“Humility is the fear of The Lord; its wages are riches, honor, and life.” Proverbs 22:4
I missed the mark again. Every morning, I strive to get up with the sun, open my Bible, and spend some quality time with my Father before the morning madness begins. I try to have my coffee pot programmed, ready to brew by 6:00 am. Every day presents a new opportunity for me to “get it right.” This season is one of constant busyness- I am a homeschooling mom, college student with deadlines, and I have several ministry obligations. I hardly ever make the mark. My quiet time is mostly sandwiched between phone calls, ministry meetings, and nap times. Bible study, an area in which I have carried so much pride in years past, is now a place that keeps me humble. Even if I were to “get it right” and woke up every day, on time and ready to sit at God’s feet, my sins would still be piled up like last week’s laundry. Humility is understanding that we don’t measure up and that is okay. It’s okay because Jesus does. He measures up for us.
Scripture continues to call us to humility. Being humble is the proper approach to the Throne of Grace, but why is humility so hard?
Maybe humbling ourselves is difficult because it usually means that we are going to be exposed in a less favorable light. When we humble ourselves, we acknowledge our sin. Sin is ugly and not something we usually want to have out in the open.
In Jennie Allen’s book, Proven, she addresses the issue of humility beautifully. She describes her experience of being humbled. She says “In my experience, the word humility usually involves a bit of humiliation. Every time that I am honest about my struggles and honest about my sin and honest about my pride and honest about the mistakes that I’ve made and honest about the sin in my soul, I find it humiliating. I let that humiliation flood over me. It leads to repentance. Followed by forgiveness. The shame that I’d been feeling that inevitably had affected me and everyone around me is washed away by waves of grace. This grace brings connection again. It is a deep, honest, sincere in-my-soul kind of connection with God, because I need Him again and I’m close to Him again and we’re right.”
When I think about my own humility, and subsequent humiliation, I feel convicted to acknowledge the grace that is infused by The Almighty. None of us can boast of anything. Johnathan Edwards, one of my favorite early American theologians says it best – “You contribute nothing to your own salvation except the sin that made it necessary.”
God, great in mercy, sweeps through and reassures me that Jesus “binds up the broken hearted” and I am reminded of the proper stance before God. I am made keenly aware of the vast expanse between my sins and His holiness. He calls for my humility. Not the self-deprecating humility that is false, but a proper understanding of how empty and full of darkness that I am without His presence.
How do we approach being humble, even if it means that we might be humiliated?
We have to realize that there is nothing that we bring to the table when it comes to our salvation, except sin. We don’t bring our works, our good deeds, any second-hand faith from our family or childhood, and certainly not our own righteousness. We do not approach God with our mile-long list of accomplishments or check-lists with marked off items of all of the things we have done well. We have nothing to boast about. We can only boast in Jesus. It is this fundamental understanding that fuels our humility.
Let us run forward, in spite of our pain, humiliation, or our need to control, to draw ourselves nearer to our Creator, our Savior, and the Spirit of God- the breath of life inside us.
Megan Brown is a military missionary, homeschooling mother of four, theology student, and Christian author. She is passionate about equipping women to approach God’s Word with confidence, build fellowship that endures, and to make disciples that make disciples. As a military spouse, she views the active duty lifestyle as a way to perpetually live on mission for Christ. As a U.S. Air Force Branch Coach for IF: Military, Megan raises up leaders within the military community to carry God’s redemptive story of Jesus to the four corners. Connect with Megan at www.meganbbrown.com and learn more about IF:Military here.