For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. ~Luke 14:11
At a reception honoring musician Sir Robert Mayer on his 100th birthday, elderly British socialite Lady Diana Cooper fell into conversation with a friendly woman who seemed to know her well. Lady Diana’s failing eyesight prevented her from recognizing her fellow guest, until she peered more closely at the magnificent diamonds and realized she was talking to Queen Elizabeth! Overcome with embarrassment, Lady Diana curtsied and stammered, “Ma’am, oh, ma’am, I’m sorry ma’am. I didn’t recognize you without your crown!” “It was so much Sir Robert’s evening,” the queen replied, “that I decided to leave it behind.” Today in the Word, April 3, 1992.
We see the ESSENCE of humility.
“Humility does not mean thinking less of yourself than of other people, nor does it mean having a low opinion of your own gifts. It means freedom from thinking about yourself one way or the other at all.” William Temple, “Christ in His Church” Humility is the opposite of pride. “The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility,” Prov. 15:33. Humility is being content with others getting praise while you get to be in the shadows. Humility is taking a position lower than others. The greatest example of humility is when our Lord Jesus Christ came to earth to die for our sins. “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross,” Phil. 2:8.
We see the EXCEPTION to humility.
Christ speaks out against the vain self-exaltation of the Pharisees. Whenever they were invited to a major public event or to someone’s house for a feast, they chose them out the best and most coveted seats of recognition. They did not wait for a seating assignment which was proper. Instead they wanted it to be known that they were “important” and deserved the best seats. Humility is always lacking when we covet the praise and recognition of men. Humility is absent when we strive with others for first place. Humility is lacking when we have to give the first word and “steal the spotlight.”
We see the EXERCISE of humility.
“But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” Humility is always voluntary. Humility is always taking the high road. Humility is needed in all conflict resolutions. Humility is a necessity for thriving long-term relationship-building. It is the vital ingredient for thriving marriages. It is the vital ingredient for a thriving and healthy church. Humility is doing more, and staying in the shadows while doing it.
We see the EXALTATION from humility.
True honor only comes after we have humbled ourselves. The most important Person we must humble ourselves to is God. “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:” 1 Pet. 5:6. When we humble ourselves and confess our sins to God, He forgives us of our sins. When we humble ourselves to God in prayer, God is pleased to answer our prayers. When we humble ourselves to resolve conflicts between us and others, God gives us more grace. When we humble ourselves to those in spiritual authority, we see enhanced productivity and fruitfulness in our service. God elevates and honors those who humble themselves before Him and others.
Humility is when we go lower. The most difficult virtue for all of us is to humble ourselves. The question this morning is not “Are you humble?” but rather, “How low and humble are you willing to bend yourself?”
Have a humble God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Job 35-37