Paul was led to prophesy nearly two thousand years ago, that in
our age, the last days before the return of Christ and the new
age of the Kingdom of God on earth, HUMILITY would be a rare gem.
"For people will be.....PROUD, ARROGANT AND CONTEMPTUOUS
BOASTERS.....INFLATED WITH SELFCONCEIT....." (2 Timothy 3:1-
4; Amplified Bible).
We have had, and still have, those who lead nations of
various political groups, who do nothing but boast of their
greatness. These are individuals who are inflated with conceit
about what they would do IF in a position of power. On the other
hand, those that already are in powerful positions brag of the
great things they and their political party have done for the
benefit of their nation and mankind.
We have had, in the past, those who shout and threaten to
annihilate others in war. Unfortunately, these individuals are
still with us.
We have those with earthly riches who are arrogant and
domineering toward those with few earthly riches. Then we have
those that are poor in material goods being proud and
contemptuous of the rich.
There have been, and no doubt will be again, those in the
world of sports who claim "I'm the greatest" and time proves they
were not so great after all! Yes, and even in the place that you
would least expect to find it - RELIGION - there's PRIDE and
CONCEIT RAISING its INFLATED HEAD. Some religious leaders of
different denominations feel they must always be in the limelight
of their church papers, magazines, news letters, etc. Many
individuals think they are indispensable, no matter how old they
are and there is no one else that can preach, teach, or broadcast
like themselves! We could go on relating examples to the opposite
of HUMILITY, which is evident in our society today. Truly the
genuine gem of HUMILITY is a rare jewel.
In the WORLD BOOK DICTIONARY the word HUMBLE is defined as
"...having or showing a feeling that one is unimportant, weak,
poor, etc...modest in spirit, not proud, deeply or courteously
respectful...without wrongful pride in oneself or in
EXAMPLES OF HUMILITY
There was a man who had great wealth, notoriety and
prestige. He treated his servants very well. He helped the poor
and needy. He gave to widows and orphans in his realm. He was not
obsessed with his wealth or position and he was true to his wife
in body and mind. Idolatry was not a part of his worship. This
man had no hatred for anyone, including his enemies. He shared
his home with travellers and was known for his hospitality. All
of these accomplishments and more were this man's badge, and if
any man deserved to be proud and boastful, it was this man. And
that was his weakness. He was CONCEITED and SELFRIGHTEOUS. His
name was Job. Read the narrative in Job chapter 31 and 32:1.
Finally, the Lord spoke to Job and brought him to see that
even with all his abilities and good deeds, he was nothing
compared to the Almighty. (Read Job 38 through 41). Humility
became a part of Job's character when he uttered these words,
"Therefore (I now see) I have (rashly) uttered what I did not
know...I had heard of you (only) by the hearing of the ear; but
now my (spiritual) eye sees you. Therefore I loathe (my words)
and abhor myself, and repent in sackcloth and ashes" (Job
It took some drastic measures on God's part (by allowing
Satan to do some painful things to Job) to bring Job to true
REPENTANCE and HUMILITY. I guess God could have used another
method, but for whatever reason He chose the ones He did. Human
nature is such that many, it seems, have to be brought low before
HUMILITY is their own experience. With many who are brought low,
we find PRIDE and CONCEIT a big part of their personality too. So
the proverb, "PRIDE GOES BEFORE DESTRUCTION, AND A HAUGHTY SPIRIT
BEFORE A FALL" (Proverbs 16:18) becomes a reality.
On the other hand, true honor usually comes only to those
who have exhibited a humble spirit. For example, the great
statesman, Sr.Winston Churchill (who inspired the Allies during
World War 2) found himself ridiculed, derided and made a
political exile in his own country. All because he dared to warn
his country that Hitler was out to conquer the world. It was not
until war broke out that Mr.Churchill was honored by being
called to lead the British nation against Hitler. The proverb
says, "...before honer is HUMILITY" (Proverbs 18:12).
A person with true humility will exhibit the quality of
character that acknowledges areas of weakness in his/her own
abilities. When Moses was called of God from the burning bush to
lead Israel out of Egypt, he did not answer by saying he was
great and that the Lord had made a wise choice in choosing him.
No, Moses humbly came before his Creator, confessing the weak
areas of his character; public speaking with eloquence was not
one of his gifts! (See Exodus 3:10-11 & Exodus 4:10). Moses went
down in history as one of the greatest men, and it is recorded of
him in Numbers 12:3, "Now the man Moses was very meek (humble)
above all the men which were upon the face of the earth."
The great prophet Isaiah when called to prophesy against
Israel and other nations, immediately saw his sins and weakness
of character and confessed them (Isa. 6:1-7).
Jeremiah also humbly said he was too young, to immature to
The man God used to write more of the New Testament than any
other author was Paul. He wrote, "For I am less than the least of
all saints..." (I Cor.15:9; Eph.3:8). Paul's weakness and sins
(though under the blood of Jesus) kept him constantly HUMBLE as
he reflected on his life.
How many of those that God has used to speak and do his work
still remain humble, even though they have experienced success,
at least as the world defines success? (It is difficult to remain
humble and not become proud and egotistical when men give you
acclaim). Only the resurrection and history will tell.
When John the Baptist (whom Jesus said was fulfilling the
prophecy of Elijah to come, Mt.17:11-13, and that none among men
had risen who was greater Mt.11:11) was asked if he was Elijah,
or the Christ, or a great prophet, he answered, "I am the voice
of one crying in the wilderness. Make straight the way of the
Lord, as said the prophet Esaias..." (Jn.1:19-27). Although John
must have been told of the manifestations of God to his parents
concerning his birth; although he must have known as a boy and
a young man that he was destined for a great commission to
Israel, still he remained humble. His is one of the greatest
examples of true HUMILITY in the entire Bible.
HUMILITY IS TEACHABLE
Another characteristic that exhibits itself in those that
have the gem of humility in their crown, is the ability to accept
and to seek counsel from others. Humility knows the wise truth of
the proverb that says, "in the multitude of counsellors there is
safety" (Prov. 11 :14) .
Notice how the meek man Moses was able to accept the wise
counsel of his father-in-law (Exodus 18:13-27). He not only
accepted it, he acted on it.
This example brings us to the realization that no one man is
an island unto himself. It is a true saying that there is
strength in numbers. A truly humble person will acknowledge that
he is not the sum total of all wisdom, knowledge and
understanding. That he can only do so much, spread himself just
so thin, before he becomes a shattered physical wreck.
A meek and humble person will realize that others have God
given talents and abilltles, and will be delighted to use these
attributes to enhance the whole. He will be glad to delegate
responsibility and share the betterment of the whole. He will
show trust and confidence in them (not forever looking over their
shoulder) but always there to strengthen and assist when needed.
Again, read Moses' example in Exodus 18, where he chose able men
to help him govern Israel.
HUMILITIES GREATEST TEST
Perhaps the greatest test for anyone in exhibiting humility
(a test that many, who have enjoyed the acclaim of others while
in a position of authority, fail) is to humbly step aside in
favor of another person or group. This is the crucial test.
Many gifted and talented people in various walks of life
have humbled themselves in all facets of physical living except
this one area - a willingness to relinquish power and control.
They always must be in control and make the final decision or
veto the decisions of others, thus keeping themselves as the
supreme and only authority. The failure of not passing this final
test means they have not been able to achieve total or GODLY
Elijah was a man powerfully used by the Lord, not only in
preaching and warning, but also in performing great physical
miracles (I Kings 17:18; 21:17-29 and 2 Kings 1:1-17). But the
day came when God decided that Elijah's work should be given to
another. It was time for him to step aside, to no longer be in
the forefront of fame and glory. He was to relinquish his hold of
power and authority. Elijah was given the ultimate test and he
passed with flying colors (2 Kings 2:1-18). This is one of the
reasons Elijah and Moses (two of the most humble men in history)
were in vision at the transfiguration of Christ (Mt.17:1-13).
Those individuals that will be in the first resurrection, at
the return of Christ, will also exhibit like Moses, Elijah and
others, a humble God-like spirit. They will be the ones who will
be willing to follow the greatest example of humility to ever be
exhibited, our LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST. He, who had all
perfection, glory and power, was, next to the Father in
GREATNESS. He of whom it is written, "...He, who had always been
God by nature, did not cling to his privileges as God's equal,
but stripped himself of every advantage by consenting to be a
slave and to be born a man. And plainly seen as a human being, he
HUMBLED himself by living a life of utter obedience, to the point
of death. And the death he died was a death of a common criminal.
That is why God has now lifted him to heights, and has given him
the name beyond all names. So that at the name of JESUS 'every
knee shall bow', whether in heaven or earth or under the earth.
And that is why every tongue shall confess that JESUS CHRIST is
LORD, to the glory of God the FATHER" (Phil.2:6-11, Phililps
translation, emphasis mine).
Truly, before praise must come HUMILITY!
HUMILITY IN SERVICE
If there is anyone who is reading these words and is seeking
for personal greatness in the eyes of mankind, whether it be in
the field of politics, finance, economics, science, sports, or
even religion, let him take to heart the admonition of Jesus in
Matt.20:25-28, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles rule it
over them, and their great men hold them in subjection,
tyrannizing over them. Not so shall it be among you; but whoever
wishes to be GREAT among you must be your servant. And whoever
desires to be first among you must be your slave, just as the Son
of man came not to be waited on but to serve, and to give His
life as a ransom for many..." (Amplified Bible, emphasis mine).
One of the main ingredients in HUMILITY is service to
others. This calibre of humility comes at great cost. It is the
epitome of a laid-down life, poured out, lived out on behalf of
others. Yes, it costs a great deal to experience and know true
humility. For most people it's a price that is prohibitive; they
simply will not pay it!
THE MEEK ARE NOT WEAK
Phillip Keller in his book "A Gardener Looks at the Fruits
of the Spirit" as stated it well:
The humble person is a gracious, congenial individual who is
easy to get along with. These good natured souls win friends
on every side because they refuse to shove, push, and throw
their weight around, they don't win their wars with brutal
battles and fierce fights. They win their way into hundreds
of hearts and homes with the passport of a lovely, loving
spirit. But this quality of life does not come from a
position of feeble impotence but rather from a tremendous
inner strength and serenity. Only the strong, stable spirit
can afford to be gentle.
Moses was, in many ways, a powerful, strong man, yet he was
the humblest of all men during his day.
Jesus Christ was the perfection of humility, yet He was by
no means a weak individual. Notice how He dealt with those who
misused the TEMPLE of God (Jn.2:13-17) and how, on occasions, He
answered the hypocritical religious leaders of His time (Mt.23).
Jesus is the center of Christianity - He set us the complete
example (I Peter 2:21) for us to follow. And as Phillip Keller,
in his book "A GARDENER LOOKS AT THE FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT" so
aptly put it on page 68, "Unless we keep clearly in view the
life and the character of Christ we will succumb to the eternal
temptation of living like our contemporaries, giving tit for tat,
insisting on our rights, demanding our pound of flesh, stepping
on anyone who trespasses against us, while all the time pushing
for PROMINENCE AND RECOGNITION. This is the world's way; Christ
calls us to tread in His footsteps. He tells us to deny ourselves
daily (give up our right to ourselves). He asks us to take up our
cross continuously (that which cuts diametrically across my
selfish interest), crossing out the great "I" in my life to
produce peace. None of this is very appealing. It goes against
the grain of our old nature. It is not a bit glamorous or
romantic" (emphasis mine).
THE BENEFITS OF HUMBLENESS
Humility has a basic fruitage of three fantastic benefits.
They could not be stated any better than Mr.P.Keller does in
his aforementioned book, I quote from pages 169 and 170:
1) "Humility is the only seedbed from which faith can
spring...in brokenness and contrition the humble person cries out
to God for help. He reaches out to Christ for restoration and
healing. He exercises faith in another because he knows he must
touch someone greater than himself.
2) It is to such souls that God gives Himself gladly, freely. He
draws near to those that draw near to Him. He delights to dwell
with those of a broken and contrite spirit. 'The Lord is nigh
unto them that are of a broken and contrite heart; and saves such
as be of a contrite (meek) spirit' (Ps.34:18)...in vivid and
shattering contrast we are warned explicitly that God actually
RESISTS the PROUD. He does not just tolerate or indulge arrogant
souls. He actually opposes them actively. This is a terrifying
truth that should make any self-centered, haughty individual
tremble (James 4:4-10).
3) In contrast to this, the third amazing reality about humility
is the impact it makes on our fellowman. It is the genuinely
humble, gentle soul who wins friends and draws around him a
circle of loving associates. This quality of life draws others as
surely as nectar in a blossom draws bees. The gentle genial
person is the recipient of affection. People bestow on him their
blessings. He is lavished with love and surrounded with
compassion. The proud, arrogant, haughty person has few friends,
if any. He stands upon his little pedestal of pride in grim and
gaunt loneliness. Others leave him alone. They ignore him
deliberately. If he is so independent, let him live his own Life;
let him go his own way; let him suffer the agony of his own
I will add one more benefit of HUMILITY, in fact. the
greatest benefit of all.
Those who humble themselves now, under the mighty hand of
God, will be exalted in due time and inherit everlasting GLORY as
a child of the Father in His Kingdom.
"By HUMILITY and fear of the Lord are RICHES, AND HONER, AND
LlFE" (Proverbs 22:4).
Written in 1982
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