We all know God opposes the proud. It’s in proverbs and most of the scripture says so in a roundabout way. Jesus’s entire ministry about the Pharisees had their pride and lack of humility as a central theme.
But what is humility in God’s eyes?
It’s easier to say what it isn’t. It isn’t self-deprecation. Putting yourself down is actually pride. Inverted pride, but pride nonetheless. It’s obviously not puffing yourself up, making yourself out to be more than you are.
True humility is acknowledging exactly who and what God says we are. No more, no less.
We’ve lost sight of that kind of humility. Uncertainty has become a virtue of modern times. Classics are re-written for the big screen changing the nature of the central characters. Aragorn becomes hesitant and has to be pursuaded toleave the ranger behind in the movies. In the books, it’s him who orders the sword re-forged. Bilbo’s heroism against the spiders in the books is eliminated in the movies. In the Narnia movies, Peter’s character is more indecisive. Susan’s is more abrasive. The natures written by Tolkein and Lewis are lost in the Hollywood themes of the day.
But Tolkein and CS Lewis had a better grasp of what true humility was. You don’t find true humility in modern literature. Certainly there are characters who have flaws, but the flaws are played down or overcome easily. In weightier books of the past the protagonists had to wrestle with more difficut hardships, but their characters grew. Consider the end of Lord of the Rings. In the movies, Frodo and the hobbits return to the Shire and resume their old lives as demure and insecure nobodies. In the books, Saruman had escaped to the Shire and the last confrontation they have is with his cohorts – steeled and battle-hardened young men, with a toughness and courage about them that’s lost in the movies.
God calls us to be certain of who we are. In this we can then be certain of who He is. Rather it is the other way round.
He calls us to know Him intimately. To enter into a deep and loving relationship with Him where commuication is key and reality is forged by a deep foundation of trust and knowledge. We have the certainty of who Christ is, and building on that we can have the certainty of who we are in Him. Accepting that is central to becoming humble.
I was told what gifts I had for many years. I moved in them, spoke out and gave advice, but always denied the nature of the gift itself. Uncertainty was my shield, my “humility”. Then it was pointed out to me that not acknowledging the gifting God had placed in me would effectively mean I was disregarding God’s call on my life. Part of that call was to write, and the blog and articles I write come from that. There are other things I feel it’s not appropriate to share here in this forum, but among the gifts I have are hospitality and a call to pastor and teach. I seek to do this with all my heart, and other gifts come and go as they are needed in respect of the main call on my life – teaching, be it through written or spoken mediums.
But it was a long time in accepting them because I thought denial was humility. I believed I was being humble by making myself out as less than I was created to be. All that happened was that I grew away from God as a result.
God’s kind of humility is one simply where we say who He says we are. People’s opinions will vary, we will be accused of pride and arrogance sometimes. I know a man called to apostleship who that was said of repeatedly until he quit his ministry. I’ve seen it with people gifted with generosity and prophecy, where the gift was strong and people abused them for using it to the point that they stopped.
We need to accept who God says we are.
It’s central to following Him and walking His path.
So be who God says you are – no more, no less.
That’s His kind of Humble.