by Kim McDougal
But he gives more grace; therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” -James 4:7 RSV
I’ve heard many people tell me that being humble is a sign of weakness, but I beg to differ. Think about this…how easy is it for us to turn to anger when someone upsets or hurts us? How easy is it to instantly forgive them? I admit that I have trouble with both anger and forgiveness. It’s something I constantly have to work at. So, how is it a weakness when the easy way out to go off on somebody, take revenge, or try to teach that person a lesson? I’m making a choice to let God handle my injustices. And in turn for letting Him deal with my anger and hurts, He gives me freedom! TOTAL FREEDOM! I don’t have to walk around bitter and angry. I don’t have to take on a victim’s attitude. I don’t have to let my hurts overcome me. That’s power folks, real Godly power!!
So what does being humble truly mean? It’s lifting others up before oneself. The humble person doesn’t go around proud or boastful and this doesn’t mean they suffer with low self-esteem either. Humility is something that happens in the heart of a child of God. We can’t show humility of our own strength because our human nature defaults to our fallen emotions. This is why we need the Lord’s power and grace. It is He that gives us of Himself to help us live the way we should.
Personally, I’m drawn to people who do not exalt themselves up or even talk a lot about their accomplishments. False pride, I say “false pride” because there’s nothing wrong with feeling proud of things you’ve done, but false pride is more like boastfulness which is apart from God…these emotions puff themselves up above God. Take an example from the Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus’ day. These religious leaders took pride in knowing the law and quoting from it. But, they were far from humble, they relied on their own accomplishments. They even thought they knew more than Jesus and it was Jesus who wrote the law!
I found this really good definition of humility from an article, “What Does God Say About Humility.” “Humility is submitting ourselves to the will of God and obeying Him. Humility is expressed as believing what God says and doing what He asks. It is an attitude of the heart that naturally recognizes that we are lower than God and owe our lives to Him. We learn about humility from studying the words and actions of Jesus Christ, the only perfectly humble person who ever lived. Finally, we have to resign ourselves to the fact that developing and maintaining a humble heart takes constant work and great courage. If we are not careful, our sin nature will rise up within us and produce pride and an entitlement attitude that will then be quickly followed by greed, anger, gossip, and other such sins. Also if we are not careful, our courage will give way to fear, and we will submit to it and not to God, and act in ways that do not bring the honor and glory to God that He deserves. Yes, it is hard to be humble, but God deserves it, so as Paul wrote, “…we make it our goal to please him…” (2 Cor. 5:9).” – excerpt from Truth or Tradition?
If we are going to walk in this life successfully, then we have to follow the example of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ as He set the example of humility.