The Source of Humility
Realizing who we really are in and of ourselves and how great God’s been to us should drive us to our knees. If we can’t see that clearly, and become humble in our hearts as a result, I think we’re without hope! We’re in trouble when we stop seeing ourselves through the gospel; we start enlarging ourselves by what other people say. Instead, we ought to look at what we’ve done compared with all that God has done; we start to understand humility when we realize that it’s not about us, but about Him.
We can see Abraham’s genuine humility in Genesis 13:8-11. In the story he and Lot are needing to divide up the land. Their respective herds were growing and one of them had to relocate. Remember, Abraham paid his dues with God. He’s the man that God told, “Hey, you are it! I am starting this whole deal with you.” He could have a puffed-up and entitled attitude. He has all that privilege and power. He has authority and recognition. He could have easily looked at this puny, wet-behind-the-ears nephew and said, “Listen, see all that land out there? That area that’s really cool and well-watered and looks like the Garden of Eden? That’s mine.” Nobody would have blamed him. If anyone deserved the best, it was Abraham.
Yet Abraham says, “That’s not how I roll. Young man, what would you like? Wherever you go, I’ll go in the opposite direction. Don’t let there be strife between us. We’re family.” We see Abraham bowing to humility over and over in Scripture. When he went to bury Sarah and asked for a plot of land, the sons of Heth gave him the opportunity to choose any spot he wanted (Genesis 23). Abraham bowed before them in humility and said, “Just name your price.” The sons of Heth said, “You can have it for free,” but Abraham refused the gift. He paid the price, bowed again, and left—that’s humility. It’s not exercising who you are and getting what you want. It’s not promoting yourself and making yourself something that is not God’s.
Humility yields first to God (it’s all about Him) then to man. In some ways and at most times, it sets others’ well-being above our own. It yields in gentleness and contentment. It gives the first choice to others and works with the leftovers, just like Abraham.