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Humility

 

Without humility, we are hindered in the activity of believing and trusting. Without humility, it is impossible to be according to the Spirit. Humility is a pre-requisite to trusting. Humility is so critical and so closely linked to trust, that it is almost one in the same. You can try to believe and trust God, but if your heart is not humble, it will be impossible.

When my kids were smaller I used to play a game with them to teach them to trust. I would have them stand on the kitchen counter. I would require the child to jump to me and I would catch them. The trick was that I would stand just far enough away to make it a little uncomfortable for them to jump. I would tell them, “Trust Dad, I promise I’ll catch you.” With practice they learned to trust more in me than their natural awareness that they couldn’t make the jump.

Humility is when we learn not to trust in ourselves. A lack of humility is actually trusting in our own beliefs, opinions, and abilities. In any given moment we can change who it is we are trusting. When we are trusting in ourselves, we are not trusting God. Let’s dissect humility a little more and talk about how to humble ourselves so that we can trust God.

Let’s think of our heart as a cup or a container. It is a capacity. If you took a cup and filled it with sand, there would be less room or less capacity for it to be filled with water. The sand would be filling the cup instead of there being room for water to fill the cup. In order for the cup to be available for water to fill it, we must first empty the cup. The process of emptying the cup, is the process of humbling ourselves before God. After we have emptied our hearts of ourselves, then we have capacity and available space for God to fill us.

The Bible teaches us that we are to humble ourselves before God (James 4:10, I Pet. 5:6). What does it mean to be humble and how do we humble ourselves? How do we actually empty our cups?

Let’s look at Rev. 3:17. “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ – and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked…” Being rich is not necessarily having a lot of money. In whatever area we have abundance; we are rich in that particular thing.

We can be rich in knowledge. We can be rich in opinions. We can be rich in certain abilities and strengths, rich in certain possessions, security, physical strength, the ability to control, prestige, status, and position. When we feel our abundance and our ability in these areas we feel big, which is not humble. When we are trusting in these things, it is like sand taking up space in our hearts. Jesus said it is hard for the rich to enter the Kingdom. When we are rich, we feel as if we have need of nothing.

Humbling ourselves is simply emptying the riches in our heart and then believing what is true. The truth is this: apart from God you are miserable, wretched, poor, blind, and naked. That is a fact. But we don’t always feel like we are in this condition.

The things we feel rich in are masking our true condition from us. Riches are an illusion. They clothe us with an artificial feeling of not being empty, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. But in reality, we all are in this condition. To humble yourself, you must turn from your riches and face reality. Forsake the things you take comfort in. Reject the things you have put your trust in to clothe you.

Do you have status at work that makes you feel big, in control and on top of things? Confess it to God, forsake it and hate it. Do you have a retirement account you’ve been counting on to make you feel secure? It’s false. God could blow it away in an instant. Forsake the money you have in the bank. Turn away from it. Detach yourself from it and hate it. Daily before God and at His feet, lay down all of your possessions, homes, cars, education, strengths, opinions, money, and abilities. These things have been tricking you and lying to you, making you think that they are taking care of you on some level. Face the music that you are absolutely and completely sick. You are perverted. Your thinking is flawed and you’re opinions are mostly worthless (only your flesh would be offended by such statements). You are selfish. You constantly scheme and plan contrary to God’s ways. You have no power in yourself to do anything right. Even what you’ve thought you’ve accomplished in your life was God’s mercy toward you. You are incapable. You are without any power, any control, and you have no rights. You deserve hell and nothing less. In short, you are “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.”

 
Only the Small Can Enter In
 

If you choose well by not fighting or resisting the truth about yourself, you will begin the humbling process. As you face the truth and get into reality about what you are like (not in your head only but in your heart as well), you will begin to feel very small. This is healthy and correct. Now you are a candidate for the Kingdom of God. The more honest you are and the smaller you become, the more primed you are to trust, believe, and receive something.

In Luke 15:11-32 we read of a story of two sons. The younger son asks his father to give him the money from his father’s estate that is due him. The son goes to a distant country and parties all the money away that his father just gave him. After he spends all the money, it says in verse 14 that “he began to be in want.” Some translations say that he began to “be in need”.

The effect or result of humility is that you feel your need. Life’s circumstances can humble us. Or, we can humble ourselves. It is better that we humble ourselves on a daily basis than we wait for God to have to humble us through the circumstances of life, although some of this will come our way no matter what.

The parable of the lost son is one in a series the Lord gives in Luke that describe things or people that are lost. In this place in Luke, we also read of the lost coin and the lost sheep. The point is that before we can be found, we have to be lost. Some people have interpreted these parables to only refer to those who have not been born again and are not Christians. Although it is true that those who have never met Christ are lost, it is also true that if we as Christians are not humble and trustingly dependant on God (in any given moment), we are lost during those moments as well (I am not saying we’ve lost our salvation). We can frequently lose our way by becoming independent from God. We must find our way back to reality and sanity by humbling ourselves and trusting God again from the heart.

 
When You Can’t Connect With God
 

If during your attempts to believe and trust God, you keep bumping into resistance, or if you are unable to let down into experiencing the Lord, there is a good chance you are not humble. There is a strong possibility that you are not very hungry or thirsty, which are both signs of humility. Feeling needy like the lost son is a place we never leave. Face reality again and humble yourself before the Lord. As you begin to feel unclothed and without, your need and your hunger will come up for God. You then will be much more suitable for the Kingdom.

There is a huge lack of humility in the church today. A lot of it is due to the very rich culture we have here in the West. Most of the time we are all very clothed and in need of nothing. There is hardness, arrogance, and aloofness in many American people. I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to spend time with people from different countries and cultures. I‘ve been with people who live in remote villages in the interior of Mexico, students from Asia and Africa, people from Nepal, India, and refugees from Bhutan. Although not true in every case, most people from less developed countries have far less hardness of heart. Here in the U.S. we are very confident and we don’t even recognize it most of the time. Pray that God would show you your self trusting heart.

I know it’s been mentioned in other places, but it is critical that you practice becoming very small in God’s presence. Become so small that you are like a tiny speck compared to the ocean of God. Allow yourself to become so small that you become lost in the great sea of His love. As you do this, it will help you to see Him and only Him. You want to get to the place in your time with God that you are so extremely small and God is so big – that you totally forget about yourself. The less “self- aware” you are, the more trusting you become.

The fleshly heart is full of itself. We walk around for days and days with hard and proud hearts. We are filled with ourselves in many ways. We are full of our own opinions, full of our own thoughts, and full of our own wants and desires. We even have many thoughts about God and strong opinions about the things of God. Most of the time, this is still us being filled with ourselves. We must die completely and thoroughly in order to experience and know the intimacy of the Lord. Everything of self must die off when we humble ourselves.

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