Is there a quality that God values more than humility? If there is, I’m not sure what it would be.
Peter had learned this lesson from Jesus firsthand. Jesus quizzed Peter, asking him three times if he loved him, once for every time Peter had denied him. That Jesus felt compelled to ask the question so many times hurt Peter’s heart deeply.
But he humbled himself and answered Jesus’ question once, then twice, then a third time. “Jesus,” Peter said, “you can see right into my heart. You know what’s in there, because you know all things. You know that I love you.”
I think of other humble men of God, like David, who trustingly left his city and his nation in God’s hands when his own son Absalom attacked him: “If I find favor in the Lord’s eyes, he will bring me back and let me see it and his dwelling place again. But if he says, ‘I am not pleased with you,’ then I am ready; let him do to me whatever seems good to him.”
A thousand years later, a mild-mannered but persistent Canaanite woman, who thought Jesus was going to refuse to help her, gently pressed him. Jesus had said, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” With deep humility, the woman responded, “Yes, Lord but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the master’s table.”
God values humility so highly that he wants us to wear it as clothing. Humility puts our “style” on display. It keeps us protected from the elements. It prevents us from being spiritually naked. Humility is to be our normal “attire.”
No one does these things naturally. We do it only by Spirit-powered faith in our God who promises to lift us up in due time; who cares so deeply for us that he invites us to cast all our anxiety on him.
The bottom line? Only when we trust that God graciously shows favor to the humble will we take the risks that humility demands. And make no mistake, humility always require risk.
Just ask any of the men or women above, from David to the Canaanite woman to Peter. Or better yet, ask Jesus, who humbled himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross.
As any of them would also tell you, however — with great risk comes great reward!
“All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
‘God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.’
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:5b-7, NIV).
Lord Jesus, you humbled yourself to rescue and save me. By your grace and power, grant me a humble spirit today and every day, so that I may thank you for your perfect sacrifice for my sins.
Our Bible reading for Thursday, November 26, is Daniel 1:1 – 2:23, 1 Peter 5:1-14 and Psalm 134:1-3.