“… To beg I am ashamed.” (Luke 16:3)
Humility does not come naturally to us. We glory in what we can do; what we know; and who we are. To be humbled is to discover your limits. The proud man brags; the humble man begs. The first beatitude is: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:3) Those full of their own strength, wisdom, and beauty will always be empty of heaven’s store.
God has made sure promises to both the proud and the humble. “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” (Matt. 23:12) The way up is down, and the way down is up. Lift yourself up and you’re in for a fall. “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Prov. 16:18) Lower yourself to a place of dependency upon Almighty God and watch Him lift you up. “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time” (1 Pet. 5:6)
Dependency on God is learned. Looking away from ourselves and what we can do is a habit acquired over time. It is the essence of becoming like the Son who said: “I can of mine own self do nothing” (John 5:30) Where is the pride in that? Jesus did not glorify Himself. He was all about glorifying the Father. He credited the Father for all the works He did. He said His teaching was not His own. The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us displaying for us what a perfect, humble man looks like.
The aim of the Father in grafting us into His Son is for the likeness of Jesus to be brought forth in our life. Without the Father, He did nothing; without Him, we can do nothing. Every situation we face which reminds us of our weakness, our ignorance, our need is an opportunity to draw upon the resources of the Vine, and to have His power made perfect in our weakness.
God hates pride and will use all things to purge it from us. In whatever ways we are still too self-reliant the Father has means to humble us. Is such a pruning experience pleasant? Not at all. “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” (Heb. 12:11) There is pain involved in being humbled, but it is a necessary part of growing up into the image of Christ.
The world’s aim is to teach you to believe in yourself and what you have the potential to do. God’s aim is to teach you to no longer trust in yourself but in Him. Don’t hate being humbled. See each humbling experience as an opportunity to depend upon your Lord. Don’t be afraid when things are out of your control; when you can’t change a situation; when you’re at your wit’s end; when your weakness is laid bare.
Know whatever humbles you is good. Humility is the gateway to grace. God does NOT “help those who help themselves;” He helps those we are helpless and have no place to look but up. Blessed are God’s beggars!