Saturday, 24 January 2015

What is Humility?

My personal studies keep coming back to this question recently.

What, according to God, is humility?

Jesus was humble. He walked a miraculous life certainly, but he walked in humility and subject to the Will of His Father. He did only what He saw the Father do. He subjugated His own desires for the desires of the Father - none more so than in Gethsemane where He begged for the cup to pass from Him, but then in humility subjected Himself willingly to the Cross, death and ultimately Resurrection.

He was a man who knew who He was. An example to us of how we are meant to live. It's a simple acknowledgement of who we are in God's sight. Nothing more, and nothing less. Just like Jesus.
Godly humility isn't cowering in a corner whispering "I'm worthless" repeatedly. Neither is it standing at the front of the group declaring how right we are with God. Not necessarily, anyway.
Godly humility begins with knowing who God says you are and living it. Nothing more or less.

In an episode of "The Apprentice" a few years ago, Donald Trump was asked about having paid off the mortgage of someone who stopped to help him when his car had broken down and he had a meeting to get to, or some function. The details of the story are not relevant. His answer is. When the contestant asked him about it, he simply said "Yes I did" and moved onto the next question. No fuss, no drama, just an acknowledgement of an action he had done. He neither played it down nor did he make a big deal of it. I've seen Mr Trump come across as extremely arrogant in some cases, but on this occasion he was sincerely humble.

How can we be that way? Obviously we can't go round paying off people's debt. It's not all of us in a position to do so. But we all have a call on our lives that is unique to us. Some are called to write or speak. Some to teach. Some may be asked to lead mass crowds to Christ while others gently shepherd a small flock of souls. Whatever it is we're called to do, we should do it with all our strength as we are using the gifts God gave us to advance the purpose He made us for.

That's humility.

There's no point in making yourself out to be more than you are. Sooner or later it will become obvious what a charlatan you are. Many ministries are destroyed because the central character moves away from the calling they were given and focuses on other things. We are all told to heal the sick, but that doesn't mean we have a specific healing ministry. We should all share the Gospel of Jesus, but the anointing of evangelist is something different again.

In 1989, Mike Yaconelli gave an amazing talk at Greenbelt festival in the UK called "Cleaning the bog and other spiritual gifts". I loved it. I bought the tape and wore it out. The following year I was able to buy a copy of the video which I'm trying to get transferred onto DVD. His concept was simple. Our spiritual gift is what we were made to do. Teaching, yes. But cleaning toilets can be a spiritual calling if it's what God called us for.
"Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a complaint against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution.Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them.
Then the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith."
Acts 6:1-7 NKJV
In this case, serving food was a spiritual calling. It required men filled with Faith and wisdom. The men chosen were happy to do this "menial" task because they were humble enough to recognise they were called to it.

We must be the same.

Whatever your gift is - or mine - we need to seek it with all our hearts and fulfill it with all our strength. Be bold in announcing when asked that God has called us to this work. Don't put yourself down. It doesn't befit a child of God. Don't puff yourself up. It's ugly and leads to destruction.

Do justly, Love Mercy and walk Humbly with our God.

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