“He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way.” Psalm 25:13
“Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29
“For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Matthew 23:12
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2
“Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.” James 4:10
I was a middle class American girl growing up in the seventies, third of four children, during the height of the women’s liberation movement. I am a product of Title IX: played sports on the boys teams and competed regularly with girls 4-6 years older while in middle school. I was a fan of Wonder Woman (life-size poster on my wall), the Bionic Woman, Batman and Superman. I learned to stand up, look people in the eye, shake hands firmly, and speak up. I learned to defend myself and others when attacked. I believed that if I ran fast enough I could fly – which I tried to do more than once. Respect, fair play, honesty, hard work: these I understood. But humility? Humility felt more like uncertainty and was not something I embraced.
Now? I’m far from my athletic beginnings. I have tripped and fallen down many many more times than I have flown. The older I get the clearer I see my humanity and fallen nature. Ah, now I’m getting somewhere! Perhaps that’s why, “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness.” Proverbs 16:31
I cannot remember a time when I did not want to know God and be with Him. It is only in recent years that I have begun to grow from wanting and knowing God to understanding just how desperately I need Him. This is the low doorway of humility leading to God: to everything that God says about Himself but we have never experienced. Desperation and need compel us to our knees before the Lord, we are humbled, and God Himself comes and lifts us up.
It’s important to note that my desperation and need were not the result of dire circumstances, but God’s grace leading me through daily circumstances to the place where I am starting to realize that I am done with myself. Getting to the end of ourselves – our abilities, our work, our gifts, our resources, our strength – is the work of God; and it is here that we meet God. For, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Proverbs 3:34
Salvation is all, always, and ever will be, gift; and has never been, nor can it be, the result of anything we have done. As Paul writes in Romans 4, “to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness.” Jesus said in John 6, “The work of God is this, to believe the One He has sent.”
Mother Teresa, who knew a thing or two about humility, said, “If you are really humble, if you realize how small you are and how much you need God, then you cannot fail.” Why? Because we have entrusted everything to the Lord, and God’s will will be done.
“For the Lord takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with victory.” Psalm 149:4
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5