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Humility

Christchurch has being fun, remind me to tell you the yarn about the surf and the dolphins sometime. And I left my freaken phone at the airport... the equivalent to leaving my brain there. Smart. And I picked up the flu. So yeah, great times.

So humility huh? Well interestingly there is actually a wikipedia article on the subject!
There are some amazing scriptures dealing on the subject of humility. Jesus said clearly that he was a a humble person (Mathew 11), he said statements like "everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted". Philippians 2 is one of the most beautiful scriptures on this subject;

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross

Humility must be right up there in qualities to nurtured and desired as a leader, as a person, especially if we profess to follow Jesus, and therefore imitate Him in this aspect.

But here is my theory specifically here in NZ; I wonder whether introverts have often being seen as humble people – perhaps because they are quieter people. Extroverts are not normally seen as being humble – I suspect because they normally think out loud, especially if they have a “big personality” to boot. Surely humility is far more than how loud we are, how we are wired?

Now – to be honest I sit in the second category, I am an extrovert, I think out loud most of the time, I’ve being labelled by others as having a “big personality” and its probably an accurate description. As part of this wiring, I have been called proud and assumed to be arrogant by people in my life, some of them pretty important voices to me. And sadly there is a lot of truth in these statements, and so for many years now I have being reflecting on what it looks like to “walk humbly before God”.

I was talking to this guy called Bruce Collins about humility and he said; "Sam, don't worry about humility, if you get proud, God will humble you". And actually, I think to a degree he is right . My history is filled with moments that I am extremely grateful for, that have shaped my character and brought a change in attitude and heart. But they have being hard times, it has hurt to be humbled.
The tragedy in my story is that I started getting resentful about how I am wired.
I became gutted that I was an extrovert, I wished I was not in the middle of the ruckus all the time. I started to feel uncomfortable about the speaking engagements that I had, and over analysing my motives for so much of what I do.

Now that is not bad stuff, but in the same breath, "the glory of God is Sam fully alive" to paraphrase Irenaus. How do I walk in freedom with the personality and gifts that God has given me while walking humbly? So how do I serve the world around me wired like this? So what the heck is humility?

Im no scholar, but I reckon that humility is a heart attitude which manifests itself in how we act and how we relate to people around us. Again Philippians 2 nails it when Paul says; "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves". Amazing piece of advice and something that has being rattling round in my brain for a while now. I would contend that this is partly outworked in our ability to listen to others (instead of waiting for our turn to speak). You can tell when someone is genuinely listening to you, and it is a beautiful thing (It turns out Steve Taylor ticks this box like few people I have met, a very very good listener). Mike Pilavachi challenged me on some of this stuff, and said "start acting humbly, the heart will then follow".

I think Micah 6 nails it; "What does the Lord require of us? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God".

I believe that there is something that happens when we spend time with the poor. Whether that is the socially poor, the lonely kid at school, the smelly weird guy, or the literal poor in the third world or in our cities. We are changed when we are with the poor, perhaps that is why Jesus said in Mathew 25 that we meet him in these places. Perhaps that is why those who spend there lives serving the poor in NZ and around the world are often such very humble people.

At the end of the day, its an awesome thing to spend time with someone in which there is a genuine humility which may be why I have being thinking about it so much in recent times. Ive met humble people all around the place, sometimes they are powerful people in the Christian scene, most of the time they are your wonderfully ordinary servant hearted person who loves others and loves God. One of my personal heroes is my grandfather, who has never had a "speaking ministry", never pastored a church, or released a worship album, but has had an impact on more people than you could imagine. I could tell you story after story of people challenged by my grandfather. I want to be more like him in many ways, its very hard to define, but humility just oozes out of him.


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“Humility”

  1. Anonymous Teri Johnson-Frow Says:

    Hey Sam,

    was interested in your extrovert/introvert humilty and personality comments. Someone said to me once than when looking for humility we're always going on about pride but that the other side of the coin is negativity about yourself and that's just as far from humility as pride is. Interesting. I reckon humility is having a gaze that is focused on God and not myself. That's my two cents (to stay with the coin metaphor)....

  2. Blogger the kyle Says:

    Hey bro there's some really good stuff you've said about humility. Great read.

    I think on the same extrovert/introvert topic, I think both sides have different areas they must humble themselves in. I veer more towards an introvert and I know I can be very proud sometimes, in an unnoticeable way, and I think that is more dangerous.

    Let's say people can appear to be selfless givers but secretly be very proud. There's nothing new there, but I think we need to learn to follow our conscience to get back in line. In my opinion it is worse to sin against your own conscience than it is to sin without knowing.

    You can call me legalistic but I think we ought to take our conscience seriously. It is there for a reason. I don't like the way I take God's grace for granted so easily.

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