The word “Humility” has been defined in several ways over the course of history. Some say it’s to “Think less of oneself”, others say it is “Thinking of oneself less” and some just call it “The opposite of pride”. However, I’ve found the best definition. One Sunday at CYF, Reverend Benjamin Okere defined humility as “When a man concludes in his heart that without God, he cannot do anything good”. This, my beloved, is the ultimate truth.
While singing “You are the pillar that holds my life, Master Jesus” a while back, God gave me a visual to those words. There was a big unmovable pillar in the view, and I was leaning on it. I was represented by an umbrella. An object such as an umbrella can never stand on it’s own, it either leans on a support or lies down flat on the floor. That’s how our lives are; without The Pillar, we would fall in life, and eventually get trampled upon. Our standing and struggling in the midst of the chaos of this world is made possible only by Supernatural effort.
“For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself” – Galatians 6:3. We as humans tend to always want to receive praise for even the littlest of things. But the truth is that we deserve absolutely no praise. “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” – 1 Corinthians 4:7. Let God alone be praised. Let God alone be exalted. We are already very far behind in thanking God for everything he has done, we can never thank him enough. Our thanks can never meet up to His provision for us. Therefore whenever we are covered in glory, we should seize that opportunity to return the praise to God. This way, “The name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in Him”. As the baptist said in John 3:27: “A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven”. Do you know the only good that can ever come from our lives without God? Nothing! “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above” – James 1:17. There’s not a scintilla of good we have ever done that did not come from God, no matter how large or how small. Honestly, I don’t think there is anything more humbling than knowing that only bad, evil and wicked things can come from us as humans. Scripture says “The heart (of man) is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked”. In fact, “Every imagination of the thoughts of his heart is only evil continually” – Genesis 6:5. It might sound funny, but I believe if not for God, we would have all killed one another in this world.
One of the ways God helped me see my nothingness was during His curbing of my judgmental spirit. We all have times when we feel extremely pure and consecrated, especially during fasts. During these times we tend to look down on others spiritually. Whenever incubated like that in God’s presence, I felt absolutely sinless. I boasted to myself all the time that if Christ came at that time I’d be spotless. However, the catch was that no matter how long I spent in God’s presence, immediately I finished I stumbled at the slightest temptation. For example; I could be driving and another driver insults me for not moving literally 1 second after the traffic light turned green (Lagosians do this for a living), and I react wrongly by talking back at him. I then go from saint to a hopeless sinner very quickly. God sometimes lets this happen to remind us that our righteousness is actually nothing, in fact it’s as a “filthy rag”. When you’re too busy confessing your sins to God and praying for grace you wouldn’t have time to look at someone else’s sins. We should learn from the Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14 who thanked God he was not a sinner and compared himself to others, rather than access himself. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” – 1 John 1:8. Sometimes we forget that “It is God that works in us both to will and to do his purpose” – Philippians 2:13. Just like Jesus, who is the Son of God, we should remind ourselves daily: “I can of mine own self do nothing” – John 5:30.
What are those things we love to get all the praises for? Is it money? “It is He that gives the power to get wealth”. Is it position and power? “All the powers that be are ordained of God”. Is it eloquence of speech? Jesus says “It is not you that speaks, but the Spirit of your Father which speaks in you”. Do you always look radiant? Numbers 6:25 says “The LORD makes his face shine upon thee”. Even the little things we see and hear from God everyday. Jesus says: “Many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them” – Matthew 13:17. We came naked and empty and will leave the same. As 1 Timothy 6:7 says: “We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out”.
God hates nothing more than when man revels in glory for the things He Himself has given. Remember Herod in Acts 12:21 who made a powerful oration to the people. They praised him and some even called him a god. His speech was no doubt brilliant, he deserved to be praised, but he did one thing wrong. Verse 23 says “Immediately the angel of The Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory”. Why provoke God to anger when our lives are so feeble? “For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” – James 4:14. Herod loved the praise of men, but honor from man is nothing. Luke 6:26 says: “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! For so did their fathers to the false prophets”. If only Herod knew that “For that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15), I’m sure he would have quieted the crowd.
Many are so ‘puffed up’, that there’s not enough space for the Holy Spirit in them, talk less of Jesus and Father. True Christians however, have The Godhead living on the inside of them. Now the level of humility of the Christian is how much exalted The Trinity is in them, and how low ‘self’ is. As John said: “He must increase, but I must decrease”. When such a person stands before Christ in judgement, Jesus is literally going to see a reflection of Himself, hence judge with mercy and love. Moreover, for one who is full of himself, Jesus sees the the person only during judgement, for who they really are, with no mercy to plead for him. Such a person stands “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” – Revelation 3:17.
Jesus Himself showed the perfect example of pure nothingness, despite actually being GOD. Scripture says He “made himself of no reputation”! If Jesus for once thought about how powerful He actually was (and is), especially during the events prior to his death, He may have destroyed them all. David also, the king of Isreal saw the nothingness of his being so clearly that he danced around the country half naked like a little boy, leaping and whirling! A grossly shameful act in the eyes of men, that his loving wife looked at him from afar and despised him for abasing himself to such a low, especially in front of his servants. But David, knowing that “Whoever exalts himself shall be abased, and he that humbles himself shall be exalted” replied her by saying: “I will even be more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight. But as for the servants of whom you have spoken, by them I will be held in honor”. The great apostle Paul, who wrote almost half of the books of the New Testament, and is arguably the greatest worker ever for Christ called himself “less than the least of all saints”, and “the least of the apostles” more than once. Just as he said in 2 Corinthians 10:18: “For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom The Lord commendeth”.
There is this inner peace that comes with seeing oneself as nothing, one becomes impervious to insults. One day while driving, a hawker came up to my window and kept shoving some shoes in my face, I dismissed him curtly. He then got upset and said “Broke guy! I’m sure it’s not even your car, you just borrowed it”. I was stung. Of course I didn’t reply him, but honestly I was very upset. Later when I cooled off, I realized everything he said was true! Firstly, the car is for my parents, not mine. Secondly, I actually did not have any money. Why was I then so upset? All the man did was tell me the same things I tell myself daily. I quickly realized that a lot of times we subconsciously make ourselves seem more than what we actually are. But Romans 12:3 tells man “Not think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly”.
Dr A.W Tozer explains this best in this excerpt from the magnificent book, The Pursuit Of God:
“The meek man cares not at all who is greater than he, for he has long ago decided that the esteem of the world is not worth the effort. He develops toward himself a kindly sense of humor and learns to say, `Oh, so you have been overlooked? They have placed someone else before you? They have whispered that you are pretty small stuff after all? And now you feel hurt because the world is saying about you the very things you have been saying about yourself? Only yesterday you were telling God that you were nothing, a mere worm of the dust. Where is your consistency? Come on, humble yourself, and cease to care what men think.’ “
The song “What Can I Do” by Tye Tribbett is a great song we can confess our nothingness and total reliance to God with.
Now we shouldn’t live a life of low esteem and depression (as the world wants) in order to humble ourselves. As Jesus said, we are “The light of the world”, a city set on a hill”, we “cannot be hidden”! “We are more than conquerors”! Only this, we should always give God the glory, and put on the unlikely armor of Nothingness.
O what is man without God?
But clay, but mud
From day one he sought rebellion
Fit for perish, save the grace of Elyon
A speck of dust, nothing more nothing less
There is but one way to make things best:
No naughtiness, no haughtiness, just plain old nothingness.
Nothingness without Jesus is worthlessness. Visit our Salvation Page today and be everything in Him.
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