Lesson 6 - Growing Closer to God Through Humility

Being humble is a way to acknowledge God's preeminence in our lives. As His creation we understand that He is over us, so being humble toward God may not be difficult. However we may stumble when we compare ourselves to those around us. This humility is shown in many ways. Here are a few to consider:

- Admitting that we don't have all the answers. Often a nonbeliever will challenge your faith by trying to come up with questions you can't answer. These are usually "what if" type questions that would rarely present themselves in reality. A humble Christian knows we were not given all the answer to everything. There are times we have to rely on God's wisdom and loving nature to have our best interests in mind.

- Being willing to accept that pain exists in the world. Most of this pain can be understood better when we accept that our sin causes much of it. However there are some painful situations in life that we must endure because we are humble enough to know that God will see us through.

- By knowing there are those who do not have the blessing we have, and having the heart to help them. Our gifts are from God and the humble a Christian is willing to share whatever he/she has been given.

- Knowing that at time you may need help, and should be humble enough to accept it. A person who will not accept help is as wrong as one who could help but will not. When you refuse help you are robbing someone of the blessing of giving!

The Fine Line of Humility
Too often we view self-deprecation as humility. This is not the case! I heard a very interesting definition of humility: "Being humble is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself less." This sums up the heart of a humble person very well. We are all God's creation, and therefore have tremendous value. Ephesians 2:10 says we are the workmanship of God. We are designed for the purpose of glorifying God so we are indeed special. It is fine to be proud of your faith, your place as God's child, and knowing you are saved. It also acceptable to find satisfaction in other areas of our lives like our family and their accomplishments, working hard and doing well in your career/school, having a safe and comfortable home, etc. The challenges arise when we no longer reflect God's glory and instead begin to rely on our own. When we begin to take credit for what we have done, instead of giving Him the proper place of prominence we will be guilty of having a prideful attitude.

Growing Closer to God Through Humility

James 4:1-5
1 What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is the source not your pleasures that wage war in your body's parts? 2 You lust and do not have, so you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives, so that you may spend what you request on your pleasures. 4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you think that the Scripture says to no purpose, "He jealously desires the Spirit whom He has made to dwell in us"?

Wow! I love the common sense reasoning used here. Where do wars come from? Pride. What about lust? Pride. How about murder? Pride? Most every sin is preceded by pride (1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.). Humility brings peace. This passage also mentions what we spoke about earlier. We do not ask when we need something, so we don't receive it. Be humble enough to ask for help. It also warns against asking for help and spending it on pleasures. Many people will not give to the needy because they perceive a culture that will use that money in an unwise way. When people misuse gifts it puts them at enmity (actively opposed or hostile toward) with God.

James 4:6
6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble."

Romans 8:31 tells us that if God is for us, no one can stand against us. Verse 6 above says the opposite if we are prideful, He will resist us. I can not think of a worse situation in which to be than being resisted by God. If we are in this situation everything in our life will be a struggle. It really is as simple as picking the right team to join. You can be on God's team who has great plans that will be achieved through discipline, work, and submissions. Members of God's team know their role and their place. They work out of the best interests of the team and not themselves (Philippians. 2:3-5). Or you can chose, or be chosen by, the team that seems so much less difficult but whose end is death and suffering.

Philippians 2:3-5
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus

James 4:7-10
7 Submit therefore to God. But resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come close to God and He will come close to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. 9 Be miserable, and mourn, and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.

Finally verses 7-10 tell us there is hope. God is ready to help the humble because humility creates a people who are ready and able to fulfill his will. He wants us to be successful and wants what is best for us. The blessings He gives us should make us sing (get it, verse 10 is a song)!

1 Peter 3:8-9
To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, loving, compassionate, and humble; 9 not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you would inherit a blessing.