It is in keeping with God’s greatness that in order for us to come into His presence we must humble ourselves. Pride separates us from God, causing us to assert our supposed rights. Its very nature blinds us to our need of God. Humility is difficult for the flesh but is the door to freedom. Humility allows us to draw nigh to God. A church father wrote, “To humble himself will always move a man toward God. To exalt himself will always move him away from God. . . . Humility is a believer’s greatest asset. In humility there is strength and stability. A humble person is stronger than a proud one. A proud person is tossed about by the winds of pride and peer pressure. A humble person will quietly resist opposition and temptation, and he will leave a clear witness of his faith. Yet he will not be haughty or assertive. He can be taught and led, but he will not be persuaded against his conviction.” (Wilbur Koehn, The Return of the Light).
The enemy of our souls offers a substitute for genuine humility. This counterfeit is very deceitful. One of its guises is to appear humble to our fellowman without truly being humble in spirit. Do we maintain simplicity in our lifestyles and possessions because we feel God is asking this of us, or only so others will think we are sincere Christians? Is what we say in Sunday school a genuine expression of our heart, or have we carefully chosen words that we hope will appear humble to our brethren?
Pride will cause us to manipulate others. Perhaps a brother visits with us regarding a need in our life. Instead of quietly considering the concern, we may respond by exclaiming how worthless we feel, hoping that our brother will feel sorry for us and tell us that our need is not so great after all. Though there are legitimate emotional needs among us, the evil one may tempt us to shield ourselves from the concerns of others by hiding behind a perceived emotional need. Neither an estimation of worthlessness nor a self-right attitude constitutes humility. Rather, both point to a proud heart.
Humility is a way of life. Some people reason that as soon as they think they are humble they are lost. Such thinking lacks proper spiritual understanding. Humility is about the affections of the heart and is not isolated to a certain area of life. It is encompassing and affects every aspect of life—the vehicle we drive, the occupation we choose, the clothes we wear, the way we accept a traffic ticket, and a host of other things. Although we do not live in perfection, the humble Christian will accept a lowly way of life, confessing his faults where he is in error. When faced with decisions, he will choose the humble way.
Humility is a choice we make when we decide to give our all to Christ. We cannot expect God to do what He has asked us to do. The Word commands us to humble ourselves (1 Pet. 5:6). This is something we must do to open the door for our salvation. In seeking to humble ourselves, we must take care that our search is not only within ourselves. The inward look alone can be disorienting because the flesh cannot deal with the flesh. Our gaze must be fixed upward, to God. In one sense, humility is as simple as acknowledging God for what He really is. This allows us to have a right perspective of our standing before Him. We clearly see His greatness, and we see the futility of dealing with our pride with our own efforts. God has promised forgiveness and restoration to those who humble themselves and flee to Him for refuge.
From Adult and Youth Sunday School Lessons, Vol. 53, No. 3, Lesson 4