Over the last three month’s BLOG posts, we have looked at the Virtues of Love listed in 1 Corinthians 13. We have referenced Henry Drummond’s essay, The Greatest Thing in the World. We started with Patience… Love passive (February 15) and moved on to its twin, Kindness…Love active (March 15). In April, we unpacked Generosity… the virtue that is written on God’s heart (John 3:16).
Today, we take a peek at Humility… the shy virtue. Humility is the most shy of all virtues because once you start talking about it…it leaves. It is also the hardest to attain because once we feel we have it…we don’t. Examining our hearts for the virtue of Humility often leads to us being proud of our Humility, and… poof… it’s gone!
Let’s take a glimpse of what Humility is and what it is not and then consider how we best can secure it for our lives to benefit those around us… especially non-believers. C.S. Lewis wrote this remarkable statement in his classic book Mere Christianity, about being humble, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself, it is thinking of yourself…less.” It is to be no longer always self-referencing, looking in the plate glass window as you stroll down the street to check yourself out or how you are being treated. It is “blessed self-forgetfulness.” It is the attitude of being willing to serve even without acknowledgement. Some examples might be: putting up chairs and cleaning up after a function or buying the toilet paper when someone else promised to do so, but forgot. Humble souls are teachable and receptive and have an “inner balance” that is noticeable but hard to describe.
The prideful attract attention to themselves and are impressed with their own position and relative importance. They cannot see that the truly great never indulge in self-display.
Well then, how does a person achieve Humility? You don’t! The virtue of Humility is a by-product of understanding, celebrating and unconditionally accepting the Gospel of Grace. That Gospel is simply that we are so sinful that it took the Son of God dying on the cross to reconcile us with God. That reconciliation is a free gift from God. When we accept this free gift and diligently, purposefully, coach it into our hearts through prayer, study and actively living it out, we will begin to bear the fruit of Humility and enjoy the freedom it brings without ever considering if, we are, in fact, humble.