The Joy of Humility

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7

There was a medical student who led a guy’s bible study when I was a freshmen in college. From the world’s perspective, this guy really had every reason to be proud. He was already very successful, good looking, and drove a pretty nice BMW. Even though I don’t remember his name, I do remember that even though I would expect him to be proud, he struck me as very humble. I never thought through these things at the time. It was only after a certain event happened that I began to wonder about this guy. A few guys were over at his house for the bible study—we hung out afterward for a while talking. When we left, one of the first things we noticed was that his car window had been smashed. Upon further inspection, his radio and several other items were gone as well. I couldn’t believe his reaction. It’s almost as if he didn’t care—he was so calm. In fact, one of the first things he did was check to make sure our cars were alright! I couldn’t believe it—I would have been furious!

There is something strikingly absent in Christian humility—did you notice it? What is absent is anxiety. There is a peacefulness that accompanies someone who is humble, and I don’t think that is just a coincidence. Peter, himself, had to learn humility—he was not naturally humble. Humility is a work of the gospel in the life of the believer. It’s not something that a few select people have, but it is something that all Christians are called to—in fact, Peter says that all of us are to clothe ourselves with humility toward one another.

I think we could even make the case that at the very heart of Christianity is humility. In fact, Jesus himself, though he was equal with God, humbled himself and took on the form of a servant in order to save you (Philippians 2)! But what does it look like really, to humble ourselves?

In light of the illustration I started with, think about these verses from 1 Peter 5:6-7, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” Peter is saying that at the very heart of humility is casting your anxieties upon God. It means that all times and in all places putting your burdens upon him—you are placing yourself under his mighty hand. Humility is admitting that you can’t do it, and trusting in the one who can.

The result of this type of humility is joy. Let me illustrate: A while back I took my kids hiking. My son, Sam, who is now five, decided to bring along his backpack with a towel and a water bottle in it. Well, after about a mile or so, Sam began to lag behind and pull on the straps of his backpack. His voice raised a few octaves into that sort of whine. The backpack was his burden, and it was slowing him down. But he didn’t want to relinquish it at first. It was his, and he could carry it. But after a while he handed it over to me. It was nothing for me to carry it. But the result for Sam was not just that he quit lagging behind, or that he quit whining—it’s that his whining turned into joy, and he began leaping down the trail, noticing the beauty around him, and laughing. He had to humble himself to let me carry his burden, but the result was a leaping joy.

Humble yourself today by casting all your burdens, anxieties and cares upon the one who love you!