We wrestle in our souls to be content. Our minds race out of control. The anxiety of the task list alone can control and steal our sense of peace. It can seem as if we are running in fear and, in reality, no one is chasing. We long for deeper communion with God, to hear His voice more clearly, but so many things seem to keep us distracted and distant from God.
One of the important goals of the Christian life is to be able to make an accurate self-assessment of our hearts and minds so we can walk in humility. If we do not have humble hearts we won’t love well, nor will we obey and draw close to God.
Humility is the ability to see ourselves for who we really are, “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17). Humility lays the foundation for real contentment, confidence, and accurate self-knowledge. Pride, in contrast, causes spiritual blindness.
Humility enhances our love for God’s Word, making us eager to obey and seek encouragement from God. Humility creates a joyful trembling before God. Pride fosters the opposite posture, where we become self-righteous, despising God’s word.
Since humility ends in trembling at God’s Word, it brings us into deeper communion with God. We hear His voice and are open to His instruction. We grow in gratitude and richer dependence upon God. Proud people do not need God or have ears to hear His commands. They are unaware of their personal sinfulness and their need for grace.
Isaiah 66:2 says, “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at My word.” Humility leads us to a sincere sorrow for sin, which deepens into a trembling at God’s Word, motivating and enabling us to hear God clearly. Philippians 2:12 says, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Humility pictures us working out our salvation with fear and trembling.
Glenn Clark in his book, The Soul’s Sincere Desire, clarifies how crucial this truth is. “For trouble, if it merely turns us to God and hence renews our strength, ceases to be evil, and becomes good; it becomes the best thing that could possibly come to us, next to God himself. For our growth in power and happiness depends upon the number of seconds out of each twenty-four hours that we are resting in God.”
Humility is so important to God that He will allow us to fail our way into greater self-knowledge. Have you ever asked God to deliver you from some sin and then saw no response to your request? God will often let us wallow in our problems to deepen our humility. Our need for humility, in essence, might be greater than our need for deliverance, (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).
As we find ourselves feeling increasingly inadequate and sinful, we will find ourselves drawing closer to God. It is as John Berridge, the 18th-century preacher, said, “As the heart is more washed, we grow more sensible of its remaining defilement; just as we are more displeased with a single spot on a new coat, than a hundred stains on an old one.” Our growing awareness of our sinfulness is a sign of increasing humility and intimacy with God.
None of us loves God until we have been humbled. God is only intimate with the believer who has been thoroughly and joyfully humbled to see themselves in God’s Light. Although God loves the arrogant, He is not going to be intimate with them until they are humbled.
How do we grow in humility? Admit that we are proud before we fully see it. Take it as a given for a person with a fallen human nature. “Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up” (James 4:10).
If we want humility and contentment, we must seek the knowledge of God through His Word. It is only in His light that we accurately see ourselves (Psalm 36:9). Pray for God to illuminate His Word to us, since it is only in His light that we see ourselves (Psalm 36:9).
Pray for spiritual illumination. We cannot see God or ourselves clearly without His aid. Take encouragement: if we seek Him, He will be found by us (2 Chron. 15:2). We must pray that God gives a hunger for His Word so we immerse ourselves in it; His words provide the spiritual mirror in which we can see ourselves clearly (James 1:23).
Pursue God and find humility. What keeps you from pursuing a deeper relationship with God?