Clothed in Robes of Humbleness
by Mark Roper
When asked what were the three most important Christian virtues, Augustine replied, “Humility, humility, and humility.” Yet, this great virtue is in rather short supply in our culture.
There is no way to become a mature Christian unless we learn to be humble.
Colossians 3:12, “…as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
The importance of Humility – God uses broken things.
It takes broken soil to produce a crop,
Broken clouds to produce rain,
Broken grain to give bread and
Broken bread to give strength.
It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume.
It is the broken Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than ever.
Biblical humility is grounded in the character of God.
The Father stoops down to help the poor and needy; the Son displayed humility from the manger to the cross.
Before the birth of Christ, no royalty would ever show their humility. That would be too human, too common. Kings have parades & entourages to draw the focus toward them. When Queen Elizabeth last visited America, she brought with her the following items • 4000 pounds of luggage – 4 outfits for everyday she was in America • 40 pints of plasma • Her own hairdresser • Two valets • An official photographer • Two personal secretaries • THE COST OF HER TRIP TO AMERICA WAS 20 MILLION DOLLARS
In meek contrast, God’s visit to earth took place in an animal stable, no attendants were present, there was no place for the baby to lay down except in a feeding trough known as a manger.
In fact, the event, which divided history and our calendars, went by unnoticed except for a few shepherds who came by for a visit.
Humility is the defining characteristic of an unpretentious and modest person, someone who does not think that he or she is better or more important than others
Shane Claiborne, who spent a summer in the slums of Calcutta with Mother Teresa, wrote about her experience there. She said, “People often ask me what Mother Teresa was like. Sometimes it’s like they wonder if she glowed in the dark or had a halo. She was short, wrinkled, and precious, maybe even a little ornery — like a beautiful, wise old granny. But there is one thing I will never forget — her feet. Her feet were deformed. Each morning in Mass, I would stare at them. I wondered if she had contracted leprosy. But I wasn’t going to ask, of course. ‘Hey Mother, what’s wrong with your feet?’ One day a sister said to us, ‘Have you noticed her feet?’ We nodded, curious. She said: ‘Her feet are deformed because we get just enough donated shoes for everyone, and Mother does not want anyone to get stuck with the worst pair, so she digs through and finds them. And years of doing that have deformed her feet.’ Years of loving her neighbor as herself deformed her feet.” Humility means that our focus is away from ourselves and not on ourselves. The Scripture says,
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).
“True humility is not an abject, groveling, self-despising spirit; it is but a right estimate of ourselves as God sees us.”
Humility “not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.”
Humility is quite simply, truthfulness–self-honesty.
A well-known Christian businessman who was visiting a church was asked to give his testimony. He said, “I have a fine family, a large house, a successful business, and a good reputation. I have plenty of money so I can support some Christian ministries very generously. Many organizations want me on their board of directors. I have good health and almost unlimited opportunities. What more could I ask from God?” As he paused for effect, a voice shouted from the back of the auditorium, “How about asking Him for a good dose of humility?”
Humility is a freedom from arrogance that grows out of the recognition that all we have and are comes from God.
“The axe cannot boast of the trees it has cut down. IT could do nothing but for the woodsman. He made it, he sharpened it, he used it. The moment he throws it aside, it becomes only old iron. O that I may never lose sight of this.”
Humility is The way we approach God
Humility or lack of humility demonstrates the spirit in which we come. Is it willingly or do we begrudge the time out of our lives? If we go to visit in a friend’s house, we don’t go in our gardening clothes! We know very well that it’s not the clothes that matter to our friend. It’s simply a matter of respect that we should present ourselves as neatly as we can. The fact that we prepare ourselves to go there is the way in which we outwardly show our affection and our esteem for our friend. So it is with God’s house. The parable has nothing to do with the actual clothes in which we go to church; it has everything to do with the spirit in which we go to God’s house. Of course we want to be reasonably clothed out of respect for our Lord but He’s not expecting a fashion parade! What He’s looking for is a garment of the mind and the heart. It’s to be clothed with expectation, the garment of humility and penitence, and the robe of faith and reverence. It’s all too easy to go to God’s house without preparation of thought and prayer and self-examination. If I went to my services as carefully prepared as I went to the Palace my worship and ministry would be richer by far.
As a sign of genuine religion produces humility not pride
He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?
It produces gratitude for what God has, and is doing for us.
It is focusing more on God than on oneself
Biblical humility is recognizing we are inadequate, but we are created to be in God’s image
“The truth is this – pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you.”
Humility creates within us a servant attitude
In the summer of 1986, two ships collided in the Black Sea off the coast of Russia. Hundreds of passengers died as they were hurled into the icy waters below. News of the disaster was further darkened when an investigation revealed the cause of the accident. It wasn’t a technology problem like radar malfunction–or even thick fog. The cause was human stubbornness. Each captain was aware of the other ship’s presence nearby. Both could have steered clear, but according to news reports, neither captain wanted to give way to the other.
Each was too proud to yield first. By the time they came to their senses, it was too late.
Many people do not like the idea of being a servant to others because they feel that they are too good or they do not want to do the dirty work of the Kingdom, but I will tell you that without the humble servant’s attitude that Christ showed we run a great risk. Jesus is our perfect example of a humble servant.
God gives grace to the humble but resists the proud Prov 3:34
In Middle Eastern countries, it was the slaves who washed the feet of guests; here Christ took the place of a slave. He makes this clear to His disciples: if their Lord and Teacher has washed their feet, then they should wash one another’s feet, that is, serve each other in humility.
This must have been a striking rebuke to the Twelve, for just that evening they had been debating who was to be the greatest! (See Luke 22:24-27)
The Lord exalts the humble Matt 23:12
Stoop Down to Reach God’s Highest Gifts
F. B. Meyer once said: “I used to think that God’s gifts were on shelves one above the other, and that the taller we grew in Christian character the easier we could reach them. I now find that God’s gifts are on shelves one beneath the other. It is not a question of growing taller but of stooping lower; that we have to go down, always down, to get His best gifts.”
The Lord rewards the humble with wisdom
Prov 11:2 NIV
2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
Humility is the foremost test of a truly great person or leader Luke 22:24-27
Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)
We need to remember that we cannot train ourselves to be Christians; we cannot discipline ourselves to be saints; we cannot bend ourselves to the will of God: we have to be broken to the will of God.
There is a great song that expresses the proper attitude of humbleness:
Have Thine own way, Lord.
Have Thine own way.
Thou art the Potter,
I am the clay.
Mold me and make me
After thy will.
While I am waiting,
Yielded and still.