James 4 says, ‘Humble yourself before the Lord.’ But what does this look like?
Here’s one option. If pride is “bigging myself up”, then humility must be about putting myself down. In other words;
- self-hatred, pretending to be godly. (I hate myself but sell it as meekness).
- self-deprecation, ‘oh no, it was nothing,’ (just ALL MY HARD WORK).
- martyrdom, (glaring over the dishes whilst others relax and saying, ‘no, I’m Fine. You just kick back and I’ll keep washing’).
- putting myself down to critical friends and family, (‘yeah I am a bit rubbish, aren’t I? hahahahahaha’).
I do all of these things; but whether I think I’m absolutely brilliant or absolutely terrible, I’m looking inwards…and the bible says that humility looks out.
There are lots of ways I can look out to others; and they’re very important…
looking after someone who is having a hard time.
listening, instead of trying to tell my own anecdotes.
forgiving others and showing them grace – even when it’s not my fault.
sharing a failure in my life that might help others.
accepting loving criticism and learning from it
But James has something even more radical in mind. He tells me to first look UP: “Humble yourself before the Lord.”
To have a proper view of myself I need to get “before the Lord.” When I do this, I see that humility is not about saying ‘I’m brilliant’ or ‘I’m rubbish’, but that ‘God is brilliant and He can use me.’ Humility is not lacking confidence, but having confidence in Him.