In light of this weekend’s talk on “paper gods,” I wanted to follow up with one more application that comes from having a healthy view of who God is.
Have you ever thought about what it takes to be truly humble? Pride rears its head on a daily basis, and the fight for humility never seems to end. But how do we really fight for it? It’s a catch-22, because we can’t conjure up humility. You can’t simply work harder at it. Forced humility, however sincere in its attempt, is always a false humility. For example, how do I respond when someone pays me a compliment? I could bask in the glow of my accomplishments, but pride is too easy on such a route. But if I desire to be humble, do I merely deflect all the praise and say that none of it was of my own doing? We’ve all experienced the annoyance of such a false humility. True humility always starts with a proper view of who God is and who I am in relation to Him. I must see myself as small in light of His greatness, but I can’t consider myself a “worm of a man” either, because He has actually given me intrinsic value as a child who bears His image.
Here’s the thing, you can’t force humility by diminishing your own worth. That leads to a diminished view of God’s worth since His image is imprinted on us. But when you gain a bigger picture of God, your smallness and your worth both adjust to the correct proportions. Your smallness becomes overwhelmingly apparent in light of His greatness. But because He really is that great, your worth increases in light of His sacrifice. It all starts with our view of God, and I want to suggest a threefold path for the person who desires true humility.
First, we need a bigger view of God. As we saw this weekend, this applies to every single one us. We can never fully comprehend who He is, and asking the question only moves us deeper into Him. So get in the Scriptures, meditate on His glory, find people who can expand your view of who He really is according to the biblical revelation.
Second, you need to see yourself in light of that image of God. I am small and His greatness dwarfs me in comparison, but somehow I’m worth leaving heaven to redeem. We have to know, “I am so small, but somehow so worth it.”
Third, I have to see others as better than myself. Always look out for the good of others before your own. If God left heaven and died because you are worth it, he also did it for the person next to you, because they are also worth it. If He can leave the comforts of Heaven, surely we can withstand a little discomfort to show someone else their worth today.
Next time someone compliments you, just thank them. Take the compliment. Don’t milk it, but don’t deflect it either. Know that who you are as God’s child has legitimately added value, but know that anything worth doing is only done by the power of the one who lives in you. You are small, but you are so worth it.