The joy of humility

March 30, 2010

I’ve blogged several times in the past on humility, but I wanted to write about it again today because I am convinced that it is one of the primary things the Lord is highlighting to me personally and to the body of Christ in this season.

So often we just look at humility as going as low as possible, gritting our teeth and pasting a smile on our face as we endure a difficult situation, person, or circumstance. Yes, embracing humility is difficult. There are moments where our pride begins to rise up and say “No! I deserve better! I have better skill! I can say it better! I can do it better! I have more experience! This is my calling!” Humility goes against the grain of every fiber of our fallen, sinful nature. But God is not out to hurt our pride, as the old proverb goes. He is out to kill it.

God ordains seasons of difficulty, discord, and dissension to train us in humility. But God’s definition of humility is so much more than just “going low”. Yes, that is part of it. But in God’s eyes, humility is embracing the lowest place and finding great joy and delight there. It’s finding joy unspeakable in the last place - in the place of demotion, being overlooked, being misunderstood, or being hurt by another.

I’ve said several times before that God offends the mind to reveal the heart. When our lives are going well, it’s easy to carry our heart well before others and before the Lord. When both internal and external pressure and struggle comes, our real thoughts and emotions rise to the surface. His eyes are really watching us in those moments. How will we respond?

How much was our Lord overlooked, misunderstood, and unrecognized when He walked the earth as a Man? He was God from everlasting, perpetually worshipped by the angels and living creatures around His throne. Yet as a human, He walked the streets of Nazareth unrecognized, hearing the accusations of “illegitimate child!” from the mouths He himself had formed and gave breath to. Surely Jesus embraced the depths of humility, lived before the eyes of His Father, and found inexpressible joy in finding His fulfillment in His Father’s eyes. It was because of this, as the psalmist tells us, that Jesus was the happiest, most joyful Man that had ever lived:

“You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”
(Psalms 45:7 NKJV)

The great promise of Jesus to us as His children is to shepherd us through these deep seasons of humility training. But His gentle leading does not only console or comfort us when we feel the “sting”. As we reach for Him in the lowest place as Jesus did with His Father, a season of deep humility training turns into a season of being filled with the joy and delight of being at the “back of the line”.

So whether you are in a season like this now, or next time you are in a season where you know the Lord is training you, expect encounter with Him!

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About the author

Joshua Hawkins is a pastor, Bible teacher, and content creator for disciples of Jesus from College Station, Texas. He co-hosts The Apocalyptic Gospel Podcast, a weekly audio show exploring how a first century Jew would have understood the Gospel. He's also an all-around tech nerd and enjoys road cycling.

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