Humility is good for us, but it is painful to embrace it.
It’s not easy to show respect to those that don’t show you any. It can be frustrating to be overlooked when you are just as good as others. When you are faced with racism and sexism… when your sacrifices are unappreciated… when you are misunderstood despite your best intentions… when the undeserving get the credit that should be going to you… when your services are demanded rather than asked for… shall we go on?
For some, humility feels like punishment. For others, it can even feel like abandonment. When you cannot hide behind a sterling reputation or the power of status, you are left with a degrading sense of sorrow.
If you are familiar with these sentiments, it is time for you to recognize the truth and the lie that is in every opportunity to be humble.
The truth about the humble is very clear in the Bible. The command to be humble is always associated with the reward of God’s favor.
James 4:6 says, “…God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
Luke 14:11 says, “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Psalm 149:4 says, “For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.”
God’s goodness ensures that the lot of the humble is favor and victory.
The lies can be pretty persuasive, especially when you feel the vulnerability of being humbled. The enemy wants you to feel like an orphan — victimized and abandoned by God. In your moment of weakness, the enemy wants you to begin trusting in your own me-centered understanding, rather than leaning on His Christ-centered perspective. It’s tempting to begin idolizing success in order to make it in the world, because you feel that no one else will lift you up but yourself.
All of these are lies, and these lies are rooted in a false understanding of God.
You may feel that you are being humbled to be reminded of your unworthiness, but God is better than that. Instead, God says that you are being humbled, because you are worthy of favor and victory.
I am an Asian American woman in ministry. When I was initially finding my place in the world, humility felt like weakness. In my mind, I felt that if the world is already humbling you, why choose to do it on my own?
I’m sure my situation is not unique. You may be the minority in your own workplace. You may be the lower class somebody somewhere. You may be the overlooked one in your home. You may be the misunderstood one in your community. Choosing humility in these scenarios require a deep trust in God’s goodness.
Thank goodness we are not alone on this one. Jesus had to do the same thing. He could have come with the protection of status and riches to keep Him from being demoted amongst man. But, He didn’t. He came in the humblest form possible — a baby in a manger, exposed and vulnerable.
When Jesus allowed the crowd to use Him, the children to embrace Him, and the leaders to accuse Him, it was not because He had no self-esteem or a submissive demeanor. I believe He was able to do that because He trusted in God’s goodness. He had an insurmountable trust in what God was doing for Him and through Him.
Philippians 2:7-8 says, “rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!”
(For Part 1 of the “Embracing Humility” series, click here.)