Do we even know what being humble means now-a-days? When you hear the word “humility” what do you think of? Perhaps your first mental picture is of someone being a door-mat, allowing anyone to walk all over them- never standing up for themselves- all in all, a wimp. Or maybe you see someone who is always rejecting compliments and who believes they’re not worth anything- so no one should really even pay them much attention. (Could you possibly resemble one of these descriptions yourself)? True humility is neither of those things, even though that is what I think a lot of us are conditioned to believe.
As a matter of fact, I see Biblical humility as a two-fold state of being.
1.¬†Realizing that you are NOTHING¬†without the pure grace of God and salvation of Christ
2.¬†Knowing that you are WORTH EVERYTHING¬†because of that grace and salvation.
What do these things mean- practically speaking?
Without going into a full-blown Bible study, let’s look at it just a bit.
First of all, Jesus said in John 15:5 that apart from Him, we can do nothing! That means that no matter what good people actually¬†can¬†do in this world: charitable acts, educating people, serving others, etc. it means DIDDLY SQUAT for eternity without having Christ first save you and make you righteous before God. ¬†Here is a mental picture to help explain what a person who believes they can earn their way into Heaven by living a “good” life- essential is‚Ä¶
Picture with me: A beautifully grand and royal kingdom, with streets lined with gold and everyone living in peace and harmony. Outside of the kingdom gates, however, sit a group of lying, thieving, adulterous, blasphemous, murderous, outsiders. They believe (albeit sincerely) that simply because they do some good stuff for other people, that they are earning their way to be able to live in the inner courts- the very throne room of this particular kingdom- that they don’t even belong to! They’re staking their very lives on it! The problem(s)? Let’s list them: they don’t belong to the kingdom, the people they are serving may not even belong to the kingdom, they’ve committed numerous crimes, and most importantly- the king doesn’t know who they are!
It sounds like a ridiculous notion when put like this, but that is exactly the issue with believing you can earn your way into Heaven by any way other than through salvation in Christ! In John 14:6 Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” Both Colossians 1:21 and Romans 5: 10 say that we are “enemies” of God before salvation. That means we were not a part of His Heavenly kingdom! Romans 3:10 says that no one is righteous, not even one. We can’t earn Heaven because we are all sinners; no matter how good we think we are. If we are alive, then we have broken, at the very LEAST, one of God’s commandments- that means we’re guilty! Having anything in us that is at all against the character of God is also considered sin.¬†So, regardless of the good we can do, it’ll NEVER be good enough because we are still GUILTY according to the perfect judge. We are not a part of God’s kingdom or His royal family until we let Jesus have control of our lives, recognizing that we are not going to have eternal life until we do; all-in-all, eternally worthless.
However, Ephesians 1:5 says that God has set us apart for adoption as sons (and daughters) through Jesus Christ, to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will. That means that once we’re saved- we’re the King’s children; inner courts baby! We are then WORTH EVERYTHING because we are God’s children, a royal priesthood, saved by the grace of someone who didn’t have to give up His very life- but did, just so we could have a bit of the Heaven that is prepared for us. That’s love- and that should make you feel pretty good. Self-deprecating behavior is not suitable for a saved, disciple of Christ. Jesus died to make you worth something; do not live like you’re not!
Where does humility really play into all this? Without humility you will never get to the point of realizing just how depraved and guilty you are before the very God who made you and will one day judge you. (It’s happening folks, even if you choose to ignore it, it¬†will¬†happen one day). Humility puts you on your knees, realizing that you are a criminal before God until you accept that the penalty for your crimes was paid for on the cross. He took the death sentence in our place. That humility also realizes that along with the Lordship of Christ, comes a royal placement in the family of God, making us truly worthy of eternity.
Humility recognizes that we are nothing WITHOUT HIM, we are capable of everything THROUGH HIM, we are priceless BECAUSE OF HIM, and we are no better than anyone else on this planet because it is only “by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9) That is, faith in Jesus Christ, not simply faith that you will get to Heaven someday by doing good things in this life.
So, today, you can accept that next compliment without being boastful… you can take pride in your work without being proud in your heart… you can let that insult slide because you know who you are and WHOSE you are… and you can bend down and wash the feet of that person that no one would dare touch- because your Savior did that and so much more.