Humility has run upon hard times. While the world may offer a polite golf applause to the virtue in its abstract from, true humility in action is often written off as weakness or passivity, if it is even noticed at all.
Within Christian circles, while humility is deeply desired, it is rarely cultivated. When pressed, most of us would admit that when we say we want humility, we really want a humility we can be proud of, which isn’t humility at all.
Moses won the title of the most humble human on the face of the earth, Jesus excepted, of course. Numbers 12:3 records that “Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.”
Perhaps the secret of Moses’ humility lies in the fact that He literally spoke face to face with God Himself. When God rebukes Aaron and Miriam, Moses’ family, for mutinous, prideful thoughts against Moses, their leader, He says the following of Moses.
“When there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, reveal myself to them in visions, I speak to them 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 12:6-8).
Moses saw the Lord clearly, which means that Moses saw himself clearly. While we are not offered the chance to look at God face to face in the way that Moses did, we do have the advantage through the Gospels of Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Mother Theresa, one of the truly humble extra-Biblical exemplars of the faith, writes challenging words on the concept of practical humility.
“Sincerity is humility, and you acquire humility only be accepting humiliations. All that has been said about humility is not enough to teach you humility. All that you have read about humility is not enough to teach you humility. You learn humility only by accepting humiliations. And you will meet humiliations all through your life. The greatest humiliation is to know that you are nothing. This you come to know when you face God in prayer. Often a deep and fervent look at Christ is the best prayer. I look at Him and He looks at me. When you come face to face with God, you cannot but know that you are nothing, that you have nothing.”
The number one way to learn humility is to sit face to face with God in prayer and in His presence. Unfortunately, our flesh, the world and the Cunning Enemy are excellent deterrents to us sitting still long enough before the Lord in prayer to exchange gazes. But God, unwilling to throw in the towel on the task of making humble followers out of His children, helps us through humiliations. The road to practical humility is paved with humiliations. No wonder we don’t we avoid traveling said path.
Practical humility looks like people who are willing to accept, submit to and often laugh hysterically at the humiliations that the Lord allows to come our way. Daily humiliations push us into His presence where we are reminded who He is and who we are.
When my child throws a temper tantrum at the pharmacy, I have a chance to practice humility by receiving a needed dose of humiliation. When I have to admit that I am wrong to my husband, humiliation helps me take another step toward true humility. When I come before the Lord struggling with the same sin patterns that we stared down last week, humiliation helps me along toward the Humble One.
He is committed to cultivating a humility in His people that He, not we, can be proud of. What Christ sets out to do, He will and must accomplish. Daily humiliations are just one way that our Father hurries up our humility.
Happy humiliations to you!