So if you are just joining us here today on the Cultivate blog, welcome! Starting a few weeks ago (and for the next little while), we’ll be taking some time to talk about the necessary attitudes in cultivating a personal realtionship with Jesus. Last week we talked about vulnerability – I must learn to become vulnerable before God, emotionally opening myself up to him and allowing him to change me. This week, we’re going to talk about humility, another attitude that I think is at the core of cultivating a personal relationship with Jesus.
One of the most frequent commands that we receive in the Bible (especially in the Old Testament) is the command to fear God. This is indicative of the incredibly high level of humility that we are to have before God; that before him, we recognize how great and mighty he is, and how small and fragile that we are. This is the only attitude that is proper of people like us engaging in a relationship with a God like ours. Anything else would be just ridiculous.
To me, humility means understanding that I am not the greatest. It means seeing that my agenda is not the only agenda. And also that my agenda is not the most important agenda. Instead, I make the realization that my wants, needs, and wishes need to become subservient to the desires of Jesus. And that’s the whole goal of cultivate… we want to mold and change until the image of us conforms to the image of Jesus. That is a true success spiritually.
But let’s be honest, humility is just part of approaching God. In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God promises that “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Right there, God promises his people that when we humble ourselves before him, he hears us. He will forgive us. He will heal us. God hears all our prayers, but I am a real believer that for whatever reason, when I offer up a prayer with a humble attitude and a humble heart, it’s almost like I have really freed up a whole new line of communication with God. I believe that the Bible teaches us that our attitude when we approach God has a lot to do with how much we end up hearing from God. Humility is a huge part of that proper attitude and approach.
Really, the whole goal of cultivate (I think, at least) is that we would reproduce “little Christs,” as author C.S. Lewis puts it in his book Mere Christianity. Humility is a huge part of that goal. In Philippians 2 (a passage I find myself turning to for wisdom time and time again), the apostle Paul points to the humble attitudes of Christ as an example for us that we are to follow. As Christ has set the example of humility with his life, so we are asked to do the same, even to the point of giving up all that we hold dear, just as Jesus gave his life for us.
Humility is a very difficult attitude to develop. But it’s essential. And it’s just another one of the attitudes that prove key in learning how to cultivate a personal relationship with Jesus.