Humility: A Different Take

True confessions: I have sometimes bristled when hearing people talk about how we are supposed to be humble.  In some cases, it conjured up images of folks I’ve seen being super phony, like, “Oh, this?  It’s just a little old Nobel Peace Prize.  Doesn’t everybody have one?”  And other times, it felt like it was just a way for the other person to tell me I should be their doormat.  But as it turns out, when I saw it like that, I was getting it all wrong.  Operating in humility isn’t about downplaying reality, or about getting done in.  It’s about operating in God’s ways, and being more like Him.  You see,

God Himself has a contrite and humble Spirit. (excerpt from Learning to Love in the Hard Places, by Dr. Chester C. Pipkin Jr.)

Wait what?!  Mind blown, right?  I know, me, too.  The all-powerful, all-knowing God, Creator of everything, and He is humble?  But come to think of it, we kind of knew this already. At Christmas we sing about “Away in a manger,” (that’s a feeding trough for animals that they laid Baby Jesus in!)  Then there’s the carol, Jesus, What a Wonderful Child, which remarks that He is, “So lowly, meek and mild.”  The way Jesus entered the world was a perfect picture of humility, and that continued throughout His ministry on the earth.  Remember how He washed the disciples’ feet?  (John 13:3-17.)

So when Jesus, God in the flesh, so consistently demonstrated humility, that makes it a little (okay, a lot) harder for me to justify my own pride.  And maybe I don’t always look at it as pride, but when I refuse to yield to someone else’s preference or give up my rights for another or acknowledge my part in a situation where I wasn’t the only one who messed up, these are all examples of not having a humble spirit.  And, to take it further, while I may have seen examples of others not doing the humility thing quite right, that doesn’t give me a free pass to get judgy with them, or to resist what God requires of me.  Now, if that was all there was to it, then this might not seem any different than being that doormat that I mentioned.  But humbling myself doesn’t stop there.  You see:

The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: "I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts. (Isaiah 57:15 NLT)

God will be with me through it all! I gotta say, all this changes my perspective when I hear those same people urge me to humble myself.  Knowing that it is an attribute of God Himself, and that He rewards it with His help and presence, makes it seem like a no-brainer.  I’m not saying it’s always easy, but I’ve stopped wanting to resist, and started trusting that when I submit to God’s call to humility, He will take care of the rest.