Continued from here.
I ended my blog entry yesterday by saying…
Here’s the best part – even though you will do these things to develop humility, the point is not about what you do so much as who you become.”
Let me give you an example to serve as a parallel that is easier to explain than humility. I used to be a very passive person. I was a people-pleaser and would twist myself into a pretzel to avoid offending anyone. I had very few boundaries and no concept of what boundaries even were in many areas of my life. I would let people take advantage of me, and I had a very difficult time saying no.
My “homework” during my therapy years was learning how to set and enforce boundaries. This required me to do what assertive people do, even though I was not assertive. Let’s say that someone asked me to volunteer to do a task that I didn’t want to do. Before therapy, because I didn’t want to upset anyone and wanted everyone to like me, I would agree to do the task but stew and complain about it. Through therapy, I practiced doing what assertive people do – I would force myself to say no, but I would experience an enormous amount of anxiety leading up to the no, and then I would replay the conversation in my head and worry about whether the person still liked me.
This is the state that the Pharisees stayed in, which was why Jesus was so hard on them. They did righteous acts on the outside, but they were not righteous on the inside. They made a point of doing righteous acts, but they never transformed into being righteous people.
In 2014, I had the epiphany that I had become an assertive person. I was no longer a passive person doing assertive things. God had transformed me through my obedience to Him and practicing doing what He called me to do, and I had actually become an assertive person. The assertiveness that people see on the outside flows naturally out of the assertiveness that has developed on the inside as God has transformed me from a people pleaser into a God pleaser.
Humility develops in the same way. As you choose to do what humble people do (defer your preferences to God and others), God will transform you into a humble person on the inside. You won’t be doing humble acts to impress other people – humble acts will naturally flow out of the humble person you are becoming because you love God and have made Him the center of your life instead of yourself.
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace sitting on a chair in front of a fireplace holding a book and saying, “True story.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]