What is Humility?

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In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:5-7

The Bible is full of verses about humility. God words are harsh on the prideful but he promise grace, forgiveness and healing to the humble. It has made me ponder the word humility. What is humility exactly? I know this word, I’ve even used this word to describe people but then again I wonder what humility looks like in practical terms and for our lives? For humility is a trait we should desire and work towards.

A common definition of humility is a low self-regard and sense of unworthiness. In other words, a modest view of self in relation to others, the world and God. Humility relates to how a person sees themselves in relation to God, and often refers to submission to God and his commands. I often think of humility as the awareness of how small we are in comparison the world and the Lord our God. A humble heart means a heart that acknowledges their own sin and desperate need for Jesus. Humility is the opposite of narcissism.

When you think of children they all view the world as revolving around them. I have never meet a child who did not think this way. It is part of being a child. Although the child thinks the world revolves around them in reality they are the weakest, most vulnerable and most dependent on others. Children cannot even take care of themselves. We are all children in God eyes. No matter how old we get. No matter how wise we think we are. No matter how successful or talented. We are all just innocent little selfish children who think we understand so much when the truth is we can do nothing on our own.

I think the older I become the more aware I become of how insignificant I am. I become more aware of my own sin. More aware of my own limitations. More aware of how little I can accomplish on my own. The more aware of how much the world needs Jesus and how very little I am capable of solving the worlds problems. I believe this is a reflection of God’s spirit moving and working in me to creat more humility. For it is only through humility and submission to God that God’s spirit can move and work in me to accomplish something he wills. God’s plans, purposes and will is always good. On the other hand my own plans, purposes and will may have good intentions but often causes disaster. Unintended disaster but disaster all the same.

Within my walk with Jesus my struggles with mental illness has been incredibly humbling. Each time I get sick and incapable of taking care of myself I am reminded of how small I am but how insanely powerful the lord our God is. For it is often my illness that forces me to slow down, ask for help and rely on others. It is easy to see this as a hinderance rather than seeing it as a process in which God is working in me to produce more humility and ultimately holiness. For what the enemy means for evil is changed to good when we humble ourselves and submit to the Lord our God. Similarly it is often through what seems like a hinderance in my life that God equips others.

I am incredibly thankful for my aunt and uncle who have taken me in time and time again when I was at some of my worst times. They have listen to me ranting and raving in anger over many diners. My cousin and her husband have been generous beyond what anyone could ever ask. There patience, love, support and care has been invaluable. I am thankful to have been born into the family I have.

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:37-40

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