Today I want to talk about humility, about the importance of humility and the fact that salvation itself is impossible without it!
Before I became a Christian I didn’t believe in a personal God. I thought I was on my own, that everything was up to me and if anything were to happen I had to make it so. But the result of this self-directed life was failure, and many of those I loved were injured in the fallout.
God always had a plan for me, but I wasn’t listening. My pride prevented it.
I was forced into humility, driven to my knees and pride defeated, if only for a moment, by the collapse of my life.
Then I heard what God had to say to me, to my heart and my mind, and I accepted Christ.
Perhaps you went through a similar experience? Everything was going great according to the standards of the secular world, then one day it all fell apart. A tsunami crashed into your life, swept away or turned upside down all that you had worked for, loved & known.
Driven to your knees, humbled, you now, finally, heard the eternal voice of God calling out to you. You fell into the arms of Christ and were never the same again.
Perhaps your introduction to Christ came early in life, before the grip of the world around you rendered you deaf, but you strayed. The tsunami came to you as it did to me, rendered you humble and enabled you to hear Christ calling out to you, his lost sheep.
However you may have come to know Christ, humility is the one common denominator that made it possible.
The Big Idea
The plans of God the Father, Lord of heaven and earth, can be heard and understood only by those who are humble.
At that time Jesus said, “I praise you,
Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because
you have hidden these things
from the wise and learned,
and revealed them to little children.”
The Greek word for wise, sunetos, used in the context of this passage, implies conceit. Conceit is a trait of those who think of themselves wise and learned. They are proud, full of themselves, not humble and therefore unteachable.
Intelligence or mental acquirement; in a bad sense conceited
The Greek word for children, nepios, used in the context of this passage, on the other hand, describes empty vessels ready to be filled with knowledge and information. They haven’t lost their natural humility & relative innocence we lose as we grow older. There is little or no conceit or pride, therefore they are teachable.
Metaphorically a babe, one unlearned, unenlightened, simple, innocent
The prerequisite for understanding the plan of God is not to be wise and learned. It is to have the humility of a child.
-You do not need an advanced degree.
-You do not need great intellectual prowess.
-You do not need to have read many books.
-You do not need to have power.
– You do not need to have great intelligence.
IN FACT THESE TRAITS ARE AN IMPEDIMENT TO UNDERSTANDING GOD’S PLAN!
Have you ever had a conversation with someone and while they were talking you realized you hadn’t heard a word they said? You were too busy listening to your own thoughts and waiting for a break in the other person’s speaking so that you could say what was on your mind instead.
To listen you have to let go of your own thoughts and follow those of another! That takes discipline and maturity and HUMILITY!
Humility entails letting go of yourself.
When the “wise” man let’s go of his cleverness, his knowledge, his conclusions, his experience… so that he can listen to God, he gives up nothing! And gains everything!
It’s the same in our relationship with God. Especially with God. You have nothing to teach him: he already knows everything about you! That’s not to say he doesn’t want to hear from you, rather, he wants a relationship with you because he loves you: but we learn from him, not the other way around. So, we must shut off the babble in our minds, climb down from our high horse of pride, and listen.
If you put a banana in a pot with an opening just large enough for a monkey’s hand to slip inside, the monkey will be unable to remove the banana from the pot while holding onto it. We are like this monkey. If we don’t let go of our selves (the banana), we can never reach out to accept something better. And like this monkey, we are miserable.
You Can’t Know God Without it
As we have seen, hearing God’s voice without humility is impossible.
Most importantly: Humility is necessary for our initial Salvation.
But that’s just the beginning!
Once we see Jesus and accept him into our lives we are not done with humility! God has more to say to us! More to teach us!
So, it’s a moment by moment, ongoing process.
If we wonder why we aren’t closer to God, or why we are stuck in our walk with God or with an unanswered question or unsolved problem, then, perhaps it’s because of preoccupation with our own thoughts and feelings.
Let’s turn it around by becoming preoccupied with God instead!