(From my last prayer letter; See prayer request at end)
Humility is a word we mention a lot, but it seldom gets defined.
One viable definition is this: “Agreeing with God.” In fact, this is what the Greek word translated “confess” means. And the word translated “virtue” in 2 Peter 1:5 also has the idea of agreeing with God.
Pride is the opposite–thinking that we know what is right, defining good and evil ourselves. This is what Adam did in eating the forbidden fruit.
Humility is abandoning that self-centered thinking to embrace God’s opinion about everything. In fact, that is also what it means to fear God: caring very deeply what He thinks, standing in awe of His wisdom, knowledge and power so much that we obey Him whether we feel like it or not.
The one time Moses failed in his humility was when he reacted as he wanted: instead of speaking to the rock to get water, in anger he struck it, thereby stealing honor from God.
Most of us would like to be humble, but If we are honest, we only selectively agree with what God has to say. The rest of the time we elevate our intellect above His Word. For instance, how often have I gone ahead and said something negative even after the Spirit has warned me not to! I decide that giving a zinger to someone is more important than obeying God—and thereby steal honor from God.
I want to touch on a point of humility where every single person misses the mark: our opinion of ourselves. A finer focus of the definition of humility is this: “seeing ourselves as God sees us, both in our holiness and in our depravity.”
Those of us who are proud or self-sufficient or self-absorbed, tend to focus on what a good person we are, missing the truth that we have an old nature where we are worthy only of condemnation, rejection, punishment and death.
On the other hand, most of us are dissatisfied with our performance, looks and position. We focus on our lacks, our failures and negatives. We are down on ourselves, disappointed in ourselves and talk frequently about what we “should do;” in our opinion we never pray enough, read the Word enough, witness enough.
But how does God look at us? He acknowledges the fact that by nature we are depraved, evil and worthy only of condemnation. But He then focuses fully on the fact that we are chosen, forgiven, cleansed, adopted into His family, into His Kingdom, and into His plan.
He loves us richly, deeply, unconditionally and eternally. He delights in us, rejoices in us, sings over us and cherishes us.
If we are humble, we will agree with both of these, and with God, and will focus primarily on how He forgives us, accepts us and forgives us—and do the same to ourselves!
When we begin to understand how much we are loved, there will be a transformation in us. As we “know this love that surpasses knowledge—[we] may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:19). And part of this fullness is viewing ourselves as He does. That is being humble!
So let us repent of our dissatisfaction with ourselves, repent of our focus on performance and looks, and instead, as a result of Christ’s sacrifice, forgive, accept and love ourselves as God loves us—and the resulting fullness will lead to a life of greater obedience (loving our neighbor as we love ourselves), holiness, humility and honor for God.
Pray for Barbara and me that we will look at ourselves as God does, forgive, accept and love ourselves as Christ does. If we do so, we will reflect God’s beauty to the world, as the pond does the beauty of the sky in this picture.