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Am I Humble

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Am I Humble?

Text: James 1:19-25

Thesis: To show the importance of humility, and ways by which we can know if we’re humble.

Introduction:

  1. “I may have my faults, but being wrong ain't one of them.”  Jimmy Hoffa is said to have made    that statement (Leadership, summer 1995).  What kind of a person could have such an

        attitude?  A proud person, one who believes they’re always right.  It’s hard to live with such

        people.

  2. The Bible places great value on the trait of humility, which is opposite to pride.  Most Christ-

        ians will affirm that they are humble.  But are we really humble?  Are there ways to know?

  3. God’s word has much to say on this subject.  It’s important that we find out key indicators

        that can reveal whether we are still governed by our pride, or whether we’re truly humble.

Discussion:

I.       The Value God Places On Humility

A.    It’s obvious that people don’t often place value on humility.  The honors and awards almost always go to those who are in the limelight, who possess power, wealth or fame.  “How To Rise To The Top” will always sell more books than “How To Become A Quieter And More Humble Person”.  People generally don’t value humility.

B.     God puts great emphasis on humility:

1.      Mic. 6:8 - When Micah wondered what it would take to please God, he was given a short answer: Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.

2.      2 Chron. 26:4,5 - Uzziah, king of Judah, began well.  He sought the Lord, and the Lord led him to power and prosperity.

3.      2 Chron. 26:16 - Later, however, his humility was pushed aside by his pride.  He no longer was willing to approach God through a priest, but presumed to do it himself.  As a result of his pride, God struck him with leprosy, a condition he took to his grave. 

4.      Prov. 16:18 - One of the most famous warnings against pride is found here: Pride goes before destruction.  When a person is convinced they have all the answers, they are not far from a major crash!

C.     It is a theme repeated often in the Bible.  Those who act out of true humility are lifted up by God.  Those who ignore God and pursue their own ways are defeated by God.  It is very clear that God puts a high value on a person’s humility.

II.    How Can I Know If I’m Truly Humble?

A.    Do I recognize my strong need for God in my life?

1.      We’re not talking about lip-service.  There are many who say “Yes, I need God,” but whose lives show no evidence of such a conviction.  A husband may shower his wife with gifts on Valentine’s Day, hoping to prove his love to her.  But what about the other 364 days of the year?  Does his life prove his love?

2.      Dan. 4:30-34 - Nebuchadnezzar had reasons to believe he was great.  But God showed to him that he was still dependent on the Lord.  When his understanding returned to him, he acknowledged God’s place in his life.

3.      Jer. 10:23 - Have we accepted the truth of Jeremiah’s statement?  Are we convinced that we don’t know the way to go without God?

4.      Lam. 3:24 - “The Lord is my portion” - but what does that mean?  It means that He is our allotment of life, just as Israel needed their daily portion of manna.

5.      In his Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis contended that pride is a telescope turned the wrong way. It magnifies self and makes the heavens small.  But that’s not reality.

B.     Do I regularly come to God for guidance?

1.      Here is the proof of our claim that we need God in our lives.  How can we say we need Him and yet give Him so little time and attention?

2.      Jas. 1:19-21 - The proud man will object to God’s laws and instruction.  But the humble will receive God’s word with meekness, knowing it can save his soul.

3.      Isa. 57:15 - Where does God dwell?  In the high places, yes, but also with those who are contrite and humble.  But what does this mean?

4.      Jn. 14:23 - Jesus answered that question: God dwells with those who love God and who keeps the words the Lord has given us.  True humility means that we seek His guidance and His wisdom.  We know we can’t live without it.

5.      Prayer is also part of this humility.  Why is the most familiar posture of prayer that of kneeling or bowing?  It indicates again that we are humbling ourselves to His will.

6.      Kenneth Blanchard: “I define ego as Edging God Out.”  (Leadership Journal, 01/01/95) As we give less time to Bible study, prayer and worship, we are edging God out of our lives, implicitly stating that we can direct our own lives without His help.

C.     Do I serve other people’s needs?

1.      If pride has a motto, it’s “Me first!”  Pride seeks our own things; humility, on the other hand, seeks the good of others.

2.      Lk. 17:7-10 - When the apostles asked Jesus, “Increase our faith” (v. 5), He responded with this uncomfortable analogy.  What was His point?  That we must not put our needs before the Lord’s.  When the Lord sends us to serve others, we must not balk, but gladly go out to help our neighbor.

3.      Jn. 13:14 - Why did Jesus wash the feet of His disciples?  To show them what God expected of each of us, to serve the needs of people around us.

4.      Ruth Harms Calkin, “I Wonder”: “You know, Lord, How I serve You with great emotional fervor in the limelight.  You know how eagerly I speak for You at a Women's Club.  You know my genuine enthusiasm at a Bible study.  But how would I react, I wonder, if You pointed to a basin of water and asked me to wash the calloused feet    of a bent and wrinkled old woman day after day, month after month, in a room where nobody saw and nobody knew?”

5.      Phil. 2:8 - Why did God exalt Jesus?  Because He humbled Himself and became obedient to the will of God.  That’s what humility is: A willingness to serve others, because that is the will of God.

Conclusion:

  1. Someone has written: “It's my pride that makes me independent of God.  It's appealing to                        feel I am the master of my fate; I run my own life, I call my own shots; I go it alone.  But that           feeling is my basic dishonesty.  I can't go it alone.  I have to get help from other people, and I        can't ultimately rely on myself.  I am dependent on God for my very next breath.  It is                          dishonest of me to pretend that I am anything but a man, small, weak and limited.  So, living             independent of God is self-delusion.  It's not just a matter of pride being an unfortunate little              trait and humility being an attractive little virtue, it's my inner psychological integrity that's at                stake.  When I am conceited, I am lying to myself about what I am.  I am pretending to be                       God, and not man. My pride is the idolatrous worship of myself, and that is the national                        religion of hell.”

  2. What is God looking for in my life?  More than how many times I attended worship, and more

       than how much I dropped in the collection plate, He is looking for humility in me.  Not the

       claim to be humble, but true humility.  I can know I’m humble when I truly realize my

       great need for God; when I regularly come to God for guidance through Bible study,        prayer and worship; and when I set myself aside to serve the needs of others.

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