Pride goeth before a fall
The Bible declares that a man’s pride will bring him low, but honor will uphold the humble in spirit (Proverbs 29:23). Those who do not rid themselves of pride play right into the devil’s hands.
“Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you” (Ezekiel 28:17). Lucifer’s beauty caused his fall.
Why is humility important?
To enter God’s presence, we must come humbly to His throne (1 Peter 5:5).
The meek shall inherit the earth (Matt.5:6).
The proud are cast down and will be humbled (James 4:10).
When we are humbled or even when we suffer, we need to remember we will ultimately reign with Christ (2 Timothy 2:12).
Jesus even humbled Himself, therefore we should also have the mind of humility (Philippians 2:5-11).
- Never ask God to humble you, but rather humble yourself under His mighty hand so that He may exalt you in due season (1 Peter 5:6).
— Bob McClain, Living By Faith Ministry, Oxford
Humility is a deliberate practice
Throughout scripture, we find God in solidarity with the oppressed, calling their oppressors to greater fairness and kindness. One practicing true humility cannot be an oppressor.
Theologian Kelly Brown Douglas describes humility as “dethroning ourselves from the center of the world so that we can see others, be for others, and thus, see God and be for and with God.” This differs from common understandings of humility as having a low view of oneself or being a doormat. When we practice humility, we lift up all persons as children of God, including ourselves.
Humility is a spiritual practice. One does not arrive at humility, rather it is a quality we may increasingly incorporate into our lives. A beginning step is to listen to the thoughts, experiences and struggles of others. Asking sincere questions and imagining what it would be like to “walk a mile in another’s shoes” while listening will help us be compassionate.
Taking inventory of our own strengths, weaknesses, prejudices and struggles can help us act with humility and contribute to healthy and honest relationships. Of particular importance is an appraisal of how power functions in our relationships. Seeking the upper hand and practicing humility are at odds with one another.
Every day we have an opportunity to look to God in wonder and reverence — at the love, grace and beautiful creation offered to us. Let us accept these gifts with humility.
— Lesley Ann Earles, First Presbyterian Church, Jacksonville