The High Value of Humility
I long for God to speak to me clearly, don’t you? I sometimes wonder why hearing God is so difficult. More like fragmented pieces of a puzzle than the whole picture. More like a riddle I’m required to solve than a clear message to follow. Sometimes it feels like God is letting my call go to voicemail rather than sitting next to me as my Friend or my Father and talking with me.
“Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth…he [God] said, ‘Listen to my words: When a prophet of the Lord is among you, I reveal myself in visions, I speak to him in dreams. But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house. With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the Lord.'” (Numbers 12:3,6-8a)
God spoke to Moses like that. He sat with him as a friend, face to face. I find this beyond fascinating. More than once, I’ve read that scripture and pondered the phrase “a very humble man, more humble than anyone on the face of the earth.” I think that may be a clue as to why God spoke to Moses so intimately; but to me, His voice is still foggy and muted.
One thing I’m coming to understand in my ongoing pursuit to hear God more clearly is the high value God places on humility.
“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6)
While I’m excited for the insight, I’m not encouraged about what that means for me. You see, me thinks I may have a slight pride problem. You chuckle, but this is actually news to me. I mean, I know I have a lot of issues, but I never thought pride was one of them.
(The irony of this is not lost on me.)
I guess I’ve always used the words “pride” and “arrogance” interchangeably. And by that definition, I wasn’t prideful. I didn’t brag about myself or enter a room and take over every conversation. I didn’t think I was super-amazing and better than you. Whenever I heard sermons on pride or read scriptures about pride, I thought of other people who needed them. Not me.
Yet, the more I pursue God and ask Him to reveal His voice to me, the more God pursues my pride and reveals my heart to me.
Sometimes, He reveals something to me quietly and privately through a sermon or a book. I like when He does this, because it only stings a little and I can work on it without anyone knowing. But the thing about pride is that I don’t always see it in myself unless the situation involves other people and my embarrassment.
It’s difficult. I hate it, actually. It feels like part of me is dying. But it’s the only way to kill pride.
“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2)
Over the last few years, God has shown me how much of what I think, say and do is rooted in pride.
My irritabilty, impatience and short-temper = pride
My need to incessantly plan and control my life = pride.
My confidence in my own ability to handle whatever life throws at me = pride.
My need to defend myself until I am, at the very least, justified and, at the very most, completely understood = pride.
My strong opinions about other people, their parenting techniques, religious beliefs, music preferences, spending habits, grocery cart contents, exercise plans, hair color, blah, blah, blah,pride, pride, pride.
“It is in the death of self that humility is perfected.” ~Andrew Murray
I want to hear my God when He speaks to me. I sincerely want to be purged of anything that hinders this line of communication. And if that means I stay right here, purging the gunk out of my prideful heart for the rest of my days, then so be it. I’m learning more and more what true humility looks like. And it looks a lot like Jesus. Exactly like Jesus, actually. And not very much like Sandy.
I’m learning that I don’t have to have it all together, hold it all together or keep it all together. God wants to do that through me.
I’m learning that despite the fact that I’ve had a great life so far, I really can’t take any credit for it. God chose my family, my birthplace and my DNA. Not to mention the fact that He set my beating heart in motion and keeps my brainwaves waving. I don’t have anything to do with that. I didn’t take that last breath on my own. Or that one. Or that one…
I’m learning that I really do have a lot of weaknesses, and God is okay with that. In fact, He’s been waiting a long time for me to realize how weak I truly am so that His strength can be perfected in me and His power can rest upon me.
I’m learning that God wants me to run after Him with every ounce of energy I have. Total abandon. Radical obedience. He wants me to use every good and perfect gift He has given me for His glory and for the advancement of His kingdom.
And at the end of the day, all God really wants from me is complete and total dependence on Him. For the breath. For the strength. For the wisdom to do what He created me to do.
That’s true humility. And that, my friend, will open our ears to the voice of the One who longs to speak to us.
“This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2)
Updated and reprinted from the archives
Ben Franklin on humility…”If even I could conceive that had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.”
This comment has been removed by the author.
oops- sorry about that- as you can probably guess- i am new to this.
i just wanted you to know that i was really blessed by your post on humility and that you are such a gifted communicator!
“I’m learning that I really do have a lot of weakness and God is OK with that…” This paragraph got me. Brought me to tears actually. Thank you for letting God speak to me through you. I always see my weakness as something to ask for forgiveness for and feel sorry for. I will look differently at it now. Love YOU!
Very beautiful blog and post.
I live not too far from you….I’m just up the interstate (I65 that is) in Indiana.
We used to live in Louie when hubby was in seminary there. Love that city.
Go there every chance we get.
Glad I found ya.
Stopped by from Lysa’s.
Great message. Pride is the root of a lot of things we don’t think of. I want God to speak clearly to me as well.
Thanks for sharing.
Great words and just what I needed to be reminded of today. Your post really blessed me!