humility is a gift

Christian humility is unique, and is nothing less than a gift through Jesus. Always and forever in our lives it is pure gift.

Sometimes through circumstances people humble themselves and change in ways that on a human plane are for the better. Or someone will be overcome with guilt, even as Judas Iscariot was, and will do something rash, not good. In both of these cases we don’t see the humility to which God calls his people in Jesus.

Jesus is the only one who could say, “I am humble in heart.” At least with the kind of humility which is to characterize the new humanity in Jesus. Therefore this humility is sheer gift always from God through Jesus.

Sometimes pride will rear up its ugly head in our lives, and we become aware of it. And we want to fight it off. This is where we need to humble ourselves, but the difference being that we humble ourselves before God. With the promise that when we do, he will lift us up. But it must be his lifting, and that lifting will be accompanied with this gift of humility in and through Jesus.

Something I have found helpful when struggling to really humble myself before God is praying over and over again what is called the “Jesus Prayer“:

Lord Jesus, Son of God. Have mercy on me a sinner.

One can breathe in and out as they say this prayer, and I say it to the point where it brutalizes me, so to speak. Because it takes that practice and length of it, to finally get through my hard, stubborn heart. And help me see the real me through God’s grace. And through God’s grace have a truly meek and repentant heart.

Something that I think sets us up to be aware of our sin is the reciting over and over again, like the Israelites do with the Shema, what has aptly been called “the Jesus Creed”:

‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12

We are weak in this life, and we need practices like this to help get us “centered” again and again. We can almost mark it down that we will tend always to be going off center. As the hymn goes: “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.” And again and again during the course of a day, or at least during part of it, I like to recite “the Lord’s prayer.”

Let us not imagine at any time that we are humble. Again that humility resides only in Jesus, and is always a gift from God through him.  By the Spirit may we learn to live and walk in this humility in Jesus more and more. Together in love and service in Jesus for the world.