Humility before God is a right recognition of who God is and who I am that leads to a right response. We must recognize that God is our Creator and we are his creatures. We must recognize that God is holy and we are not. From that right recognition flows a right response. Here are four:
Humble Obedience (Luke 17:7-10)
A servant does what he is commanded to do. If God is our Creator, if he made us, then he has the right to command us. As we recognize this, we should humbly obey. Pride, of course, rears its ugly head here and says, “I don’t want to obey. I want to do my own thing. Don’t tell me what to do.” Pride exalts us to God-status. But humility calls us to humbly obey the one true God.
Humble Service (Luke 17:7-10)
If God made us, then we belong to him. As such we owe him our service. It is simply our duty. We don’t deserve any prize, recognition, praise, or anything for our service. We simply are doing what we should do. This is humble service.
John the Baptist is a prime example of humble service. Here is a man with one of the greatest roles in all of history, but he doesn’t get a big head. He says that Jesus is greater, mightier, worthier. Indeed, he says that he is not worthy to untie Jesus’ sandal (Luke 3:18). In other words, he is not worthy to do serve Jesus in the most menial task. Nor are we. But Jesus calls us to serve him. What a privilege! As we grasp this we begin to offer humble service.
But John goes further. He says Jesus must increase but he must decrease (John 3:30). In other words – don’t look at me, look at him. It isn’t about me. It is all about him. Pride makes us forget this. Pride makes it all about me. Pride make my service about what I can get out of it. But it is all about him. When we grasp this, we can follow John in offering humble service that points others to Jesus.
Humble Gratitude (Luke 17:11-19)
One cleansed leper returns to humbly fall at Jesus’ feet and give him thanks. As we saw in the last section, we deserve nothing. But Jesus blesses us like he blessed the leper. As we recognize who God is and who I am, we ought to be amazed at God’s blessings. What is man that you are mindful of him? (Psalm 8:4). The more we grasp this right recognition, the more we will be incredibly grateful and humbly give thanks. Pride is not grateful. Pride demands. Pride expects. Pride thinks it deserves; it is entitled. As long as we think this way, we can never be grateful. Gratitude only flows from humility.
Humble Confession (Luke 18:9-14)
The tax collector had a right recognition of who God is and who he is. So he offers humble confession: “God, be merciful to me, a sinner” (v13). The Pharisee is caught up in his own good works. He is impressed with himself and thinks his good works impress God. That is pride. Pride thinks we are pretty good on our own. Pride forgets we are sinners. A right recognition that God is holy and I am not will lead to humble confession.
The Great Reversal (Luke 18:14)
One final amzing thing. If we walk in pride, God will humble us. But if we humble ourselves before our holy Creator, he will exalt us. He will exalt us with his love (see Psalm 103). And in his love, he humbled himself to become one of us. In love, he humbled himself to die on a cross for our sins that we might be forgiven and declared holy in his sight. And as we humbly believe in what Jesus did for us, we are exalted. We are exalted to a relationship with God. We are exalted as temples of God who now lives in us. We are exalted as children of God. We are exalted to a great inheritance.
Humility is a right recognition of who God is and who I am that leads to right responses. And the amzing thing is, if we humble ourseves in the sight of the Lord, and he will exalt us.