Is There a Fertilizer for Humility?

How does true humility grow in the heart?

To some degree we’re probably all aware that pride lurks in the recesses of our heart and that humility is one of the deepest marks of godliness. And if we’re honest, we all have to admit that pride pokes its ugly head out in action or attitude in some way every day of our lives. So if God opposes those displays of pride, but gives grace to our pursuit of humility (James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5; cf. Prov. 3:34), how can we practically pour weed-killer on the roots of pride and fertilizer on the seeds of humility?

In a sermon on 1 Corinthians 13:4-5, Jonathon Edwards has a profound insight into the nature of humility. Merely knowing God’s greatness, Edwards argues, is not enough to really make us humble. After all, the demons in Hell know that God is great and they certainly aren’t humble! In Edwards’ words, true humility comes from knowing God’s greatness and His loveliness. “A sense or discovery of God’s greatness, without the sight of His loveliness will not do it [create humility]; but it is the discovery of his loveliness that affects it, and that makes the soul truly humble.”

Here’s the point: humility flourishes in our hearts when we recognize that God is infinitely greater than us and then delight in His greatness and our dependence. There’s a line in one of the Valley of Vision prayers that sums it up well: “I delight to know that all things are in Your hands, and I rejoice to leave them there.” Humility knows God is God and we are not – and sings for joy because of it.

Here’s where the practical part comes in. The next time you’re alone with God and His Word, in whatever form that may take, meditate on some of the ways God is God and you’re not, and praise Him for them! Here are just a few suggestions.

Praise God that He has always existed and has no needs, while you and I are dependent for every breath.

Psalm 50:11-12: “I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine.  12 If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for the world and its fullness are mine.”

Acts 17:25:  “He himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.”

Praise God that while we experience weariness every day and need His gracious gift of sleep, He never grows tired or weary.

Psalm 121:4: “Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.”

Isaiah 40:28: “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.”

Psalm 127:2: “He gives to his beloved sleep.”

Praise God that even the food you eat today is a gift from His hand.

Psalm 145:15-16: “The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.  16 You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.”

Psalm 111:5: “He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever.”

Praise God that our salvation comes entirely from His hand, without our efforts or good works.

Psalm 3:8: “Salvation belongs to the LORD; your blessing be on your people!”

Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Do You Notice Anything Fishy Here?

See if you can spot the differences between these two passages. When God originally placed Adam and Eve in the garden, he said to them:

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

When the serpent tested Eve, she responded by saying:

We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’

Notice anything fishy here? G.K. Beale does. He says of Eve:

It is more likely, however, that she either failed to remember God’s word accurately or intentionally changed it for her own purposes. The telltale sign of this is that each change appears to have theological significance. First, she minimizes their privileges by saying merely, “We may eat,” whereas God had said, “You may eat freely”; second, she minimizes the judgment by saying, “You will die,” whereas God said, “You will surely die,”; third, she maximizes the prohibition by affirming, “You shall not…touch,” whereas God originally said only,”You shall not eat.” (A New Testament Biblical Theology, pg. 35)

This paragraph hit me like a punch in the gut. Whenever we tamper with God’s word or forget God’s word, we are in serious danger of temptation! Hiding God’s word in our hearts is what protects us from temptation.

The 2 Most Amazing Words In The English Language

(From my prayer journal 12.28.11)

“And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (GA 2.20)

The two most amazing words I know – “for me”
Jesus, you did not simply give yourself,
You gave yourself for me
Came for me
Became human for me
Were tempted for me
And obeyed God for me
You were beaten for me
Scourged for me
Crowned with thorns for me
Nailed to the cross for me
Endured God’s infinite wrath for me
Gave up your life for me
Rose from the dead for me
Ascended to the right hand of God for me
And now you intercede for me
And wait for me
And exercise your rule and power for me.
How can I not love and adore you
And do all I can for you and for your glory?
How can I not overflow with thanks
For all you’ve done
For me?

(Ultimately, Jesus’ highest reason for coming for us was his Father’s glory and his own glory, but it’s astounding that we were the objects of his love and sacrifice).

What amazing words would you add?