As we continue looking at the nine “faith levers” of our 60-Day Spiritual Growth Challenge, this week we turn our attention to Key 3: Be Humble. Before we dive into humility and how it helps us RISE ABOVE the daily grind, let’s back up and look at how exercising these faith levers (so far we’ve looked at confidence, hopefulness, and now humility) can lift the level of our living.
A fulcrum is defined as “the point on which a lever rests or is supported and on which it pivots; a thing that plays a central or essential role in an activity, event, or situation.” For our purposes, our lives are the fulcrum. We need to exercise these faith levers against our daily lives, experiences and relationships. The different keys we’ve been studying, when applied, can lift the level of our faith. When exercised, these keys align our lives, minds and hearts with the Lord. They keep in the forefront that we want to be like Christ and live for Christ. If we choose not to exercise these keys, then we will not experience growth – or RISE ABOVE.
So how will this week’s key, humility, help lift the level of our living? Scottish author J. M. Barrie wrote, “Life is a long lesson in humility”, and scripture tells us that the faster and more completely we learn these lessons, the better. I Peter 5:5-6 says to, “clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” The dictionary defines humility as “a modest or low view of one’s own importance.” The Bible says humility is the display of “meekness, lowliness, and absence of self.” Both definitions point to the fact that humility is the way to genuine and authentic living. It is the road by which we can find our best self. So let’s take a look.
5 WAYS HUMILITY WILL LIFT THE LEVEL OF MY LIVING
1. HUMILITY aligns my heart with the heart of Christ.
- Philippians 2:1: “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ…” If you want to understand the Bible and understand the teachings of God’s servant Paul, who wrote 2/3 of the New Testament, then you have to understand that for Paul it was all about two things:
- Becoming united with Christ by committing your life to Him and becoming a Christian.
- Becoming united with Christ in an ongoing way by living relentlessly for Him daily.
- One of the faith qualities required for becoming a Christian initially, then living for Jesus consistently, is humility.
- Becoming a Christian requires that we humble ourselves before the Lord (James 4:6, Luke 14:11, Prov. 22:4).
- We need to come to a place in our life where we realize that we cannot save ourselves. This is what Jesus meant when, in Matt 5:3, He says “blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
- Being poor in spirit means that only those who admit to an absolute bankruptcy of spiritual worth will inherit eternal life. Therefore, to become a Christian, we need to humble ourselves and realize we need God.
- Humility is needed for both KNOWING Christ and GROWING in our relationship with Him.
- Knowing: Humility is required for me to come to faith.
- Growing: Biblical humility is not only necessary to enter the Kingdom of God, it is also necessary to be great in God’s Kingdom (Matt 20:26-27).
2. HUMILITY strengthens my relationships.
- Philippians 2:2: “…if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.” Humility strengthens our relationships because it helps us relate to others like Jesus would.
- Notice the characteristics of humility (which are the opposite of hubris), and ask yourself, “How can I be more like Jesus and better demonstrate these in my marriage, family, work, friends, neighbors, and other relationships?” Remember, the fulcrum is practical application in my daily life. Just do it! (Jesus came up with this way before Nike.)
- When I exercise humility:
- I am like-minded: thinking about others like Jesus would.
- I have the same love: loving others like Jesus would.
- I am living in one spirit and one mind with those around me: having harmony with others like Jesus would.
- If we are to RISE ABOVE, these must be lived out, not just emotionally understood. Jesus demonstrated and lived out humility:
- Respect: Zacchaeus, the tax collector.
- Value: the Samaritan woman.
- Tenderness: the Children He beckoned to “come unto” Him.
- Compassion: the Good Samaritan to a fellow human in need.
- The Enemy wants us to fight, quarrel, demand our own way (I Cor. 1 & 3, James 4), but the evidence of our humility is seen in the presence or absence of these character qualities.
- Purpose to be humble and align your heart with the heart of Jesus. Use the fulcrum of your daily experiences to apply humility in arguments with your spouse, conflict at work, relational breakdown with extended family, etc.
- Take the high road, which is the Jesus road, which is the humility road.
- Apply/exercise the faith lever of humility and allow God to lift the level of your faith and living and relationships.
3. HUMILITY trains my heart and mind to put others first.
- Phil 2:3-4: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” Now apply that to your marriage, or to other precious relationships. How might that help a bit? How might humility build your faith and your alignment with the will of Christ for you and your precious and vital relationships?
- Humility is a character quality and a spiritual discipline. When practiced, it bends our hearts and aligns our minds with that of our Savior. It remakes our spirit and transforms it… over time.
- Instead of competing with others to advance ourselves, we need to compete to see how we can out-serve others and advance their cause.
- Contributing to others instead of competing with others is called servant leadership. We are to live our lives to bless others:
- Matt 23:12: “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
- Rom 12:3: “…Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”
- Prov. 18:12: “Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.”
4. HUMILITY changes my attitude and approach to relationships and life.
- Philippians 2:5-8: “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
- Leveraging humility like Jesus did changes us in at least 4 ways:
- It changes how I think and adjusts my attitudes, just like Christ.
- It reminds me that I’m here to give up so others can rise up. Jesus gave up riches for rags…and He did this for me!
- It drives home the point that I need to die to my selfishness. Dying daily is what humility is all about.
- It focuses my energies on serving others and living a life of obedience. If you want to be great, be a servant.
- At the end of the day, greatness if defined by “others-ness.” How is your “others-ness” quotient?
- Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
5. HUMILITY results in blessing.
- Philippians 2:9-11: ”Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. The main part of this passage is the exaltation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who, for our sakes, became poor so that we could be rich/saved.
- Scripture also tells us, as we have discovered here again today, that God exalts the humble.
- We go up when we go down.
- Our faith rises as we press down on the faith lever of humility.
- Key scriptures to look at: Psalm 147:6, Proverbs 15:33, 2 Chronicles 7:14, Proverbs 29:23
- God wants us to apply the faith lever of humility in our spirit, in coming to KNOW God.
- God wants us to apply the faith lever of humility in our lives and relationships as we seek to GROW in God.
- God will bless you, your marriage, your family, and your faith as you grow in humility.
Andrew Murray said, “Pride must die in you, or nothing of heaven can live in you.” As we continue on this 60-day journey toward spiritual growth, let’s commit to getting to know Christ deeper, grow in Him more and practice humility in all our relationships.