Humility – A concept complex in its application and likely the most counter-cultural attribute to attain throughout one’s life.
I spent the last year seeking biblical obedience and concluded the year by “saying no” to some opportunities I dreamed of experiencing over the last decade. Truthfully, the last couple of months were a conflicting and convicting time for me as I battled the emotional pull of my professional aspirations becoming a reality while also sensing this overwhelming spiritual “need” to turn away, lay it down, remove myself, or just say “no.”
All of it was good stuff, too. Good opportunities I spent years praying God would provide for me so He could use me to bring glory to His name and goodness to His Kingdom. Then the opportunities I longed for were made available me, not just one but many. It seemed like a dream come true. Prayers answered. Purpose and fulfillment achieved. And still, God wanted me to not accept any of them. None of it made sense. Even so, I obeyed.
I think that’s part of it but not the whole picture.
I know my God has more in store to teach me, show me, grow me, and reveal in me. It’s got me all bewildered, yet, intrigued. I’m a bit scared and unsettled, too, while possessing this peace that surpasses my limited understanding as I wait in hopeful anticipation of what is to come.
So here’s to a year of being honest, vulnerable, and transparent. Of laying down the selfishness of ME to serve the greatness of HE.
3 Elements of Humility I’m Seeking in 2022
1.) He > Me
Humility seen throughout the Bible is inseparable from active obedience and the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ. Humility is best portrayed through the life of God incarnate, walking the earth as the Son – Jesus.
Because Jesus was fully man and fully God, He modeled the exact nature and character of God. From His birth in a stable to His ministry serving the poor and afflicted to His public death on a cross, Jesus illustrated all the qualities of humility, including selflessness (John 15:13), meekness (Matthew 11:29), submission (Philippians 2:6), and obedience (John 5:30).
When I think of humility as it applies to my own life, I consider my pride and the different ways it hides or manifests itself. Perhaps the most recent showcase of my pride was through my desire to participate in the many opportunities I was presented with towards the second half of 2021. To be completely transparent, there was a part of me deep down that considered myself to be the leading “savior” of the projects, positions, and job prospects I was presented with.
Really, I know. I just let my ugly show.
As someone who is a doer who desperately wants to be seen, heard, and known and for her life to have meaning and purpose, I suspect the enemy will attempt to use my pride to try to deceive me this year.
I pray the Holy Spirit will protect me from the evil one’s efforts to bring me down or lead me astray. I pray I will be reminded that God is enough – He is my provider (Philippians 4:19), my strength and my portion (Psalm 73:26). He is all I need, each and every day, because on my own I will never measure up. Without Him, I can do nothing (Philippians 4:13).
“He must become greater; I must become less.”John 3:30 (NIV)
2.) A Servant’s Heart
Jesus was the ultimate servant leader and even though He was God in the flesh, He “did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28).
I don’t know about you, but in my own experience it has always been better to give than to receive. Acts of service are my love language so naturally the easiest way I demonstrate love towards others is through acts of service. Even though I have been intentional in volunteering my time, talents, and treasure to my local church and community [since I was a freshman in high school], I desire to contribute more because I believe God has more in store for me and those I serve.
In seeking humility this year, I pray to obtain a true servant’s heart – giving of myself not for selfish gain or ambition but out of obedience and humility to be used as the hands and feet of Jesus.
I genuinely want to be an active participate in God’s Kingdom. I pray nothing in my life will go to waste but that I will be filled up with the goodness of God’s Word so I can pour out His goodness onto humanity. I pray in serving the needs of others that they may come to know the God I serve. Spiritual revival is the soul’s only way to survive and win the cultural battles we are fighting and the spiritual war we encounter daily.
On a personal note (because I consider us friends and want you to hold me accountable 🙂 ), I pray the Lord will shape my heart to best serve my home. For the longest time I’ve considered homemaking and motherhood to be lowly, mundane work. I don’t say this to offend anyone, but the truth is, I’ve had a hard time not being able to maintain consistent “professional work” while being a stay-at-home-mom. As a result, I had an identity crisis several years ago and felt like I had lost a piece of myself.
3.) Removal of Expectations
Okay, this is another personal hit to my flesh that I know God has been targeting for yearssss.
I’m Type A (I know, I say this a lot). I like setting goals and dreaming big. I mean, obviously. This entire post is like a public New Year’s resolution for my personal spiritual growth. All kidding aside, I am removing the bar of expectations for 2022. Seriously. It’s not just lowered; it has been completed eliminated from the timeline.
Removing all expectations is and will be the hardest thing for me to do this year, but I am hopeful in the obedience and conviction I’m experiencing right now and for eradicating the opportunities [that came about in 2021] that could have potentially distracted me or deterred me off the path God has paved for me.
Though I may be walking blind, my hands and my heart are open. I pray I will stay the course.
Humility is many things – surrender of the self, submission to God’s will and way, active obedience, taking God at His Word, dependance on God’s mercy and righteousness, and recognizing one’s sinfulness, weaknesses, and unworthiness. Humility is putting God first above all things, always. It is lowering oneself to elevate the needs of others. It is perhaps the most important spiritual attribute to seek, attain and maintain because through it all other fruit can grow.
Leaning on your own understanding can deceive you, lead you to lust, evoke vanity, or entice you to pursue other elements (actions, thoughts, feelings) of the flesh. Instead, humility kills the flesh (wants, needs, desires, motivations, etc.) to give life to the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-17).
Humility is not proud, arrogant, or boastful nor is it self-seeking or self-serving (James 4). It is an attitude of gratitude and the joy that comes with contentment not because of anything one is, has, or has done but because of the gift of salvation for those who receive Jesus Christ.
Humility is seen through one’s character and conviction. Seeking humility in a 21st century “selfie” world goes against everything culture condones, but we must continue to pursue it if we intend to seek and save the lost. It isn’t easy and never will be, but then again, the best things in life aren’t free.
“If, then, there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, make my joy complete by thinking the same way, having the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look not to his own interests, but rather to the interests of others.
Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God,
did not consider equality with God
as something to be exploited.
Instead He emptied Himself
by assuming the form of a servant,
taking on the likeness of humanity.
And when He had come as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient
to the point of death—
even to death on a cross.
For this reason God highly exalted Him
and gave Him the name
that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus
every knee will bow—
in heaven and on earth
and under the earth—
and every tongue will confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.”
Philippians 2:1-11 (CSB)