Humility..I know it’s taught in scripture. I believe it’s essential to pleasing God. In practice, I do things daily to foster it. I’ve blogged about it several times (just search this site for “humility”). Yet the battle with pride continues unabated.
I just finished reading Andrew Murray’s short book, Humility. (Thanks, Dave, for the recommendation.) He makes the case — convincingly, I think — that humility isn’t just one of many Christian virtues, but it is foundational to every Christian virtue. Jesus set the example, and if there is anyone who ever could have made the case for not needing to be humble, He’s the one!
It is only as we become nothing that God is revealed to be everything. I’ve quoted C.J. Mahaney’s definition of humility in a previous post, but he states that “Humility is honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness.”
Humility is inextricably tied to faith. Humility is inextricably tied to love. Faith and love are both possible only to the extent of our humility. We have nominal faith and nominal love because we are only nominally humble. Our sin nature is founded on self-centered pride. As we deny ourselves and recognize our utter helplessness and God’s all-sufficiency (the essence of humility), we make room for Christ to transform us from pride (Adam’s nature) to humility (Christ’s nature). Our faith grows and our ability to love grows.
But I think the battle between pride and humility will be with us as long as we are on this earth. It is the essence of the spiritual battle we are called to diligently, tenaciously fight.
I’m intrigued by the thought of wearing crowns and having mansions in heaven. Those images trigger my pride instincts. It’s easy to imagine wearing our crowns proudly, bragging about the number of jewels (and keeping our distance from those who have more), seeing whose mansion has the most rooms, and so on. But somehow, I think in heaven the human battle with pride will be won. It’s hard for me to picture, but we’ll wear our crowns humbly, being every bit as proud of other people’s accomplishments as our own, rejoicing in what God has done regardless of who He worked through to do it.