The Virtue Of Humbleness!
By George R. Dillahunty
Job 42:3 (King James Version)
“Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? Therefore have I uttered that I understand not things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.”
Apart from selfless love, there is no virtue more Christian than humility – than being humble! Everything Jesus, the Christ, accomplished for us – for you and for me – as the Son of Almighty God – flowed from His humility – His humbleness!
The Apostle Paul tells the church at Philippi and us, in Philippians 2:5-11 (NLT): “Your attitude should be the same that Christ Jesus had. (v. 6) Though He was God, He did not demand and cling to His rights as God. (v. 7) He made Himself appear as nothing; He took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. (v. 8) And in human form, He obediently humbled Himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross. (v. 9) Because of this, God raised Him up to the heights of Heaven and gave Him a Name that is above every other name. (v. 10) So that at the Name of Jesus every knee will bow, in Heaven and on earth and under the earth, (v. 11) and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Pride is a rock that is not easily broken! Someone once described the process of sefl-examination as being compared to that of peeling an onion – in that the exposure of each new layer brings a fresh set of tears! One of the benefits of suffering is that it uncovers and unwraps layers of inner pride, independence, arrogance, self-will, self-centeredness; and, selfishness that can be exposed in no other way!
It is only through hopeless brokeness that the amazingly beautiful and liberating virtue called “humilty” bursts forth! Just think about what Jesus, the Christ, did: He willingly let go of more than anyone can possibly imagine! He endured the humility of no longer having access to infinite riches; but, instead, became totally dependent on others! No one ever experienced the level of humility that Jesus, the Christ, willingly endured! He experienced what it means to leave a glorious dwelling in a breathtakingly beautiful place in order to take up residence in a borrowed stable! He voluntarily experienced the frustration of no longer being able to walk or to feed Himself, because 2,000-plus years ago, He chose to become a helpless baby lying in a manger!
Instead of being treated as Almighty God, He became a member of a despised nation of slaves – the people of Israel – with a young virgin Jewish girl for a mother and a Jewish carpenter for a step-father! He was no longer served by legions of Angels; but, instead, became the servant of all! Rather than closely associating with mighty Angels, His new companions were those who were hurting – those who were helpess – and, those who were broken! Instead of being worshipped as Almighty God, He was called a “child born out of wedlock” – a liar – and, a lunatic! Beyond all of that, He was beaten – He was spit upon – He was scourged – and, He was executed in the cruelest way!
Because Jesus, the Christ, humbled Himself, justice was treated unjustly – love was betrayed – love was abandoned – and, love was rejected! Truth was mocked – the King of kings became a slave – Almighty God became human – in the form of a man – and, the “Ancient of Days” became an infant! Oh Yes, my brothers and sisters, Jesus, the Christ – did indeed – know all about the virtue of humility!
I don’t know what flavor of humility it is that adversity is forcing down your throat; but, I do know that Jesus, the Christ, had already drunk from the very same cup – at the very same well! Jesus, the Christ, was humbled in every way that a person can be humbled – and, bercause of that we call Him Lord – we call Him Master of all – and, we call Him King of kings! There is nothing that makes us more Christ-like than pure humility – and, nothing is honored more by Almighty God as true humility!
The Biblical character, Job, was the richest – most highly esteemed man around – that is, until adversity struck! His entire life’s work was gone in a flash – his income – his job – his children – his retirement were all wiped out in rapid succession – even his wife turned against him! His prestige was stripped from him – and, instead of being honored by those he had never met, he was mocked by strangers! Instead of being envied or feared, he was scorned!
Job believed, however, that he could endure all of that, if only Almighty God would give him an audience – if only he could defend himself before the Almighty! Yet, when the audience was finally granted, it did not turn out as Job had hoped that it would! Instead of impressing Almighty God with the justice of his cause, Job was left dumbfounded by the immense Power and Sovereign authority of the Creator and God of the Universe! Job felt ignorant for even imagining that he could somehow straighten Almighty God out and show Him a thing or two! Nevertheless, something good came out of all that bad!
One sweet fruit of Job’s heinous suffering was the flower of deeper humility thst blossomed more brightly in Job’s life! His testimony was that the experience left him a changed man – instead of being the one with all the answers, Job had nothing to say! Adversity has a way of reminding us that we are not the center of the Universe! Pain has the power to point out our broken vulnerability – our often overlooked mortality – and, our immense dependency! It forces us to depend upon others – and, to turn to Almighty God! When suffering has thrown us flat on our backs – and, we have nowhere to look but up – it is only then that we truly see Almighty God! Pain points out our insufficiency – our inability to cope with our circumstances ourselves – and, it often brutally reminds us of our insecurity!
I am a softy when it comes to “feel-good” movies – those that champion the underdog – films like “Pay It Forward” and “Rudy!” In the motion picture “Rudy,” a story about a too short, too slow, too dumb young man whose greatest desire was to play football at the University of Notre Dame! After doing all that he could possibly do to prepare for his “debut” on the Notre Dame football team; and, receiving yet another setback, Rudy went to see his priest The old priest gave him some really good advice! He told him, “After a lifetime of theological studies, I have discovered but two (2) indisputable Truths – there is a God and I am not He!”
None of us are Almighty God; yet, we get upset when life does not come under our control and play out according to our expectations and planning! Suffering is never included in our plans; and, facing suffering humbles us! Humility is an accurate assessment of oneself and of Almighty God! It is only through setbacks – through suffering – and, through sorrows that we really and truly understand who we are – who we are not – and, even more importantly, Who Almighty God is! This sense of deeper humility is one of the great benefits of affliction and adversity!
The late great Anglican clergyman, hymnist and former slave-ship Captain, Rev. John Newton (1725 – 1809), once wrote, “I compare the troubles we have to undergo in the course of the year to a great bundle of fagots [or, sticks], far too large for us to lift. But God does not require us to carry the whole [bundle] at once. He mercifully unties the bundle, and gives us first one stick, which we are to carry today, and then another, which we are to carry tomorrow, and so on. This we might easily manage, if we would only take the burden appointed for us each day; but we choose to increase our troubles by carrying yesterday’s stick over again today, and adding tomorrow’s burden to our load, before we are required to bear it!”
Humility is a magnet that draws Almighty God closer to us! When difficulties knock us down, Almighty God will reach down and pick us back up! When troubles draw near, Almighty God draws nearer! True heartbroken humility attracts Almighty God – Who is hopelessly in love with the hopeless! As I begin to close, this morning, know that Almighty God is no fan of self-sufficient pride! He opposes the proud – He stiff-arms the self-sufficient! After all, my brothers and sisters, He is in point of fact, Almighty God! There is nothing that we can do – there is nothing that we can say – there is nothing that we think – there is nothing that we have – and, there is nothing that we are – that impresses Almighty God!
Almighty God has seen everything – He has seen it all – He owns everything – and, He can do everything! Almighty God created the Universe out of nothing – He created mankind – both male and female – from the dust of the earth! In the light of Who He is, human pride – human arrogance – and, human boasting are ridiculous and odious! Almighty God pushes those kind of people out of the way – or, He graciously allows them to be broken! Because affliction and adversity deepens our humility, we are drawn nearer to Almighty God – nearer than we would be otherwise!
As I take my seat, now, know that sometimes Almighty God allows bad things to happen to good people in order to bring them to a deeper level of humility! Humility is a virtue that opens the door to many true blessings – and, it is a place where Almighty God can meet us! It is time, my brothers and sisters, to allow the suffering that we are experiencing to produce a deeper level of humility within us! If we will draw nearer to Almighty God, He will draw nearer to us!
The Virtue Of Humbleness!
May Almighty God richly and abundantly bless each and every one of you!