The Art of Humility

“All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,“God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble .” – 1 Peter 5:5

I can resonate with this verse. Almost a decade ago, I was a pastoral intern for a well known church in Louisville, Kentucky. The pastor invited me to a conference with some well-known Southern Baptist leaders. I thought I was big stuff.

When I got to the conference, I noticed my pastor was talking to one of my favorite preachers, brother Mark. I was nervous to go and talk but I decided to do so anyways. As I was standing around the circle, Pastor Mark looks at me and asks, “So, what do you do?” I thought to myself, “What should I say?” I anxiously but confidently blurted out, “I intern for Pastor Ryan and exegete his sermons.”

My first mistake was to use a word I didn’t know much about. Since I was a first year seminary student, exegete sounded academic and smart, but it wasn’t used in the proper context. Pastor Mark sarcastically responded, “Oh, so you basically do the sermons for him. Well, maybe you should just preach for him instead, and while your at it, go ahead and exegete my sermons too.” Ouch. He put me in my place. But, it might have been something I needed. God humbled me that day. Anyone ever experience an embarrassing situation where God humbled you? I am sure I am not the only one.   

In this passage, Peter is talking about practicing humility and rejecting pride. He begins with a metaphor, “Clothe yourselves with humility.” Why do you think Peter uses this metaphor?” I believe Peter is referring to the Fall of Man. it was pride that caused the need for man’s clothing, correct? In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve refused to listen to God’s commands and ate the forbidden fruit. Their downfall was a result of pride, and it led them to become ashamed of their nakedness.

This is a powerful reference because it reminds us of the original badge of man’s sin and blame. It shows us the destruction of pride and how it can lead to guilt, shame, remorse, and regret. On the flip side, it points to God’s love and care. He provided us with His Son, Jesus Christ, who is our robe of righteousness. When we come to Christ as broken sinners, He exchanges our sin nature for His righteousness, according to 2 Corinthians 5:21: “He became sin, who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”

So then, how does one practice a life of humility? The first step is to ask Christ to change your heart, mind, and will. See, my friend, we have a heart issue. Our nature is to be proud and self-confident. The only way to get to the root of the matter is to have God give us a new heart. Allow God to take out your heart of flesh and give you a new heart and fill you with His Holy Spirit (Ezek. 36:26). When you do that, you will be on your way to mastering the art of humility. If you want to know more about how to establish a relationship with God, please go here.

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