Growing In Godliness Blog
“Humility”Categories: Author: Larry Coffey, Humility, Jesus
By Larry Coffey
A few weeks ago, a friend told me about a man she knew who had decided he no longer wanted to undergo kidney dialysis on which his life depended. As a result, he died in less than 24 hours. She further stated he had instructed his family to have Frank Sinatra’s popular song, “My Way,” played at his funeral services. That song always makes me think about humility, or the lack thereof.
The lyrics of the first stanza of that song are as follows:
“And now the end is here
And so I face that final curtain
My friend I’ll make it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain
I’ve lived a life that’s full
I traveled each and every highway
And more, much more
I did it, I did it my way”
There are three more stanzas to the song all of which end with “I did it my way.”
A number of themes are found in the Bible such as faith, love, obedience, and others which include humility. The Bible clearly teaches no one can please God who is not humble in spirit. We see many Bible examples of those who were not humble, those who did it their way. In Ex. 5:2, Pharoah says, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover, l will not let Israel go.” God said to Pharoah, “How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me?” (Ex. 10:3) We know how that ended for Pharoah.
Nebuchadnezzar was the great king of Babylon. He rejected Daniel’s advice and said in Daniel 4:30, “Is this not the great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” He did it his way. While he was speaking, the kingdom was taken from him and he ended up in the fields eating grass. After learning his lesson, his kingdom was restored and his speech changed as recorded in Dan. 4:37, “I praise and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just, and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.” In Acts 12, we have King Herod receiving praise and being exalted in pride, and he was eaten by worms and died.
The biggest threat to our efforts to be humble is success. It is hard for the Super Bowl winner not to think how great he is. Or, the CEO of a large corporation not thinking the success of the company is due to his unique skills. However, it is not limited to these kinds of successes. I have known gospel preachers who were sought out for gospel meetings across the country and being told what wonderful preachers they were, to allow that success to affect their humility. Dee Bowman told a story about a preacher friend. He said they were talking on the phone on a Monday and he asked how services had gone where the preacher spoke on Sunday. The preacher said great. He said it was probably the best lesson he had ever preached. When Dee asked the topic, the preacher said “Humility.” I suspect Dee was jesting. I do well remember Gerry Sandusky when receiving compliments for his preaching, always deflected the comments about himself by responding, “Isn’t God great?”
No one is exempt from the temptation to think highly of themselves. We all have degrees of success and it is easy to start taking credit for the abilities and opportunities God has given us. No matter what we may achieve, it is God that needs to be thanked. God said in Is. 57:15, “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit.” Is. 2:11 says, “The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.”
Of course, our best example of humility is Jesus. In Mt. 11:29, he said he was meek and lowly in heart. In John 13, he washed the disciples’ feet. In Phil. 2:8 we read, “he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” He said in Mt. 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
We must remember it is not “my way” that is important. Rather, it is God’s way to which we must humble ourselves and follow.