Tag Archives: Humility

HUMILITY

Humility Definition

Humility should be the goal of all who seek to follow Christ. Our culture refuses to acknowledge godly humility as a virtue. The culture pushes to make humility a scourge of the weak and downtrodden. That is because we see humility as a destination. Humility is a lifelong quest that probably never has a destination, but it can find a resting place. We can rest in humility along the journey that is before us. We need not always be in building mode. In our humility we can allow others to thrive and prosper.

The prophet Micah says, “He (God)has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” A life that is well lived involves more than being just and kind. We are to learn to walk humbly with God. Walking humbly with God means several things:

  • Understand that God is our creator.
  • See him as the source of all blessings that come our way.
  • Never try to take his place.
  • Live a life of love and not judgement.
  • Always think of the needs of the other.

As we strive to reach those goals, we find ourselves moving further away from the world and closer to that humble walk with God. God has sought for you and me to walk humbly with him ever since the fall of Adam. Remember, God walked with Adam in the cool of the evening in the garden. When Adam chose knowledge over walking with God, he was cast out of the Garden. Since that day God has worked on restoring his walks with us.

To walk humbly with God means to walk with him as our God and creator. Humility is a place of rest in the presence of God.

Quotes Banner

True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”

― Rick Warren

As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on thing and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down you cannot see something that is above you.

― C.S. Lewis

Talent means nothing, while experience, acquired in humility and with hard work, means everything.

― Patrick Süskind

There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.

― Ernest Hemingway

In the course of my life, I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet.

― Winston Spencer Churchill

Every person that you meet knows something you don’t; learn from them.

― H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Life is a long lesson in humility.

― J.M. Barrie

True humility does not know that it is humble. If it did, it would be proud from the contemplation of so fine a virtue.

― Martin Luther

The seeker after truth should be humbler than the dust. The world crushes the dust under its feet, but the seeker after truth should so humble himself that even the dust could crush him. Only then, and not till then, will he have a glimpse of truth.”

― Mahatma Gandhi

Until you have suffered much in your heart, you cannot learn humility.

― Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica

The more humble and obedient to God a man is, the more wise and at peace he will be in all that he does.”

― Thomas à Kempis

There are two things that men should never weary of, goodness and humility; we get none too much of them in this rough world among cold, proud people.

― Robert Louis Stevenson



Scripture Banner

The reward for humility and fear of the Lord

   is riches and honor and life.

~~~Proverbs 22:4

In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you must clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for

‘God opposes the proud,

   but gives grace to the humble.’

~~~1 Peter 5:5

When pride comes, then comes disgrace;

   but wisdom is with the humble.

~~~Proverbs 11:2

But he gives all the more grace; therefore it says,

‘God opposes the proud,

   but gives grace to the humble.’

~~~James 4:6

He has told you, O mortal, what is good;

   and what does the Lord require of you

but to do justice, and to love kindness,

   and to walk humbly with your God?

~~~Micah 6:8

if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

~~~ 2 Chronicles 7:14

For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.’

~~~ Luke 14:11

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.

~~~Philippians 2:3

Towards the scorners he is scornful,

   but to the humble he shows favor.

~~~Proverbs 3:34

He leads the humble in what is right,

   and teaches the humble his way.

~~~Psalm 25:9

For thus says the high and lofty one

   who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:

I dwell in the high and holy place,

   and also with those who are contrite and humble in spirit,

to revive the spirit of the humble,

   and to revive the heart of the contrite.

~~~Isaiah 57:15Prayer Banner

Lord, Humility allows us to accomplish so much more than we can when we are stuffed to overflowing with pride. As we surrender to the humility of knowing that we are your creation, we can see clearly your love for us. Help me, Lord, to discover my true worth so I may discard my false worth. My false worth is of my own creation and must be laid aside and replaced by my God created worth as shown by the God who walks with me.

Amen

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Day 15 Humble Yet Alert March 13

Day 15Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves; keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour.

—Hebrews 5:6-8


Question – How can my humility keep me alert to the evil one?


Prayer – LORD, the world teaches me that humility is weakness, but you teach that it is strength. Give me the courage to be humble as a way of being aware of the evil that is all around me. In that humility, you give me strength. Amen

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Benedictine Spirituality 5

The first step of humility is unhesitating obedience, 2which comes naturally to those who cherish Christ above all. It is love that impels them to pursue everlasting life; therefore, they are eager to take the narrow road of which the Lord says: Narrow is the road that leads to life (Matt 7:14). They no longer live by their own judgment, giving in to their whims and appetites; rather they walk according to another’s decisions and directions, choosing to live in monasteries and to have an abbot over them.


——-The Rule of St. Benedict

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Kingdom Humility

 

‘There was a spiritual old man who lived a secluded life. He was held in high estimation in the city and enjoyed a great reputation. He was told that a certain old man, at the point of death, was calling for him, to embrace him before he fell asleep. He thought to himself, if I go by day, men will run after me, giving me great honor, and I shall not be at peace in all that. So I will go in the evening in the darkness and I shall escape everyone’s notice. But lo, two angels were sent by God with lamps to give him light. The whole city then came out to see his glory. The more he wished to flee from the glory, the more he was glorified. In this was accomplished that which is written: “He who humbles himself will be exalted.” ‘

——-Abba John the Dwarf

Every person who seeks to be a fervent follower of God wants to be seen as humble. Humility is the identifying hallmark of Jesus our Savior. No matter how hard we try, we are still driven by the human desire to be recognized and appreciated. Much of our spiritual journey is spent trying to control our need to succeed. After much prayer and determination we may arrive at the point in life where we really don’t want the spotlight and recognition. Then the new journey begins. Our challenge now is how do we avoid worldly affirmation and acclaim?

The spiritual old man was struggling with that very challenge. He, no doubt, had put much prayer and work to arriving at place in life where he shunned the notice of others. He wanted to comfort the brother who had reached out to him, but he devised a plan of making sure that his act of kindness would be done in the dark of night. That way, he thought, no one would notice, but God had another plan. God decided to send angels to light his path. This display of spiritual presence brought a torrent of attention on the spiritual old man. The very attention that he had sought to avoid was what he received. What does this mean?

Abba John uses the scripture: “He who humbles himself will be exalted” as a way of expressing why such attention is thrust upon the spiritual old man. The truth that I would like to point out is that acclaim only has value if God is the source. The world recognizes worldly values, God recognizes kingdom values. Perhaps if we all sought to be anonymous purveyors of blessing, we may find ourselves more valued by God and the world than we ever dreamed or imagined. The key to getting all the acclamation, success and self-esteem we can handle is found in the ability to be truly humble. That is kingdom humility and it is the goal of every follower of the Christ.


Prayer

Lord instill in me the form of humility that is not derived in self depreciation and doubt but one that is spiritually placed by you. I ask you today to give me the insight to understand what you mean by humility so that I might be one who is gifted with kingdom humility. With that gift we are allowed to be tremendous servants to the world. Lord I pray for this gift and with it I may be your faithful servant.

Amen

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The Garment of Humility

There are certain kinds of trees which never bear any fruit as long as their branches stay up straight, but if stones are hung on the branches to bend them down they begin to bear fruit. So it is with the soul. When it is humbled it begins to bear fruit, and the more fruit it bears the lowlier it becomes. So also the saints; the nearer they get to God, the more they see themselves as sinners.

—–Dorotheos of Gaza

Paul called himself the chief, or first, of sinners. Isaiah said, “We are all sheep that have rebelled, and gone our own way, and God has laid our sin upon the shoulders of the messiah.” (My paraphrase) When we can come to grips with these three factors: we are all primarily sinners, we will go our way and Jesus took ours sins upon himself, we will begin the process of becoming humble. Without the humbling of our souls, we will never do the true work of God. On our own we can become legally righteous and live a “punch list” sort of Christianity, but the spirit of the ONE who went to the cross for us will never be the pervasive force in our lives.

Humility-MertonA great deal of energy is expended to avoid pain and difficulty in our lives. We shield our children and consequently ourselves from the reality of the world that surrounds us. These activities in and of themselves are not harmful or sinful. They can, however,r lead to a false sense of accomplishment and safety that does not challenge us to meet the powers of this world and find the victory that comes when we do. We are given battles, our souls are weighed down, our branches are pruned, but all of these things make us stronger in our reliance in God. Most importantly, we are reminded that we are fatally flawed without our reliance on Him.

Coming nearer to God, as the monk says, is a matter of acknowledging our sins and living with them and not being controlled by them. We will never know the true power of God until we recognize our weaknesses. If we are to bear fruit in this life we must don the garment of humility that weighs down the arms of self-sufficiency that so naturally dominate us. Such an action will bring humility to our souls and spiritual productivity to our lives.

Humility-CS-Lewis1

Prayer

Lord, give me the wisdom to know the need and marshal the courage to accept the garment of humility that my sinful soul so badly needs. By accepting the garment, I am allowing you to lead me in the direction of spiritual humility which blesses me and those I encounter. Lord, this day I ask my arms to be drawn down by confession of my sins, so I might be lifted by your grace.

Amen

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Self – Justification/Humility

Abba John said, ‘We have put the light burden on one side, that is to say, self-accusation, and we have loaded ourselves with a heavy one, that is to say, self-justification.’

He also said, ‘Humility and the fear of God are above all virtues.’

Abba John gave this advice, ‘Watching means to sit in the cell and be always mindful of God. This is what is meant by, “I was on the watch and God came to me.” (Matt. 25:36) One of the Fathers said of him, ‘Who is this John, who by his humility has all Scetis hanging from his little finger?’

—-ABBA JOHN THE DWARF


The two competing margins of any man are self-justification and humility. We all have a great drive to be the controllers of our own destiny. To achieve that destiny we must find ways to justify our actions. There are many people that are consumed with, meeting the right people, doing the right thing, being seen at the proper places and above all else being in control. As I see it, self-justification is just another way of being a controller.

The Monk said that self – justification was a heavy burden to bear. Not only was it heavy, but it is a burden that we choose to bear. Man has a tendency to load himself down with burdens that originate with our own ego. Our ego tells us that control is the primary objective of life.  Perhaps the greatest expression of control that is observed in our spiritual journey is the art of self – justification.

The Monk observes that humility and fear of God are the greatest virtues that anyone can possess. Those virtues, in conjunction with the ability to “sit” and wait on God will bring us to better place than we could have ever hoped for or imagined. The Monk desire that the community to be  “hanging from his little finger,” this came about as the natural result of living a life that seeks God above all else. The Benedictine rule instructs us how to greet our guests. “At the door of the monastery, place a sensible old man who knows how to take a message and deliver a reply, and whose age keeps him from roaming about. This porter will need a room near the entrance so that visitors will always find him there to answer them. As soon as anyone knocks, or a poor man calls out, he replies, ‘Thanks be to God’ or ‘Your blessing, please’.” Such humility can go a long way in reaching people with the good news of Christ. Self-justification takes us nowhere other than the path of control and evil self-righteousness. Perhaps that needy knock on the door is God calling us. Let us seek Him. May we choose our path.

 

  • What do you seek?
  • How do you seek it?
  • Why do you seek?

Prayer

Lord fill me with the humility that is necessary to seek Your face. Allow me to discover virtue in those You send my way. Give me the patience to wait on You in the place You have given me. For in humility, virtue and waiting You reveal your glory to me and make it possible for me to live in peace and harmony.

Amen

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Humility and Submission

One of the fathers use to say, ‘before anything else we need humility: a being ready to listen whenever a word is spoken to us, and to say, “I submit”, because through humility every device of the enemy, every kind of obstacle, is destroyed.

——Dorotheos of Gaza

Perhaps the definition and function of humility is the foremost issue for anyone who wishes to follow the path of God. Humility is the ability to put yourself last, jesus Quoteand to accept hardships that come along with the path of God. For any of us to follow after God, we must have the capacity to submit to God and others. Acquiescing to God is a tough charge, but to others is a near impossibility. We all find submission a problematic part of living. The monk says that submission is the first action, and that all others will follow. Humble wisdom gives us the capacity to sense the good in an act of submission. Further, it is the act of choosing the path that will lead to peace with God and our fellow man. Our day is full of strife and conflict. We live in a time where everyone demands to be heard and followed. Our challenge is to be humble enough to learn the value of a simple act of submission.

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Laboring for Humility


Abba Carion said, ‘I have labored much harder than my son Zacharias and yet I have not attained to his measure of humility and silence.’

 —-Sayings of the Desert

Person in prayer Very few of us would think of humility as a laborious task, yet the Abba speaks this word about himself. There are two distinct lines of thought in this very brief saying. First, humility is not only a sought after state for the contemplative but is a lifelong labor. The second is the apparent unfairness of some people being rewarded even if they labor less than we do.

 Humility is a hard task, and we must wake every day to the familiar words of the Jesus Prayer, “… have mercy on me, a SINNER.” Until we see ourselves as worthy of nothing but graciously gifted with His saving grace, we will never attain any sort of true humility.

 Feeling cheated or let down by God is an age old problem. So many times in our lives we have felt as though we have done all we can do, and we are still lacking. Exasperatingly, we are confronted with others who did less and received abundant blessings. The lesson here is that we do what we do out of love and worship of God, and not for reward from Him.

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Humility and Strength

Abba Poemen said of Abba John the Dwarf that he had prayed God to take his passions away from him so that he might become free from care.  He went and told an old man this: ‘I find myself in peace, without an enemy,’ he said. The old man said to him, ‘Go, and beseech God to stir up warfare so that you may regain the affliction and humility that you used to have, for it is by warfare that the soul makes progress.’ So he besought God and when warfare came, he no longer prayed that it might be taken away, but said, ‘Lord, give me strength for the fight.’

—-sayings of the desert

Our society cries out that a relationship with God is all about prosperity, victory and success. The wise men of the desert voice a different view, and we have much to learn from them. Abba John the Dwarf prayed for all passions to be extinguished from his life so that he might be carefree, but the pastor (poeman means pastor) tells him that struggle is part of the journey. In our struggles we learn the important lesson of humility, which turns us away from self and toward others, especially the ultimate other-God. Humility teaches us the need to be silent, to pray, to worship, and to understand the greatness of God. Then we can know that we must pray, ‘Lord, give me strength for the fight.’

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