What is humility? This is often transliterated from a Greek word that means lowliness, which I believe to mean esteeming ourselves as low creatures rather than becoming proud or “puffed up.” I think we can also say that humility is a form of sober mindedness in that we do not begin to think too highly of ourselves as opposed to being as one who is “drunken” with their high opinions of self-worth.
Why is humility important for us as Christians, and as it relates to this article, why is being exercised in humility an important form of “end-times” preparedness?
A Lesson from Jesus in Humility
We might recall that Jesus taught about the importance of humility.
Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea (Matthew 18:3-6)
Within this alone there are a few conclusions we can come to. We see the idea of conversion. If we convert, that means we make a change. What is this change? It is to become as little children. In what ways should we become as children? Jesus makes it clear that he is speaking about humility.
When we think of a humble child, this is a child who submits to authority. In the natural order of things, a child should view themselves as lowly in comparison to an adult authority figure. Such a child is going to be obedient and reverent for the things they are taught by their elders.
As Christians, we should have the same mindset in the way we esteem our relationship with God. We are lowly. God is exalted. We know nothing, yet are eager for teaching. God knows all, and we should show respect for His ways. We are obedient and submit ourselves to the instruction of God.
How do such actions make us great in the kingdom of heaven? First, we can consider what this means for us presently as the kingdom of heaven dwells within us. If we show proper reverence for the Lord, eagerly listen to the teachings of Jesus, and seek to apply these teachings to our lives obediently, and if we accept God’s correction as it comes and learn from our mistakes, then we will grow in the knowledge of the Lord within our hearts—which is the same as thriving in the presently-indwelling kingdom of heaven.
As for the kingdom of heaven to come, we cannot expect to inherit eternal life if we are proud and unruly. As joint heirs of the promise in Jesus Christ, we are to be as he was. We are to be meek and lowly. This shows reverence for God with a proper perspective of self in which we know our importance is only measured according to our usefulness for God’s purposes—purposes which hinge upon God-given tasks and abilities, not our own strengths. That, and whichever strength we inherit must be bridled and contained.
We should also consider the warning towards those who “offend” those of a humble and sincere faith. To offend means to cause the faith of another to waiver. Should we cause those who believe in Jesus-given righteousness as a fruit of salvation by grace through faith to cease from such a pursuit—the very pursuit of the kingdom? I think not.
Why is Humility Important During End Times?
There are many scriptures indicating that God hates pride. God promises to lay low the proud and to exalt the meek and humble. In-fact, a key purpose behind the time of tribulation is laying low the high things in this world to make way for the coming kingdom of heaven. All things in which man trusts instead of God including our knowledge, intellect, technologies, governments, religions, and all the works of our hands are going to be destroyed. Our food supplies dried up, our water sources made deadly—all things we esteem so highly will be made so low as to be returned to dust and ash.
Do we want to be caught up in this?
As Christians, we might feel as if we are immune and “no harm will come to us.” I do not think that is very wise—at least when such a belief is encased in pride and willful disobedience to God justified by incomplete ideas about grace and the “burden of the Lord,” to which Jesus says, “what burden? I will utterly forsake you.” If we are sincere, faithful, and fruitful, then we should trust the Lord during this time.
I think Christians at large today are in great risk of being consumed by their pride. Pride in their traditions and Christian establishments that have long abandoned sound doctrine and fruitful faith—all the while acting hatefully towards those of the faith who remain loyal to the truth of the gospel. Such as these who are going down the paths of vanity, conformity with the world, calling evil good and good evil, living in excess while ignoring the poor, and hating all things pertaining to the true nature of God are steadily on their way to embracing the rule of Antichrist and forming the Great Whore.
This so often begins with pride. Pride in the works of our hands. Pride in the so-called great Christian evangelists and influences of the past that have corrupted the teachings of the gospel. Pride in our mega churches and lucrative ministries. Pride in our appearances and shows of righteousness. Is it really so hard to consider that the Great Whore is made of those who profess themselves Christian? She would not be called a whore if she were not supposed to be espoused to Christ.
Are you espoused to Christ? Are you made lowly at his feet, or are you embracing prideful things that will keep you from the present-day and future-coming kingdom of heaven?
God Will Humble His Children
Pride is a struggle that is common to man. I believe that most of us can grow in humility, and Jesus is faithful to give us all things pertaining to an abundant life in the kingdom of heaven. As with all manner of “exercise” we Christians must go through, and as with all works of our salvation, these things are accomplished in us by Jesus. He will do things in our lives that bring us low and cause us to examine our areas of pride so that we can turn from them.
Perhaps many Christians will turn to Jesus when the things they hold so highly are brought low, especially themselves. However, to think we will live in pride now and repent at the last minute is foolish. If we are sincere in our dedication to the Lord, we will naturally grow in humility as we learn how utterly desolate we are without Jesus.
Scriptures on Humility
I try to provide scripture references because I know people expect that, and often if a work is not cited as scriptural many will simply disregard it. There are a few reasons why I limit my use of cited scripture. For one, many can cite scripture in a way that is deceitful. Cherry-picking verses that seem to support an idea is dangerous because we can often quote things out of context to support bad teaching, and I do not want to do this unknowingly. I trust the Holy Spirit to lead, though that does not mean my work is infallible. However, I believe it to be over-all scripturally sound.
Secondly, if we are serious about the faith and if we are able, we should familiarize ourselves with the scriptures enough to have some basic concept of whether any teaching is true or not. Failure to do the leg work ourselves and relying solely on man has lead to a lot of proud, spoiled, and ignorant people within the faith.
Even so, here are some verses you might find helpful when considering humility:
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves (Philippians 2:3).
When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom (Proverbs 11:12).
Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits (Romans 12:16).
Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price (1 Peter 3:3-4).
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility (Proverbs 18:12).
And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence (1 Corinthians 1:28-29).
Isaiah 2-3 in entirety. Click here for a quick reference. This is not an endorsement for Biblegateway. I just did not want to take up a whole page citing it here, but I highly recommend reading Isaiah 2-3. In-fact, while you’re at it, read Isaiah 1-5.
Here is an excerpt from Isaiah 2
Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made:
And the mean man boweth down, and the great man humbleth himself: therefore forgive them not.
Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty.
The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.
For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low
This article is within the series, Preparing for “End-Times” which is meant to re-direct us from vain pursuits in this regard and encourage us to seek profitable knowledge that will benefit us presently and also in those days should we be here.
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