Note: We hope you'll join us as we meditate on Micah 6:8 throughout 2020. This is the second post in a series of reflections. (Read the introduction here.) We couldn't think of a better candidate to write about humility than a man who exemplifies the character quality, our own Sonny Westbrook.
"He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?" - Micah 6:8
This verse from the prophet Micah ends with the explanation that amongst the things our great God desires to see in our lives as his children and as his representatives in this world is that we “walk humbly with our God."
The definitive adverb “humbly” grabs our attention. As we consider it, we realize that this word, along with all its forms, is a common theme throughout the Old and New Testament Scriptures. To walk or live in the way that is good in God’s eyes, that brings pleasure to him, is to walk or to live with humility. Any Bible study on this subject will yield a lengthy list of verses, of stories, of parables, of prophecies, that condemn pride and exalt the quality of humility.
So, we, as devoted disciples of our Lord Jesus, should seek to walk in humility with our God. The question is: how does one increase in this wonderful character quality, commended by the Scriptures and supremely displayed in the life of our Lord? There are at least two options on how to approach this.
1) We could take a disciplined religious approach and “work on it.” We could “do the best we can” to increase in this. Define the behaviors of humility and then try to do them. We could even create a chart of some kind to track our performance. If someone were to ask: how are you doing on the humility project, we would then have to work out how to give a humble answer to the question. Good luck with that one. Oswald Chambers wrote: “There is nothing more awful than conscious humility; it the most Satanic type of pride.”
2) Or we could come the only viable way, the biblical way, to all advancement in spiritual life. Jesus said it this way: "…you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32). Folks, the reality is this: truth humbles! As we soak in the truth about us and the truth about our God, it humbles us.
So, in a nutshell, what is the truth the Bible reveals about us as human beings? It reveals that we are “born broken” into this world. Our very human nature from conception onward is “out of sorts” with the God Who created us. The Bible reveals that we as human beings are born sinners. The root of all sin is self-centeredness instead of God-centeredness, and we all have the disease.
The Bible further reveals that we could never rid ourselves of this inbred spiritual virus. We desperately needed Someone to save us from it and its death producing consequences. Apart from this, we would be hopelessly lost, without God and without hope in this world. To personalize this, if you believe this truth, it will humble you! You have been a sinner from birth, and you have contributed your share of sin to the “human sin pool.” So, have I! And even as we grow spiritually, we continue to do so to some degree all our lives. We fall short of God’s glory, which is His perfection, in many ways. And all our collective sins are what produces all the pain and sorrow and death in this world.
Now, I will call upon the Apostle Paul to give us the truth about God, found in Ephesians 2:4-7:
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
So, the truth is this: it is only by God’s grace and mercy that we are “saved,” not because of any ability or strength of our own. If we truly understand and believe this, it will humble us. Our salvation and redemption come to us ONLY because God does not give us what we do deserve and He does give us what we don’t deserve (His grace). All human-based pride is negated by this truth! Again, it was Oswald Chambers who wrote: “Humility is not an ideal; it is the unconscious result of the life being rightly related to God and centered in him.”
Now further, as we look at the whole of life, the Bible reveals to us that our gracious God is the Source of everything that is good in this world, everything that is good in your life and mine. We are not the origin of our own blessings, nor the ultimate cause of our own effects. The Scriptures ask us this question: “For who makes you differ from one another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if indeed you did receive it, why do you boast as though you had not received it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7). Properly understood, this truth leads us to understand that all of life is a stewardship responsibility. We are stewards of all God’s blessings to us. Nothing was given to us for the purpose of producing pride in us. All was given to produce profound gratitude to God and also a sense of responsibility before God to steward all in a way that will exclusively and humbly serve, glorify and honor him, the Giver. This truth also humbles us!
Now, to be clear, who is it that makes it possible for us to enter into this life of walking humbly with our God? It is none other than our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. He is the One who humbled himself and opened the flood gates of God’s grace and mercy as he went to the cross to take all our sins upon himself. He is the One who conquered death on our behalf and opened the door for each of us to receive all the blessings of God in our lives. He is the One who has begun a good work in us as believers in him, and he is the One who will complete it (Phil. 1:6).
It is our joy here at the Union Gospel Mission to share these wonderful truths with all who come to us for help. It’s so freeing to let all boasting in human achievements or shaming for human failures go by the wayside, as we proclaim the gospel – the love, mercy and grace of our wonderful God and Savior Jesus Christ. We are humbled on a continual basis as we realize that he is the source of all the blessings we enjoy. As we serve and live in these truths, we are enabled to “walk humbly with our God.” It is our privilege to invite all our guests and clients and partners in ministry to do the same. Please join with us. And, of course, to God – Father, Son & Holy Spirit – be all the glory that is due, as we regularly see and experience him transforming our own lives and the lives of those he brings to us for help.