The Hardest Commandment

Now when the LORD saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah, saying, “They have humbled themselves; therefore I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance. . . .”(2 Chronicles 12:7)

I have been thinking a lot about humility lately.  Mostly thinking I’m afraid.  I continue to have the need to be a more humble person.  It’s hard to do because you have to fight yourself.  No one wants to have a fight with themselves.  Being hard is no excuse for not being humble though.  It was hard for Jesus to go the cross.  But He did it anyway. 

Thinking about my own imperfections helps with humility, if I can avoid the temptation to rationalize my behavior.  As I read about the life of Jesus, it becomes glaringly apparent how short of the life He lived I fall.  Why don’t I do better than I do?  Because I listen to self too much.  “This” is what I want to do when “that” is what I need to do.  Too often, “this” is what I do.  When Jesus talked about denying self, He sure knew what He was talking about.  If you can’t do that, you can’t do anything. 

Comparing my life with other good people helps with humility.  Why can’t I be humble like my dad?  Dad was not without flaws, but he was humble and everybody liked him.  Why couldn’t some of that have rubbed off on me?  Because I was too good in my own eyes to let it is why.  Humility was an unknown word for me.  Before long that started to bite me, then gnaw on me, and before long it right near killed me.  Whose fault was that?  It was mine, and no one else’s.  I was arrogant because I chose to be arrogant.  If not for the good Lord’s mercy, I would be completely dead inside right now.  The grace of God knows no bounds. 

Eventually understanding that humility is a foundation for just about everything else helps to be more humble.  I won’t trust God, much less obey Him, if I don’t think I need to.  When I think I know better than God, I’ll never listen to Him.  A lot of people think they know better than God when it comes to mercy, forgiveness, and love for those who hurt you.  I used to be one of them.  I thought since I didn’t cherry pick the plan of salvation, that I was justified in cherry picking the Sermon on the Mount.  I didn’t verbalize it just that way, but that’s how I thought and acted.  I was wrong.  I try not to do that now. 

A sense of how others view and respond to an arrogant person helps with humility.  People respond poorly to someone who thinks they are better than them.  People tend to respond well to a humble person who doesn’t have too high of an opinion of himself.  God is the same way.  I used to think people didn’t really like me and were out to get me.  I would wonder why they tended to like humble Dad and not feel exactly the same way toward me.  I know now.  He was humble and I wasn’t. 

Well, I’ll stop now.  I don’t think the importance of humility can be over emphasized.  Without it, I’ll never become a Christian because I don’t think I need to.  Without it, I’ll never take the Christian life seriously because I don’t think I need to.  It took me a long time to figure that out.  I hope you are smarter and quicker than I was. 

For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. (Luke 14:11)

Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. (James 4:10)

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One Response to “The Hardest Commandment”

  1. Jerry Starling Says:

    John,
    Substitute me for you in this, and it will still fit. Thanks for these thoughts.
    Jerry

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