The 'H' Word

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True humility is about knowing who we really are, and living in the light of that.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. (Romans 12:3)

How do you react to the "H" word? That is, humility. For many folk, humility means letting yourself be trampled over (when everyone knows you have to fight for your rights!); or "creeping" to get what you want (though you don’t mean a word you say), like Charles Dickens’ character, Uriah Heap. But true humility has nothing to do with either of these. True humility is about knowing who we really are, and living in the light of that.

Jesus said, "Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3). Many things characterize young children; but one of the main ones is that they are wonderfully "real." What you see is what you get! And true humility is about being ‘real’ – real with ourselves, real before God, real towards others – so that what they see is what they get: someone who is neither too ‘full of themselves’, nor too dismissive of themselves.

What does such humility involve? First of all, it’s about knowing our limitations, and not pushing ourselves forward or making claims beyond that. Paul summed this up when he said, ‘Our goal is to stay within the boundaries of God’s plan for us’ (2 Corinthians 10:13, NLT). Second, true humility is about asking for help when we need it. For many of us, this is often the last thing we would think of doing, thinking it shows weakness or inadequacy (and sadly, some of us are like that even in the church!). Third, true humility is about being ready to take advice, for, as Proverbs puts it, ‘The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice’ (Proverbs 12:15).

So, how are you doing with the ‘H’ word, and with Paul’s encouragement to ‘think of yourself with sober judgment’ (Romans 12:3). This is the sort of childlike, humble heart that our Father is looking for and blesses. Will he find such a heart in us?

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. (1 Peter 5:6)

Copyright © 2017 Martin Manser and Mike Beaumont

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