Tim Keller writes, “Humility is so shy. If you begin talking about it, it leaves.” I love the irony! Keller means, of course, that to the degree that we talk about our own humility, we’re actually not practicing such a virtue in that moment.
But perhaps humility is also “shy” in that it is often the last quality we consider as the solution to our inner struggles. Maybe we need to revisit Jesus’ words on the subject?
Last night, after many days, possibly even weeks of battling some fear and a general state of feeling overwhelmed with the many things facing me, I believe the Lord, through the Holy Spirit, spoke to my heart. “Be humble. In all these things, take the humble path. Fear and anxiety will leave when you take the posture of humility, my child.”
Now, that may not seem earth-shattering to you, but for me, in that moment, God turned a light on inside me. My attitude has not been to just humbly walk through all that faces me, but to succeed and “be the best” or “do the best” at every single thing! Impossible! Not godly! While serving day in and day out in acts for my family, my church, and for others around me, I was forgetting what all Christian service is actually called…worshiping God! You can’t do that with a “be the best” or “do the best” attitude. Who of us can worship God “the best?”
If anything, Jesus tells us that in His kingdom, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” Mark 9:35 He tells his disciples this just after they’d been arguing about who “was the greatest!” While I once didn’t see myself in the disciples’ behavior, arguing about who was the greatest, I suddenly identified. There I was!
Friend, it’s easy to pass over things the disciples said in Scripture with just a passing thought…”Oh, wow, were they off the mark!” “I would never say that to Jesus!” “They just really didn’t get it!” But God wants us to see ourselves there in the midst of their misunderstanding. Let’s learn from their misunderstandings.
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Tim 3:16-17
Let’s let humility be the antidote to our fear and anxiety. Jesus called his disciples to it then, and he calls his disciples to it now.