Humility (1)

Genuine humility doesn’t draw attention to itself, so it has a tendency to be overlooked by people. Of course, there are times people do not see it, because it is truly absent. But perhaps the greatest problem for many is that they have a false or distorted idea of what humility is. And this misunderstanding may be true not only of the person being observed (and talked about), but also of those who are making the observations.

Some people believe that humility consists of merely belittling themselves. If praised for something they have done, they say their action was “nothing” – no matter how great or heroic that action may have actually been. In addition to belittling their actions, they may also say that they themselves are “nothing.”

When we look at the life of Jesus or the apostle Paul, we do not see this focus. Though there is indeed Biblical truth in considering oneself to be “nothing,” it is at best only half of the truth. The other half – the more important half – is this: we need to give credit to the one who deserves it, to God.

We are to bring Glory to God in everything.

Look at the examples in the Bible of genuine humility.

Jesus did many great things, but who did he tell the people to praise? The Father! Never did Jesus want people to go around boasting about Him! Many people did boast about Jesus, in disobedience to Him, and when they did so it caused problems for Jesus. See Mark 1:43-45 as an example.

And when the apostle Paul did wonderful things, he always gave God the credit for what was done, giving glory to God. He may have often admitted his weaknesses, but he also acknowledged God’s strength. In his mind, the two went together (2 Corinthians 12:10). We are weak; God is strong. Genuine humility will admit both, but its greatest desire is for God to receive the credit, the glory, that He deserves.

When the humble person does something that is good or praiseworthy, he does not say that what he did is “nothing” – that is, not good or praiseworthy. Instead, he truthfully acknowledges the fact that what he did came from God, and that it was possible only because of what God did in his heart. He does not want to steal the praise for himself, but to direct it toward the one who deserves it. Nor does he fail to give God the credit, by withholding deserved praise from God, by remaining silent.

In everything give thanks and praise – all glory to God.