A Lesson in Humility

airplane_take_offContinued from here.

I continued my meditation on the enormity of God as I flew to visit a friend out of state. As I looked out the airplane’s window, I considered the reality that God fills all of this space! He fills the plane, the atmosphere as far up as I could see, all the way down to the earth thousands of feet below, and every house peppering the landscape below.

And that was only as far as I could see! In that moment, He was also surrounding the Alps in Switzerland, the tropical fish at the Great Barrier Reef, and the penguins in Antarctica. Our God is truly massive!

Then, I thought about myself in comparison. I was taking up this little sliver is space in the middle seat of one airplane, wedged between my son and a stranger. The God of the Universe is EVERYWHERE, and I’m in this teeny tiny space. So, why do I often act as if the world revolves around me?

When I consider the mammoth size of God (actually, He makes a mammoth look teeny tiny), how distorted is my world view when I behave as if the world is supposed to cater to my desires? How could I possibly have any expectation that the rest of the world should defer to my whims?

And then consider my arrogance in trying to bend God to my will. How dare I tell God that He should do X, Y, and Z when my perspective is so severely limited. He sees EVERYTHING while I cannot even see through the seat of the person sitting in front of me on an airplane. How ludicrous of me to presume to know better than God how my life should go.

In my humanity, my own comfort often fills the frame of my perspective: what I want, need, or desire. So, what I view as “good” or “bad” is based on this teeny tiny sliver of space that I inhabit. Only God sees the whole picture. Only He is in the position to know what is truly “good” or “bad” because He sees the needs of EVERYONE. And He is good, so He cares.

C.S. Lewis said,

True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”

When I think about the enormity of our God – that He is, quite literally, EVERYWHERE, I am deeply humbled as I take my eyes off myself and place them onto my God, where they belong.

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace waving through an airplane window above the words, “Ready for take off.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]

Promised Land Living: Importance of Humility

If you want to experience Promised Land living, you are going to need to become more humble, which is the key to Christian discipleship. Most of us balk at the term humility, but we wouldn’t if we understood what it actually means. The Bible tells us to walk humbly with our God and that humility is the fear of the LORD, which brings us riches, honor, and life. Considering that humility is the vehicle that brings us riches, honor, and life, shouldn’t we at least ask what it is?

Let me start by explaining what humility is not. It is not humiliation. God promises us a double portion instead of our shame, so He’s not telling us to humiliate or shame ourselves. Humility is also not weakness. C.S. Lewis defined humility best:

True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”

I’m no C.S. Lewis, but I’ll give you my own personal definition of humility: It’s choosing to stop being so full of yourself so you can start being full of God.

While I am no artist, I took a shot at trying to illustrate the stages of humility in the graphic.

progression_of_humility

The first graphic shows someone before receiving Christ as Savior. As you can see, this person’s body outline is completely filled by the person. In other words, the person has no humility and is completely full of herself. To quote Joyce Meyer, nothing makes you more miserable than thinking of yourself all the time. Sadly, this is our default setting without Christ.

The second body outline shows someone who has received Christ as Savior but not as Lord. Notice that she now has a yellow heart but otherwise still fills her body outline with herself. God has planted the seeds of the fruit of the spirit inside of her, but she is too full of herself for those seeds to bear fruit yet. Unfortunately, far too many Christians never progress from this infant stage. They can check “going to hell” off their list of worries, but their daily lives don’t look much different than the lives of those without a relationship with God.

The third graphic shows a Christian who is bearing spiritual fruit through discipleship. She is no longer full of herself, so her body outline is progressively filling up with God. Her life looks different from the lives of those around her, and people can see God’s light shining through her life. She still struggles with self-focus, as can be seen by contrasting this stage with the fourth graphic, which shows someone with perfect humility, a state that only Jesus ever accomplished. While you and I are never going to achieve perfect humility, we can choose to grow in humility by becoming less full of ourselves, leaving more room for God to shine His light through us. This is the key to discipleship.

Continued here.

[Graphic: “Progression of Humility.” Shows four body outlines. First: Cartoon of Grace taking up all of the space in the body outline. Second: Same graphic as the first but with a yellow heart at the center. Third: Yellow heart is the same size, cartoon of Grace is much smaller, and yellow fills the rest of the space in the body outline. Fourth: Grace’s body is so small that it is almost hidden behind the yellow heart. Almost everything in the body outline is yellow. Courtesy Bitmoji and Grace Daniels.]