James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
Humility is one of the secrets to continual usefulness in the service of the Lord. We are told in Romans 12:3 not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think but to think soberly about ourselves. Thinking soberly includes not thinking more lowly of ourselves as much as it does not thinking more highly of ourselves. Humility doesn’t mean that we diminish ourselves or put ourselves down. It means that we say everything about ourselves that God says about us in His Word, nothing more, and nothing less. Some have to come up in their thinking about themselves to be humble. There are others who have to come down in their thinking of themselves because they have an exaggerated opinion of their own importance and an excessive belief in their worth. Anything that exalts us, our abilities, our gifts, and our talents out of proportion is not good. There are a few examples of humility we should remember.
Remember Moses, a man of destiny, is described as a man, “learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was mighty in words and deeds.” It came into his heart that he was to be a deliverer of the children of Israel but Moses was not ready. Moses went out in all of his ability and pride and slew an Egyptian thinking that the people would understand he was chosen to be a deliverer. He was not and ended up forty years on the backside of a desert until the Lord would send him forth. I believe God often wants to promote many people but their gifts, abilities, and talents will take them where their character cannot uphold them. Only proven godly character can take us the distance. Later God appears to Moses and sends him and he succeeds. Moses changed his tune from “Look who I am” to “Who am I Lord?” Moses realized without God he was nothing and could do nothing (Exodus 2:3, 4, 10-25; Acts 7:20-36).
Remember Miriam and Aaron, family members of Moses. Moses had developed humility and is described as the meekest man on the face of the Earth (Numbers 12:3). Miriam and Aaron got together and basically said, “Who does Moses think he is,” and “has God only spoken by Moses.” “God’s used us before, we have gifts too, he’s not the only one gifted around here.” They were filled with pride. The problem is they didn’t honor the authority God had given Moses and exalted their own gifting above the authority (Moses) in their life. God heard their murmuring against Moses and Miriam became leprous. Why wasn’t Aaron judged with leprosy like Miriam? He spoke against Moses (Numbers 12:2), the anger of the Lord was against him, (v. 9), and he even acknowledged he had done foolishly and sinned (v. 11). Perhaps Miriam had instigated it or had been critical of her brother repeatedly and for a long time. Perhaps it is because Aaron had the holy garments of the priesthood on and the anointing protected him but there came a day when the garments were stripped from him and death was there to meet him (Numbers 20:23-29).
Remember Saul of the Old Testament. The Israelites wanted a king and Saul was chosen. He had good looks, a tall stature, and God did use him. Saul’s pride made him jealous of God’s choice to use David and over a course of years tries to kill David some twenty one times. God finally had to take the kingdom from Saul and in sending the Prophet Samuel reveals what was at the core of this verdict against him when he said. “When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed thee king over Israel?” Saul didn’t remain little in his own eyes but got an exaggerated opinion of his own importance which is pride. Proverb 16:18 says, “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Saul got puffed up, or got “the big head” about himself and it is said at the end of his life one of the saddest verses in the Bible that he died as though he had not been anointed with the anointing oil (2 Samuel 1:21). All the years of being privileged to be chosen, anointed, and used of God goes down the drain as though you have never been. When we stay little in our own eyes God can use us. No matter what people say of us whether it is praise or criticism we should remain little in our own eyes. Without Him we can do nothing.
Proverb 29:23 A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.