Pride as a natural human tendency
We may not speak about humility until we understand pride and what it does to a man. Pride goes before a fall and the humble man is made to stand by the Lord. Pride is anything that opposes the Lord and His mind towards us. Anything that takes the shape of Anti-God, Anti-Christ or Anti-Holy Spirit is nothing but pride. It is sensual, demonic and it’s punishable by separation from God. For scripture says God opposes the proud but gives grace to the Humble. What kind of life can a man really live outside of God? None, I believe. The natural man is naturally proud. In fact, that’s why he is a natural man. And being natural simply means when a man doesn’t recognize anything outside of his five senses. Meaning that to him, whatever he cannot see, touch, feel, taste, or hear doesn’t exist. How can such connect to Spirit and the deeper realities of life which are often not seen with the naked eyes or which are hidden from the five senses. Separation from God, which is the reward for a prideful heart should not be taken as a light issue. It is death in all its ramifications.
Humility as a learned human character trait is not some sanctimonious, holier-than-thou, religious act of gentleness or whatever other forms falseness comes in. And neither is it some form of self-degradation which puts one-self down just to be acceptable in the eyes of others.
Humility certainly has the character of the laid-down life, not to impress people but for the articulation and expression of that which is not seen but which is given of God as a path of faith. Humility is simply taking a stand by embracing who or whatever God calls you without any apologies to whoever doesn’t like it. Period! Humility is not naturally an endowment of the fallen man, he is not born with it, it is what he must learn on his journey on earth. That he learns it is completely dependent on no one else but him. God can help a man come to the place of learning humility, by creating situations around him, but humility is not one of the gifts of the Spirit that one is given. It must be acquired through submission to God. Humility as a character trait is that pattern of submission one makes towards God as a response to what He says we are in Him or what He showed us. It is more of a dependency on God in the course of becoming what He says we are, knowing that the magnitude of what He says we are or that He is showing us cannot be achieved by our own works and strength. According to the pattern of Christ we are admonished thus:
“ Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11 (NKJV)
This picture of the Christ learning humility in order to carry out his assignment is the exact way God deals with every one of us if we are open to recognize His dealings. The life that Jesus lived on the earth was beyond Him just coming to die for our sins, but also about Him coming to show us how to live on earth with accurate response to God the Father. This is where humility happens to us, in that we are confined to the mind of God for our lives and with a knowing that without Him we have no way of articulating that mind or how to live out His expectations.
Meaning that when God shows us who we are and the journey that will lead us to the fulfillment of that which He showed us, He knows that we can’t make it there by ourselves, so He gives us what to constantly look into the future for, which is the Joy (Christ) set on high even as we bear the weight of our cross of self-denial. This also is captured in these words written about Jesus “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12: 2 Emphasis Mine) Meaning that when a man truly understands humility as a laid down life for Christ and not some self-degradation to expectations of others, he walks tall even in the midst of hardship and negative circumstances of life.
The reward of humility
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,1 Peter 5:6 (NKJV)
There is an exaltation that comes with embracing the suffering of Christ in humility. It is a reward that Christ will give everyone who overcomes the pride of this life, who embraces humility as a character trait and who is not afraid to follow to the end. This reward is captured in these words of the Lord “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” Rev 3:21(NKJV) So as you deal with life each day while doing whatever is required of you for each day, do not forget that accurate response to God is what creates humility and not people pleasing or self degradation. And also remember that the reward for humility is a place in and with Christ.