Leon De Haan
There may be people who say, “Leon, you should not be writing on this subject because you are not humble.” There are some that believe you cannot teach a subject unless you have complete victory over that subject in your life. That is a misnomer and may be the reason why there is very little teaching about humility. As humans, we all struggle with the world and to say you do not is evidence of pride and your struggle with it. The Apostle John wrote in 1 John 2:16 that there are three things that are in this world. They are the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life. We understand from this scripture that if we are in the world system or practices of society we will struggle with these things. When we transfer from this world into heaven, we will not have that problem.
I would like to look at what humility – the opposite of pride – is and how we can attain it. Most thoughts in life are accompanied by two ditches. Before I went to Bible school, I drove truck. In those days we used CB radios to communicate both vital information and nonsense over these devices. One of the ways we would sign off was by saying, “Keep it between the ditches.” That meant, stay on the road. Most every good idea has two ditches. Ditches are notorious for stopping your progress. It does not matter which ditch you are in. This is true in our spiritual lives. So, let’s look at the two ditches.
When speaking of humility, one thing that happens is we can look at ourselves as worms, that we are no good. This type of teaching will stop our spiritual growth. That is not humility, and not what the scripture teaches. Yes, before we surrender to Christ we were totally and unequivocally depraved. But from the day we surrender and call Jesus Lord, we have been born anew and the old ways are gone. We are forgiven and released from the past. The idea that a born-again child of God is a worm is an insult to God and His Word! The simple fact is that yes, I needed Jesus, but now I have Him inside of me. This is a false humility and it must be dealt with in our lives.
The other ditch is the ditch I call the “I can do it myself ditch.” Satan fell because of his pride. He used pride to cause the fall of mankind. This notion that I can be like God really says I can do life by myself. I do not need God, other people or anything to live my life. This demonic notion has permeated the churches, our nations and still is destroying mankind. Pride is the essence of humanism and humanism has infiltrated our schools and nations. The goal of pride is to separate us from God. It is to separate us from His love, His power and His wisdom. Pride is what keeps people from a relationship with God. It causes a lack of prayer, fellowship, teaching and many other things that would enhance our relationship with God.
Enough said about the two ditches. What is humility? Let me give you my definition. Humility is a proper assessment of ourselves taken from God’s Word. God’s Word is like a mirror. When we look into it, we see an image of ourselves. Mirrors do not lie. When I shoot video in our video studio, I use a mirror to see myself. Then, I put on makeup to cover the age spots on my face. When we look into the mirror of God’s Word, it does not lie. It gives us an image of who we are. This image contains sides of our existence which are who we are without Christ and who we are in Christ. If we are walking in the flesh, the mirror will show us not only our condition, but also the way to change. The Word will bring us to the place we need to be. It will also show us where we are in Christ.
So, real humility is that honest assessment that we see when we look in the mirror of God’s Word. There is another quality of humility that we must look at. It is found in James 4. I wish I had the space to cover these verses in depth and I challenge you to read them and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your hearts. Part of chapter 4 deals with things we need to avoid. Verse 5 speaks of God’s jealousy towards us. He is a jealous God! He wants and desires us. In verse 6, James says that God gives grace to the humble. The biggest reason that we need humility in our lives is that humility is the access point of grace. Without humility, a proper assessment of ourselves, we will not experience God’s grace. Grace is unmerited but it is experienced only when we assess our need for God. In our scriptural assessment, we will find that God gives us His grace to do whatever needs to be done in our lives.
As I write this article today, that old hymn of the church is filling my heart. “I Need Thee Every Hour” was penned by Annie Hawks. One morning, at the age of 37 and a mother of three, she was overcome with all she had to accomplish. Along with this feeling, the words of this hymn crept into her heart. Listen to these words, “I need thee every hour, most gracious Lord; no tender voice like thine can peace afford. I need thee, O I need thee; every hour I need thee; O bless me now, my Savior, I come to thee.”
Real humility is knowing our need for God in every area of our lives and also knowing that He is there. We are in Him and He is in us.