When Our World Feels Broken and Divided There’s Help and Hope in Humility
The older I get, the more I recognize a pattern.
Some of the wisest people I know are humble. They ask more questions than they spout answers. They listen more than they talk. They are too busy learning about all the things they have yet to know to waste time boasting about what they already do know.
Some of the most successful people I know are humble. And I’m not just talking about material success. Many of us could point to individuals who have wealth, but sadly, their personal lives are a trainwreck. No, the truly successful people I’ve met, the ones that have navigated material wealth in conjunction with rich relationships, have been humble.
Humility is indispensable if we want the best Jesus has to offer.
1 Peter 5:12 says that we are to humble ourselves.
C.S. Lewis said, “there can be no surer proof of a confirmed pride than the belief that one is sufficiently humble.”
Mercy. I think I need more humility in my life.
“No tree can grow except on the root from which it sprang.” Andrew Murray repeats this quote over and over in his infamous book titled Humility. Murray says that the need and nature of redemption are only found in Jesus Christ.
Our need is this: when Satan tempted Eve, pride entered our family history. According to Murray, the desire to be like God––to know good and evil, “destroyed that blessed humility and dependence on God which would have been everlasting happiness.”
He continues, “All the wretchedness… all [the world’s] wars and bloodshed, all its selfishness, and suffering, all its ambitions, jealousies, broken hearts, embittered lives with all its daily unhappiness, have their origin in this cursed, hellish pride, either our own or that of another….”
If Murry is right, and I believe he is, pride is our mortal enemy. Humility is no longer something we pursue because it’s a great attribute… we seek humility because, without it, there will be devastating consequences in our lives and the lives of those we love.
Murray helps us see the profound nature of our need for redemption. A condition based partly on the root from which we sprang in the old Adam.
But then Murry encourages us with this––
“…we need to know well that the Second Adam [Jesus] and His power to give within us a life of humility is as real and abiding… as has been that of pride.”
“The life of God which in the incarnation entered human nature is the root in which we are to stand and grow; it is the same almighty power that worked there, and onward to the resurrection, which works daily in us.”
He finishes with this powerful word of encouragement:
“Believer! Study the humility of Jesus. This is the secret. The hidden root of your redemption. Sink down into it deeper day by day. Believe with the whole heart this Christ, whom God has given thee, even as His divine humility wrought the work for thee, will enter in to dwell and work within thee too and make thee what the Father would have thee be.”
What a glorious gift it is to know that Christ can dwell in us and help us in the pursuit of humility!
There is no better way for humility to flesh itself out than in daily life.
There is nothing harder than fleshing out our faith in daily life.
Living out humility in the context of relationships with the people we live with, work with––just plain do life with will require us to follow our heads and not our hearts.
Acts 24:16 KJV says this,
“And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward men.”
Sometimes we have to do like the verse in Acts stated. We have to exercise our hearts. We do it when we don’t want to. And yet, just like with physical exercise, we get stronger, and the task gets easier the more we exercise.
The most important thing to remember is that we can’t do it alone and we don’t have to.
God is at the ready!
He is waiting to be invited into the situation to do the heavy lifting.
It’s taken me until my late 50’s to finally understand the phrase “watershed moment.” I’ve heard it many times. I probably have used it many times, but I don’t think I really appreciated all the nuances of the phrase.
I was reading a book describing a pivot point in the life of a US President. This president was faced with a difficult decision. The author described the moment as a watershed. Clearly, the decision could have gone in one direction or the other. The implications of choice were far-reaching. It was indeed a watershed moment.
That’s when it hit me.
The moments when we are weighing our response as we wrestle between pride and humility are not just about a decision. They are shifts that can result in dramatically different outcomes.
They are watershed moments that can affect not just ourselves but others as well.
As water flows down a mountain, a channel may draw it one way or another. Likewise, an obstacle may divert it one way or another. The good news is that we can create the channel or remove the barrier. We can exercise our decision-making and influence the direction of the “water.”
Andrew Murry said this,
“…here is the path to the higher life. Down, lower down!”
“Just as water ever seeks and fills the lowest place, so the moment God finds the creature abased and empty, His glory and power flow in to exalt and bless thee.”
The decision to be humble is a watershed moment. The decision regarding how humble we will be dictates how much “water” we will receive. May our hearts cry be...
“Down, lower down!”
For it is in that place we will receive. And it is from that place God will give us the means to help heal a hurting world.