Have you ever met a person who obviously had an exalted opinion of themselves? How did it make you feel?
I can remember one such occasion in my life. A couple was trying to get us involved in a commercial endeavor. They came to our home and spent the night. I felt that they were looking down on us the whole time they were there. They obviously didn’t have a very high opinion of our home, although my husband and I loved it. I was shown pictures of their home – with a dining table loaded with a huge bouquet. The woman was obviously very proud of that, but I thought was hideous. (I kept that to myself!!) They made remarks indicating that they pitied my husband because he was still working and that I was working. We just needed to come on board with them and soon we could be on a level with them!!
In Matthew 18, Jesus called a little child to himself and said, “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” The word “humble” here means “to have a modest opinion of one’s self, unassuming; devoid of haughtiness.” Little children don’t go around comparing themselves to each other or thinking they are someone great. They are just who they are, and accept everyone; have a high opinion of everyone. James 4:10 says “Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up.” “Lift up” means “exalt, raise to dignity, honor and happiness.” How much better to let the Lord exalt us than to do the exalting ourselves.
1 Peter 5:5-6: “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s might hand that he may lift you up in due time.”
So, how do we get humility? Matthew 11:28-29: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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.” Jesus is the best example of humility. He was God’s son, yet he lived the life of a lowly carpenter. He didn’t think he was too great to fellowship with common people, to walk among them and even dine in their homes. Learn from him.
Paul wrote to the Ephesians from prison: “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” Walking in humility will lead to unity, a commodity the world is sadly lacking in our time. But, we, the Church, should set a different example than what we see going on in the world around us.
Unity begins with Humility. Lord, give us a big dose of that!!