I know precious little about humility. However I know one big thing: God requires it in His people.
Scripture is filled with teachings, examples, violations, commands, and encouragements regarding humility. Even our Lord Jesus Christ was humble and became our example. (Try these passages for starters: Matthew 11:29; John 13:14-15; Philippians 2:5-8.)
Scripture tells believers to put on humility (Colossians 3:12), be clothed with humility (I Peter 5:5), and to walk with humility (Ephesians 4:1-2).
The Lord wants His children to be humble so badly that He has given us seven aids to accomplish this and to keep us that way.
1. Common sense.
Look around at the billions of people. You’re just one of them. Look above at the zillions of stars. You’re sitting on one small planet circling one humble star. They’ve been around for eons, while you have only a few more years of life here. If that doesn’t humble you, you’re not paying attention. (See Psalm 8)
2. The Holy Spirit.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, humility…. (Galatians 5:22-23).
3. Our family.
I heard the wife of a well-known preacher say on television once–and probably shocking her audience–“I tell my husband, ‘Don’t start that big shot thing with me. I saw you in your shorts this morning.'” (My wife thought the woman spoke out of turn, that she should not have said that publicly.)
The old adage says, “No man is a hero to his valet.” To the Obama children, Barack is simply “Daddy.” To Billy Graham’s offsprings, he is “Daddy.” None tiptoe into his presence and genuflect.
4. Our friends.
Our closest friends are not in awe of us. They will tell us our breath smells bad, we need to use a hankie, or that we have a stain on our clothing we had not noticed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy (Proverbs 27:6).
5. Affliction, hardship.
You shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you…. (Deuteronomy 8:2-3)
Scripture cites so many instances of this, it’s hard to know where to start. God let Israel fail to conquer the tiny city of Ai to humble them because of sin in their camp. He let Samson fail because of his headstrong ways. Same with Nebuchadnezzar. Time and again, God allowed foreign nations to conquer Israel and dominate them until they humbled themselves and cried out to Him.
A friend told me that after his wife left him, thus ending his pastoral ministry that had made him a household name in his part of the world, God truly humbled him. I said, “My guess is you are doing far better work for the Lord now than before.” He said, “Before, I was working for myself. Now I work for Jesus.”
Nothing drove Moses to stay close to the Almighty like the constant carping of the Israelites. Many a pastor has stood in the pulpit and preached God’s message before people looking for flaws and eager to pounce on any mistake he made. It’s an awful way to live, but God can use this to build character in him and deepen his commitment to Christ.
A gospel song says it like this–
I thought number one would surely be me;
I thought I could be what I wanted to be.
I thought of myself as a mighty big man.
But I can’t even walk without You holding my hand.
Question: Why do we have to keep learning these lessons? Why does pride become such a dominant, malignant factor in our lives?
Answer: Because we live under a constant barrage of forces that neutralize humility.
Here are 7 forces that work against humility.