There is nothing quite like the New Year to draw out the realization that I don’t do things the way I wish I would or could. Perhaps you can relate? We have regrets of how we didn’t do certain things right in the past year, so we determine to fix that with a resolution. We have high hopes for our performance in the new year, only to realize two weeks in that sticking to a “better” way of doing things is really, really hard, and we usually fail at it.
First, the good: I have seen God work in my life in surprising ways over the last few years. He has transformed me from a go-with-the-flow life to a life lived with intentionality, so much so that people have remarked this last year how they have seen me follow-through on areas of my life that I had been led to change. My knee-jerk reaction to such a compliment is to scoff, because it doesn’t seem like it can even be true of go-with-the-flow me. So, I know that God is at work, changing me and shaping me more and more into the woman he envisioned when he saw me before anyone else did.
Then, the bad: Even so, I get to the end of a day or a week or a year, and I wonder if I will ever be able to rid myself of my old filth—my old proud, selfish, fearful, comfort-seeking self. There it was again: I was harsh with Zeke instead of gentle. There it was again: I was keeping score with my husband. There it was again: I chose solitude instead of opening up to my neighbor. Ugh.
I am consciously incompetent at this life.
So, is it any surprise that the Lord whispered “humble” to me as I was seeking for a word from him for the coming year? Oh, Lord. Humble? Part of that feels like a vacation to a dungeon.
Thank goodness for Scripture. This is what God says of humility:
You rescue the humble, but your eyes watch the proud and humiliate them. 2 Samuel 22:28
May you hear the humble and earnest requests from me and your people Israel when we pray toward this place. Yes, hear us from heaven where you live, and when you hear, forgive. 1 Kings 8:30
Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14
You rescue the humble, but you humiliate the proud. Psalm 18:27
He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them his way. Psalm 25:9
The humble will see their God at work and be glad. Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged. Psalm 69:32
Though the Lord is great, he cares for the humble, but he keeps his distance from the proud. Psalm 138:6
For the Lord delights in his people; he crowns the humble with victory. Psalm 149:4
Human pride will be brought down, and human arrogance will be humbled. Only the Lord will be exalted on that day of judgment. Isaiah 2:11
The humble will be filled with fresh joy from the Lord. The poor will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 29:19
The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: “I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts. Isaiah 57:15
My hands have made both heaven and earth; they and everything in them are mine. I, the Lord, have spoken! “I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word. Isaiah 66:2
Seek the Lord, all who are humble, and follow his commands. Seek to do what is right and to live humbly. Perhaps even yet the Lord will protect you— protect you from his anger on that day of destruction. Zephaniah 2:3
Those who are left will be the lowly and humble, for it is they who trust in the name of the Lord. Zephaniah 3:12
God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. Matthew 5:5
Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29
So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Matthew 18:4
For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. Luke 14:11
Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Ephesians 4:2
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Philippians 2:3
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor. James 4:10
Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. 1 Peter 3:8
So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 1 Peter 5:6
That’s a whole bunch of Scripture. I even left out the negative examples.
Humility = goodness in the eyes of our Almighty God. What blessing and salvation he promises to the humble!
So instead of skirting around this whole humble thing, or dreading it like I did my recent trip to the dentist, I should be welcoming humility with open arms. At the end of this year, I hope my heart can say, “Yes, God, to be humble… that is my desire.”
I’m not there yet. For today, I’ll work on thanking him for my flaws. I’ll work on praising him when I screw that one thing up… AGAIN. I’ll practice shifting my focus from myself and how I could or should do better to him and how he does perfectly, every time.
Humble yourself before the Lord. Be honest before him. Need him. And he promises that he will do great things through your humble self.
Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt. Zechariah 9:9