Over the next few days I am planning to post on the subject of humility. My eventual focus will be man’s humiliation in light of the Gospel. One of the reasons that I am doing this series of post is because pride is an issue that I deal with daily, and what better cure for pride than a study on humility in light of the Gospel. Today I would simply like to start by giving a working definition of humility.
Humility is practical, and it is useful. At times humility even attracts attention from the world. There is an even bigger reason to promote humility; humility gets God’s attention.Isaiah 66:2
But this is the one to whom I will look to; he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.Not only does God “look to” the humble, but He goes so far as to help the humble.
God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.Jonathan Edwards, with reference to this subject, said “The pleasures of humility are really the most refined, inward, and exquisite delights in the world.” But why is this so? Why does God look to, and give grace to the humble? For an answer to that I think it would be profitable to define humility.
A good starting point on the definition of humility can be found in C.J. Mahaney’s book Humility: True Greatness. In this book Mahaney uses this as his working definition of humility: “Humility is honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness.” To paraphrase Mahaney, humility is seeing things as they truly are. It is a self-evaluation judged by the highest of standards, God himself.
Calvin wrote, “It is evident that man never attains to a true self-knowledge until he has previously contemplated the face of God, and come down after such contemplation to look at himself.”
In a real sense, our level of humility is proportional to our knowledge of God.