“Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)
Humility is the 1St Step
Humility is the first step that any human being can take to draw closer to God. Humility is a two-way attitude of heart: vertical and horizontal.
a) Vertical humility (Repentance)
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”
Vertical humility is your heart’s attitude towards and before God; this is also called ‘’conscious need.’’ It is you settling within your heart your desperate need for God, making a conscious decision to humble yourself before God, and accepting your need of His divine grace through His forgiveness.
Humility means to change the attitude of your heart toward God: to accept God as your God, your Creator, your Father, your LORD, your Savior, your Redeemer, your King, your Master, your Teacher; to lock in your heart once and for all that your existence depends solely in Him; to accept that you have no control whatsoever over your life; and to believe that your life is in His hands. That settles your attitude towards God.
Now your attitude before God is that, when you come before Him, you believe with all your heart that before you were formed in your mother’s womb, God knew you. Hallelujah! And everything you have ever done is written in a book, God’s book, so God knows all about you. Hallelujah! When you come before God, put away pride and self-dignity and strip your soul before Him. Pour your heart before Him with tears and sorrow. Accept who you are, a sinner in desperate need of divine grace, confessing your sins with your mouth, admitting and taking responsibility for your sins without blaming others, and begging for God’s forgiveness. Hope in His mercy rather than depending on your own ability to do good. This is your rightful position--a helpless sinner. In your position as a sinner, confess your sins and ask forgiveness from God, and God in His rightful position of righteousness will hear your confession and be merciful to you and forgive all your sins in the name of Jesus. Not sins in part, but ALL your sins. And by the blood of Christ Jesus our Lord, He blots away all your sins written in His book.
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out.”
“Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)
“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:15-17)
B) Horizontal humility (Servant Attitude)
“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.” (Romans 12:10)
Horizontal humility is your heart’s attitude towards and before your fellow humans, your ‘’neighbors.’’ The truth is, most of us desire to serve God and most of us don’t have any problem serving God, because of who God is and of course because of our own selfish ambitions. Let’s face it, we always want or need something from God, so none of us who believes has any problem serving God. Our problem is serving each other. That is the real difficulty, to become each other’s servants. That’s beneath us! We don’t like that, especially because we live in a world that constantly promotes:
· Worldly pride
· Appearance (‘’image is everything’’)
· Worldly success
· Rank or position (the devil’s latest weapon against the Church)
We want to serve God in prominent positions, where people can see us and respect us. We want to serve God in mighty ways. So we don’t like the small days of preparation, the days of mundane and simple things which God expects us to do in preparation for the big and great things that are to come if we are found humble and faithful with the small things. So in our great pursuit to serve God, we often ignore this simple truth:
“To serve God is to serve others”
“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:16-18)
Therefore, to be humble towards and before others is to accept that you are a servant in the Master’s hand, ready for good works; to be prepared to be the last; to learn to lose so that others may win; to be prepared that in everything you must put others before yourself. A humble life is a selfless life. And this we learn from Christ Jesus our Lord, who is our perfect example:
“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.” (John 13:3-5)
Read this again:
“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands…”
The Father had given all things into His hands! This was no time to wash feet, this was time to shout victory, to celebrate, to tell the world who is the boss. But not so with my Jesus. Christ uses this as an opportunity to teach us the greatest lesson about the Kingdom of God: that in the Kingdom of God everyone is a servant, everyone has a ministry to fulfill, and this ministry starts with the Father who is always working.
“But Jesus answered them, ‘My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.’” (John 5:17)
Christ uses this event to stamp His position as the “Servant” which in turn serves as an example to us, so that none of us must or can esteem himself too highly to serve others.
“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3)
Now listen to what the Lord Jesus said to the disciples after He washed their feet:
“So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments, and sat down again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord
and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”
“For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.”
“Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him.”
And the promise:
“If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” (John 13:12-17)
Now, this is not just a ritual we ought to follow. It goes much deeper. This is the Lord commanding us to put away all our titles, reputation, and pride, to take off all our worldly crowns, the ties and the suits, to roll up our sleeves and join the Lord in His vineyard getting our hands dirty for His sake. Amen!
“But Jesus called them to Himself and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.’” (Matthew 20:25-28)
“For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.”
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9)
“And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:8)
“Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5)
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:5-7)
The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you always. Amen!