Subtitle: A Humble Life (Part 1). This week I’ve come to lesson #7a in my “What I Wish…” series. I will be spending a few weeks on this particular point because I feel it is one of the most important of all the lessons that I am sharing in this series. I wrote briefly about this subject (humility vs. pride) last summer in a short three-part sequence of blog posts, and today I’ll be expanding significantly upon that content.
Lesson Number 7a: Humility is always the right choice! Humility is “foundational” to the Christian faith, as well as effective, God-honoring ministry. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. God always honors the humble – either sooner (on earth) or later (in heaven)! (1 Peter 5:5-6; Proverbs 18:12)
Demonstrating genuine humility and vulnerability will engender greater trust and deeper relationships between yourself and the people you are leading. On the other hand, pride and egotism will most certainly cause people to be repelled by you and your leadership. Humility is not only the right thing, it is the best thing – both for yourself and your ministry.
As Randy Alcorn has said, “Pride is delusional and it is never in our best interests!”
Allow me to say right up front: I have a long way to go in my understanding of and application of what it means to be a truly “humble person.” Humility is one of those slippery character traits – once you think you have it, you’ve lost it! Having said that, I do believe that I have learned a few things (by no means all) about the importance of humility – both personally and in ministry leadership.
My desire in sharing this is to (especially) help younger pastors avoid the potential pitfalls and spiritual potholes of ministry leadership. As a matter of fact, that is the primary reason for this entire series of “What I Wish…” blog posts. It is to help younger pastors learn some of these lessons from those of us who are further down the road (and who have made some of these mistakes themselves and have the bruises to show for it) – rather than having to make these mistakes on their own and therefore, learn the hard way.
For the past 20+ years I have begun my personal prayer time with the following words (this is what I have written at the very top of my Prayer List):
“Lord, today I humble myself under Your mighty and sovereign hand. I acknowledge that You are God and I am not! I acknowledge that apart from You I can do nothing! May You pour out, in abundance, Your grace and mercy upon me today!”
Do you want God to honor your life and ministry? Then make sure to always take humility seriously and run from all forms of pride, egotism and stubbornness toward the Lord! God chastened the people of Israel over and over throughout the Old Testament because they were a “stiff-necked people.” They weren’t teachable. They were arrogant and filled with pride. They were stubborn and wanted to do things “their way.”
A.W. Tozer wrote…
“Humility pleases God wherever it is found, and the humble person will have God for his or her friend and helper always. Only the humble are completely sane, for they are the only ones who see clearly their own size and limitations. Egotists see things out of focus. To themselves they are large and God is correspondingly small, and that is a kind of moral insanity.”
This week I introduced this lesson on humility. Next week I will be sharing some very practical and difficult lessons on humility that I have learned through the years that I pray will be of great benefit to you and your ministry.
Also, an important side note: Rather than make one really long blog post, I am going to try and keep them a bit shorter (easy to read within 1-3 minutes at most). Because of this, each lesson may have more “parts,” but I think it will be easier for everyone to digest and find the time (and take the time) to read in the midst of their hectic lives. As always, I pray these posts will be an encouragement to your heart and spiritual stimulation to your soul – all for the glory of God!
I leave you this week with the following Scripture verses on the importance of humility. I would encourage you to allow these verses to soak deep within your soul.
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” (James 3:13 NIV)
“Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.” (1 Peter 5:5-6 ESV)
“…with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:2-3 ESV)
“You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews.” (Acts 20:18b-19 ESV)
“Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.” (Proverbs 18:12 ESV)