One of the most helpful tools that I have ever come across that helps to clearly distinguish between Proud, Unbroken People and Humble, Broken People is a list that Nancy Leigh DeMoss put together from her study of Scripture and her experience in both life and ministry.
There are dozens of items on both the “Proud” side and the “Humble” side. Today I want to share with you just six of them. Here they are:
Have you ever noticed the link between “wisdom” and “humility?” In James 3:13 it says, “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.”
Did you ever notice how Jesus described himself in Matthew 11:28-30? It’s the famous passage we love to quote, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden…”, but did you notice in the next verse, Jesus says “…for I am gentle and humble in heart.” The very Son of God who flung the stars into space (Colossians 1) and created everything there is, modeled for us what “humble in heart” looks like.
Max Anders in his book The Good Life, clarifies some common misconceptions about humility:
“Humility does not mean you must see yourself as a pitiful excuse, a lowlife, a piece of refuse at the bottom of the human pile.
Rather, it means you see yourself as God sees you: you have infinite and inherent value, but no more value than anyone else. It means being willing to accept God as the authority over your life, rather than insisting on being your own supreme authority. And since you accept God as the supreme authority over your life, and because you are of equal value but no greater value than everyone else, you are willing to order your life in such a way as to be a servant to others.
When Christians do this, we meet each other’s needs in a context of harmony and love. When we fail to subordinate ourselves to others and are concerned only with meeting our own needs, we live a life of individualism and isolation — a state in which the Christian cannot be satisfied. We are not created to be loners. We are part of a family!”
I came across a humorous cartoon awhile back that pictured a man bowing on his knees praying in a church building. And he was praying this:
“Dear Lord, let me be the big cheese in the number-one job of the top outfit in the country, and let me come up with the right answers at the right times in the right places, but with it all, Lord, let me remain soft-spoken, country-shy, plain old Jeff Crotts from Spickard, Missouri.”
The Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 4:1-2, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility…”
Back in the Greek culture during biblical times, humility was looked upon as a vice, not a virtue. So when Paul writes this to the Ephesian believers, it is in direct contrast to the secular culture of the day. Is it really any different than today in 2010?
Humility is one of the those strange characteristics, that when you know you have it — you’ve lost it! It’s one of those virtue’s to be highly sought after but never claimed — because once you’ve claimed it — it’s forfeited!