"Seek the Lord, all in the land who live humbly by His laws, seek righteousness, seek a humble heart; it may be that you will find shelter in the day of the Lord's anger." (Zeph 2:3 NEB).
Humility is having a lowly opinion of oneself, free from self-will and submissive to the authority of God. It is the opposite of pride and arrogance. But how do we become truly humble? Christ Jesus the Son of God provided the answer when he said: "Bend your necks to my yoke, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble-hearted; and your souls will find relief." (Matt 11:29 NEB). Only by the submission of our will to Christ's God-given authority (his "yoke") can we be his disciples and learn true humility.
During his earthly ministry, Christ gave a parable of two men and their prayers to God. One was a Pharisee, the other a tax collector: "The Pharisee stood and began to pray these things to himself, 'O God, I thank you I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unrighteous, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give the tenth of all things I acquire.' But the tax collector standing at a distance was not willing even to raise his eyes heavenward, but kept beating his breast, saying, 'O God, be gracious to me a sinner.' I tell you, This man went down to his home proved more righteous than that man; because everyone that exalts himself will be humiliated, but he that humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 18:11 14). This means that we must willingly become lowly of mind.
IDENTIFYING MOCK HUMILITY.
Mock humility can be identified by a lack of
spiritual 'fruitage' evident in that person's attitude, speech or conduct.
Christ said, "A good tree cannot bear worthless fruit,
neither can a rotten tree produce fine fruit... Really then, by their fruits you
will recognize those men." (Matt 7:18,20). And this is true of many
apostates, for "the works they do, they do to be viewed
by menů They like the most prominent place at evening meals and the front seats
in the synagogues, and the greetings in the marketplaces
("places of assembly") and
to be called Rabbi ("My great one; My excellent
one") by men." (Matt 23:5
IS SHYNESS HUMILITY?
We must never imitate the Godless examples of those who practice mock humility or who conceal themselves in shyness. It is through softly spoken words and sanctimonious mannerisms that sectarian leaders delude the unwary into the belief that this is true humility! Mock humility is a characteristic commonly found among those desiring prominence among the people. Such ones are "possessed of an appearance of wisdom in a self-imposed form of worship and mock humility". (Col 2:23). As for shyness, it is a characteristic of those refusing to show love to others, but still expecting it from them. But "he that does not love has not come to know God, because God is love." (1 John 4:8).
THE UNDERLYING MOTIVE.
OUR SPIRITUAL READJUSTMENT.
While on earth, Christ set the pattern of true humility when he washed the feet of his disciples. He said: "Therefore, if I, although Lord and Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash the feet of one another. For I set the pattern for you, that, just as I did to you, you should do also." (John 13:14,15). In humble subjection to the Will of God there is "no room for rivalry" (striving to outdo one another) or "personal vanity" (having a flattering opinion of oneself), "but you must humbly reckon others better than yourselves." You must "look to each other's interest and not merely to your own". (Phil 2:3 NEB).
Seek to fulfil the needs of one another in the faith. Let each of us show through fine works "a meekness that belongs to wisdom" (of God). (James 3:13). "Indeed, all of you should wrap yourselves in the garment of humility towards each other, because God sets His face against the arrogant but favours the humble. Humble yourselves then under God's mighty hand, and He will lift you up in due time." (1 Peter 5:5,6 NEB).