anyway because I know that His purpose is to make me more like Jesus. Who could ask for more?
I’m hoping that as you read this, He’ll captivate, convict, and surprise you, too.
Let’s trust Him to teach us with absolute love and affection.
Longing to Be Humble
I’m not writing this post as a humility expert. I’m writing as a regular person who can be embarrassingly proud and self-focused. My interest in humility comes from poignant Scriptures like Proverbs 3:34, 1 Peter 5:5, and James 4:6 that all say, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
I shudder to think about God Almighty opposing me, yet I must admit that my pride sets me up as God’s enemy. As the Creator and Ruler of the universe, God must resist me when I foolishly live according to my own will and worship myself.
Proverbs 16:18 warns that “pride goes before destruction.” When God resists the proud, He is saving them from danger; even His opposition is kind, alerting us of our grave sin.
I long to be included in the body of believers who are “humble,” the ones who receive unmerited grace from God—the grace that is able to help us to love Him and other people, overcome our struggles with sin, and to live for His glory. I want to be among the humble saints who bow before the Throne of Grace, hands open to God’s provision, protection, and smile.
Whenever humility is mentioned in Scripture, the Holy Spirit uses it to shake us out of our everyday selfishness and to remind us that there is a God in heaven, abounding in grace, who deserves our worship.
A bird’s eye view of humility throughout Scripture reveals that we are to choose humility, put humility on like clothing, and intentionally humble ourselves. Consider this sampling of verses that command us to be humble:
- “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14:11).
- “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” (Col. 3:12).
- “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Eph. 4:2 NIV).
- “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you” (James 4:10).
Over and over again throughout Scripture, we are told to intentionally, proactively humble ourselves. Of course, we rely on God for the faith to humble ourselves, but these Scriptures seem to imply that we can take ourselves by the collar and pull ourselves to our knees or look at our prideful selves in the mirror and intentionally cover over our shameful haughtiness with humility.