“Grow likewise in humility. Seek to lie very low and know more of your own nothingness. As you grow downward in humility, seek also to grow upward – having nearer approaches to God in prayer and more intimate fellowship with Jesus.”
With the year coming to a close in less than 70 days (what, how?!), I’m finding myself tying up loose ends. Does this resonate with anyone else? It could be fitness or food related, like making final attempts to log extra miles or eat healthier. Maybe it looks like cleaning out closets or finally donating that stash of unread books. It could look like making more of an effort to read the Bible or a devotional, in the midst of a busy holiday season. This final sprint to the finish line of the calendar year can be exhilarating and feel defeating all at once.
Amidst all the busyness, I want to take this time to slow down and reflect on the last part of my phrase of the year, growing in humility.
I love how Paul talks about humility in the book of Philippians, in chapter 2. He writes “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” The rest of that passage continues talking about how Jesus humbled himself to the point of being human like us, and even to the point of dying on a cross. In order to fully comprehend the concept of true humility, we need to always look to Jesus as our example.
Jesus is our Father, right? He loves us unconditionally and without restraint. He extends his grace and mercy to us, undeserving as we are. He is the ultimate parent, the only perfect parent that has ever and will ever exist. As an earthly parent myself, I can already recount endless examples of times that I’ve failed our son. Failed to show patience and grace. Failed to put him first and not give in to my own desires. This isn’t surprising because I’m a broken, sin-filled human being.
Being a parent is likely the most humbling thing that exists on this earth. Nothing humbles you more than waking up multiple times a night to feed or comfort your child. When you’re starving and dinner isn’t ready but your child is hungry, you will find a way (hopefully) to feed them first. Those are just a few small examples of how we as parents sacrifice and put our children before us. It is an (poor, but earthly and true) example of humility and what it looks like in our lives.
Because, humility is just that. Putting others before us. Like Jesus put all of humanity before himself and chose to die on a cross for our sins. Not only that, but along with that epic task of constantly dying to our selfish wants and needs, we also learn that being humble means giving up expectations that we deserve recognition or praise for what we did. To continue along the lines of the parenting example, think about how often we do things for our kids but with the thought in the back of our minds that somehow, somewhere, someone is going to recognize that our child did something good and therefore, we should get the praise for it. That needs to stop. God has tasked us with the responsibility of raising souls for His kingdom. He gets all the praise, not us.
As Spurgeon writes, when we start becoming more like Jesus in our humility, we will want to seek an even more intimate relationship with Jesus. More prayer, more humility. More humility, more prayer. It should be an infinite loop.