Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Be humble... BE HUMBLE!

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand...
1 Peter 5:6

I've been thinking a lot about this whole "command" to humility.  Humility is an interesting characteristic.  It's something that can be hard to describe, but you know it when you see it.  Stop for a moment and consider it.  Do you know someone you would describe as "humble"?  I do.  When I hear the word I immediately think of my husband.  "Humble" fits.

Humility isn't something that can be very easily faked, though I think many try.  Truthfully that can be dangerous ground, the begging off of "oh, no, no, not me," often comes off as insincere.  The ability to deflect a compliment or encouragement is not the equivelant of humility. And yet, we are called to be humble.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Colossians 3:12

All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another...
1 Peter 5:5

If God has commanded it, surely He has equipped us for it, but it is no easy task.  The ego is alive and well, and for some of us, far to easily pricked. 

The key I suppose is following Jesus, acting like him:

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart...
Matthew 11:29

Learn from Jesus, but that accounts for the outside, right?  We can ACT like Jesus, do as He would do, but when I recognize true humility, it's in the person, not the actions. So how do we get there?

I guess it really does start with the actions. Paul gives us a little insight about where to begin:

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient,
bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:2

"Gentle", "patient", "bearing with one another in love" are all tightly stranded around humility. In my mind I picture someone with a little child, if it were me I would have to picture myself with someone else's little child (patient and gentle and bearing in love don't always pan out with my own kids, but there's a whole other blog post.)  But picture it, gently helping a small child or a crying baby-- it's a good word picture of humilty, and it lines right back up with the picture of Christ.  Remember when the apostles were trying to shoo away the children from Jesus, but He bent low and let them come, that's a picture that captures Christ in His humility.

But even if we DO like Christ, how do we become like Christ?  I'm honestly not certain, but I know it's critical that we as believers all figure it out. 

For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled,
and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Luke 14:11

God will exalt the humble, but those who are the opposite of humble will be brought low.  SCARY!!  What of those of us who find ourselves battling in the in between?  I may not be standing high (with my legs ready to be leveled out from underneath me) but I am surely, SURELY NOT humble like Christ. And even when my effort is concerted to ACT like Christ, it takes almost nothing to prick at the old ego-- And then comes the thoughts:

"How dare they..."

"I deserve better than..."

"Who do they think they are..."

"I don't have to take..."

POOF! There it goes, no matter what my ACTIONS might be at this point, true humility has exited the building... And I don't know about you, but that is a serious concren for me because...

Scripture says:“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
James 4:6

I want that favor!  I do NOT want God's opposition.  So I WANT to be humble, but it's such a battle to get there. 

I guess the bottom line is to act it till you live it. NOT fake it till you make it, but practice it until it becomes a reality.  You'll... I'll... have to battle those thoughts, take them down when they rise...

Respond to "how dare they" with an offer of grace.

Remind myself of how much I have that I DON'T deserve (hello grace?) when I think that I deserve better than what I'm getting.

Tell myself who "they" are when I feel offended by "their" actions (precious and loved by God, created in His image...)

And remember what was "taken" on my behalf and was truly undeserved. 

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Philippians 2:5-8

Hmmm... yeah. Well, that's humbling. 

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