A Mark of True Godliness
True godliness grows in the soil of humility. We may have great giftings, wonderful abilities, great aspirations, tremendous passion, and the utmost diligence, and we may even apparently be successful and useful—but all of that amounts to nothing if we lack humility.
So, what is humility? Genuine humility reveals itself in keeping short accounts in regard to sin: coming continually to God with a repentant heart and recognizing ourselves to be in desperate need of God’s help every day and for every occasion. It lies in understanding that our need of Jesus and His transforming power in our lives is not partial; it’s total. As Jesus Himself told us, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Humility recognizes that the very breath we breathe, all that we possess, and all that we are result from God’s grace and goodness to us.
Humility means serving rather than being served. It means giving rather than taking. It means responding to the leadership of others rather than always insisting upon our own. It means fitting into others’ arrangements rather than demanding that everyone fit into ours.
Yet the humility of those who serve Christ is not merely an absence of pride or an awareness of our limitations. The opposite of self-love is not self-denigration but love for God. The answer to our being puffed up is not to hate ourselves or to deny the gifts God has given us; it is to steel our focus on the Lord Himself, recognizing, as the psalmist says, that God has exalted above all things His name and His word (Psalm 138:2).
The only people whom God will ultimately lift up are humble people—those who have recognized who they are, what they are, and how great their need of God is. Through the prophet Isaiah God declared, “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit” (Isaiah 57:15, emphasis added). Later, He added, “This is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word” (Isaiah 66:2).
Keep your eyes on the Lord Jesus, and He will look to you. You did not make yourself. You did not save yourself. You did not gift yourself. You are utterly dependent upon God’s grace. Look to Him, and He will lift you up. And when you know yourself to be lifted up in His loving sight, then you are ready to serve His people with all that He has given you.
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?
Mary's Song of Praise: The Magnificat
46And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
54He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
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