Humility

I want to talk about the greatest key to the Kingdom of God, and that is humility. If we really know how to humble ourselves before God and man, then there is no limit to what God will do for us and through us. It is the greatest key to find our calling and our ministry.

Pride on the other hand is the greatest obstacle to receiving God’s blessings and our calling and ministry. Pride is the worst of all the sins in the eyes of God. It was pride that caused Lucifer to rebel against God and was the reason why Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. Pride is the original sin. In the Proverbs 6 we have a list of six things that God hates, the first is pride. In Proverbs 16:18, we have the well know verse, “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.” In James 4:6 we read that “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” There are many other verses that we can read about the sin of pride.

Just as God hates pride, He loves humility. Humility brings great joy and pleasure to the Lord. In Isaiah 66:2 we read, “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit and who trembles at My word.” Humility touches the heart of God. We have the example of the wicked King Ahab, who murdered Naboth and stole his vineyard. Elijah then pronounced God’s judgment on him in 1 Kings 21:21 and said:I (the Lord) will bring calamity on you.” In verse 27 we read how Ahab humbled himself with fasting and sackcloth. God then said to Elijah in verse 29, “Because Ahab has humbled himself; I will not bring this calamity in his days…” God turned away His judgment, because Ahab knew how to humble himself. How much more will God show His mercy and favor to those who truly know how to humble themselves before God.

Definitions of humility:

Firstly, humility is to consider God and others more important than ourselves. Secondly, humility is to be known for who we really are. It is to be free from all pretense and show. Thirdly, humility is to be comfortable with who we are in Christ, to see ourselves as God sees us.

Let us read some important verse about humility: 1 Peter 5:5-7:Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But  gives grace to the humble.” Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.”

1: Humility before God is demonstrated in the context of relationships with people:  There are a number of ways that we can do this: (a) We can submit to people and to those to whom God has put in authority over us. (b) We can serve people, by doing things to help them achieve their goals in life. The verse “clothed with humility can mean, put on the clothes of a servant. (c) We can honor people through our words and deeds. (d) We can talk less about ourselves and listen to what others are saying. (e) We will be friendly and kind to others. Etc.

2: We  are responsible to humble ourselves. We cannot ask God to make us humble. It says here, “humble yourselves!” Humility is a decision we make, it is a step of obedience! Humility is not a fruit of the Spirit and is therefore not God’s responsibility. However, it says here, “humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God!” God will take us through various tests to expose pride in our hearts. As we continually make humble decisions, humility will then become our lifestyle. Therefore, tests and trials do not change our hearts, but reveal to us what is in our hearts. Our hearts are changed by repentance, obedience and continual yielding to the Holy Spirit.

3: It is God’s will and desire to exalt and promote us. We notice in this scripture, that God will exalt us in due time. God may put us through various tests and if we humble ourselves in these tests, He will exalt us. We read in Luke 1:52, “He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly.” The reason why God wants to exalt us , is so that we may become more fruitful in the Kingdom of God and influence others for Jesus..

4: Humility is demonstrated by our dependence on God: It says here in verse 7, “Casting your cares on Him.” Jesus said in John 15:5: “For with Me you can do nothing.” In Romans 7:18 Paul says, “I know that in me, (that is in my flesh) nothing good dwells.” Humility is to acknowledge, that everything we do, and everything we are is because of God’s grace and we cannot boast about anything we do, because all the glory goes to Jesus.

Jesus is our example of humility: One of the greatest verses on humility in the Bible is found in Philippians 2:5-9: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…” Notice, that this is something that we must do! It is not just something that we admire in the life of Jesus. After washing the feet of His disciples, Jesus said to them in John 13:14-15:If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.” Jesus also said in Matthew 11:29: “Learn from Me for I am gentle and lowly in heart.” He is our greatest example of humility and expects us to follow His example.

Verse 6: “who, being in the form of God, did not consider it [robbery to be equal with God but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.” No matter what position we may hold in the Church, our highest calling is to be a servant.

Verse 8: “… And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Jesus humbled Himself; His Father did not do it for Him.

Verse 9: Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name…” Jesus did the humbling, and the Father did the exalting. In the same way, if we humble ourselves, God will exalt us. On the other hand, if we try to exalt ourselves, we will be humbled.

Some important characteristics of humility:

1: Humble people are teachable and open to correction. They allow others to speak into their lives, so that they can grow spiritually. They are always willing to learn. In James 1:21 it says that we should “with meekness receive the implanted word which is able to save our souls.” Others often are able to notice our blind spots and areas of our lives that are not right.

2: Humble always have the interests of others in their hearts: They rejoice to see others achieve their goals and flourish in their callings and ministry. They are able to “weep with those who weep and rejoice with those that rejoice.” (Romans 12:15) Humble people are free from jealousy and will often stand back and let God use other people. In Philippians 2:3 we read, ““Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”

3: Humble people are good listeners: They listen more than they talk and are more interested in what others have to say. They do not interrupt people when they speak and will allow others to finish what they want to say. In James 1:19, it says, “Be quick to hear and slow to speak.”

4: Humble people are faithful in small things: There is no job or assignment too small for them. Whatever they do, they will do it well, as to the Lord. In Luke 16:10 we read, “Whoever is faith in the least is faithful in much.”

5: Humble people are not easily offended with others: The root of offence is self-centeredness and pride. The Bible says in Ephesians 4:32: “Forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you.” Humble people easily forgive because they have lost the right to hold anything against anyone.

6: Humble people do not need to be propped up by compliment and approval: They understand that to be blessed by God and to receive His approval is more important than the approval of people. They find their security in what the Bible says about them and God’s love for them and not from the way they are treated by others. They are secure because they are in Christ. If we have to live by the approval of others, we will fall when they criticize us.

The blessings of humility:  (Some promises in the Scriptures)

1: Promotion and exaltation: 1 Peter 5:6:Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and in due time he will lift you up.” Luke 1:52: “He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly.” We read about Moses, the greatest leader in the Old Testament, “This man Moses was the meekest man among all people on the face of the earth.” (Numbers 12:3) Humility is the greatest quality that God looks for in a leader.

2: The grace of God is released through humility: We read in 1 Peter 5:5: “God gives grace to the humble.” Grace is God’s favor and His divine ability. As we humble ourselves before God and others, we will experience God’s grace flowing towards us. Paul says in Romans 15:10, “I am what I am by the grace of the Lord.”  In Romans 5:17 it says, “… much more, those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness shall rein in life by One Christ Jesus.” The greatest key to victory is the ability to receive the grace of God. The key to receiving the grace of God is humility.

3: Humility is one of the keys to experience God’s presence and anointing: We read in Isaiah 57:15:“For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” Those who are contrite and humble in heart will have easy access into God’s presence. Furthermore, it says that God “revives the spirit of the humble.” Humility is a key to personal refreshing and revival. It is a key to increase the anointing of the Holy Spirit in our lives. If “God resists the proud” then the opposite must also be true, “God draws the humble to Himself.” God will open the heavens to those who know how to humble themselves before Him.

4: Humility is one of the keys to successful praying: In the well known verse in 2 Chronicles 7:14, we read, “If My people will humble themselves and pray …I will hear from heaven, forgive their sins and heal their land.” God’s ears are open to the ears of the humble.

5: Humility brings us into rest and peace: Jesus said in Matthew 11:29: “… learn from Me for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls.” In the atmosphere of humility we will experience His peace and rest and be free from tension and worry. We will find it easier to do the will of the Father and follow Jesus.

6: Humility is a catalyst that makes our faith grow: There are two instances in the Bible where Jesus praised their faith, the Canaanite woman who humbled herself before Him and the Roman centurion who told Him that he was not worthy for Jesus to come under his roof. Jesus said to both of them that He never found such great faith in all Israel. It is easier to believe for miracles and answers to prayer when we humble ourselves before God.

Finally:  Humility is an ongoing process. We will continue to grow in humility until the day we meet with Jesus.  We have the example of Paul the apostle. He accepted Jesus in 36 AD and died in 66 AD. Ten years before he died, he wrote to the Church in Corinth and said, “I am the least of all the apostles.” (1 Corinthians 15:9) Seven years before his death he wrote to the Church in Ephesus and said, “I am less than the least of all the saints.” (Ephesians 3:8) A few months before his death he wrote to Timothy and said, “God came to save sinners, of which I am the chief.” (1 Timothy 1:15) Humility is the greatest key to the Kingdom of God and will result in great blessings and fruitfulness, not only in this world, but also in eternity. Amen