E59: Why humility is the most important thing we can ever learn – What does the Bible say?
PODCAST: Have you ever imagined what a world where every individual practiced humility would be like?
Have you ever thought about what the world could be like if every individual practiced true humility?
The Bible tells us that God gives grace to the humble. But if you think about the world today, humility is actually a very “unfashionable” way of living. It doesn’t look like you can really win anything by being humble. But humility is actually the answer to all problems. Bold statement, but it’s true. It goes right from the simplest situations in daily life, right to the top of society. If God’s will were always done, there would be harmony and peace. True humility, if practiced by every individual, would change the world. Do you agree? Join Milenko and Eunice in this week’s episode of our podcast for more!
Transcript: “Living the Gospel” podcast, Episode 59: Why humility is the most important thing we can ever learn – What does the Bible say?
Welcome to ActiveChristianity’s “Living the Gospel” podcast. Join us as we talk about how we can “live the gospel” every day, no matter who we are, where we live, and what our circumstances are.
Milenko: Welcome to another episode of “Living the Gospel” podcast. I’m Milenko. And in the studio with me today is Eunice.
Milenko: And Eunice, today we’re going to talk about a topic which we’ve actually called “Why this is the most important thing we can ever learn.” It’s about humility. And part of our “What does the Bible say?” series.
Eunice: Right. And in a way I find it quite ironic that I’m doing this episode. Because I want to say that humility is something that I work on a lot and in no way feel like I’m someone that can speak as an expert on the topic. But maybe that’s not what I’m supposed to do.
Milenko: But what you’re saying there, Eunice, is actually an important point. Because humility is not something that comes to us naturally as human beings. It’s not part of human nature. There’s people with different kinds of personalities and some can seem quite humble or quiet and reserved. But that’s not what we’re talking about now. This is something quite different. And we hope through this episode also to bring out what the Bible says about humility, why it is so important, and what does it really mean when we’re thinking about the Biblical sense of it.
Eunice: So, I think when we think about this topic, we cannot not think about a very central verse that is written in James 4:4-6: “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, ‘The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously?’ But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’” And Milenko, you said you had some thoughts about why it says there, “therefore,” right?
Milenko: Right. “Therefore” is a word that actually points back to what came before. It’s tying two ideas together. So that God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble, that’s got to do with what came before, which is, being a friend of the world. And being a friend of the world makes you an enemy of God. So being a friend of the world, in this context, shows that that’s pride. And I was thinking, why is being a friend of the world pride? And then I thought of another verse in 1 John 2:16-17: “For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” And here we see that “the world” – that’s not all the bad people and the bad things happening there. But what the world is, John says, that is basically my lusts; my will. That which wants something other than what God wants. And that can come out in many different forms. In things we say, things we do, things we think that go against God’s will. And by doing those, even when God reminds me of something else, by doing that I am basically saying that my thoughts are more important than God’s thoughts.
Eunice: And I understand why God resists the proud. Because you are resisting Him, actually, too.
Milenko: Yeah. When we’re talking about the world, then we’re talking about all the results of people living according to their own will. They come into enmity, they come into pride, they come into vanity; all these different things, all the problems in the world come from people doing their own will. And this is what God resists. So it’s actually very, very central, this whole thing of humility. And maybe a different thing than maybe we think about a humble person. It can easily be that you feel that a humble person is a doormat, someone who gives in to everyone, doesn’t have his own opinion … That’s not what we’re talking about. Here we’re talking about our relationship to God.
Eunice: Right. And it’s because God is pre-eminent. He encompasses everything. And because of that, it also says there in James that the Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously. And jealously means that He doesn’t want anything else in our heart than Him. God loves us so much that He actually wants all of us.
Milenko: So basically, true humility is that I’m willing to give up everything that comes from myself in order to be obedient to God. And that all the honor and praise goes to Him. Everything I do is because I serve Him. That’s humility. Then I’m exalting God.
Eunice: And that’s also the mind of Christ. It’s also written in Philippians 2:5-8: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” So Jesus was the first one and He was the example. And it says here, He was obedient to the point of death. And that is our example to follow. He too did God’s will in His life.
Milenko: So it’s really exhorting us to take on the mind of Christ. And then it goes on to explain what that is. That He was in the form of God, He humbled Himself to that degree that He became a servant. He became a human being and He became a servant. And then you would have thought, OK, that was the humility. No, what does it say? It says, when He was found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death. And that obedience, that’s what it’s all about. He sums it up Himself when He says in Luke 22:42, “…not My will, but Yours, be done.”
Eunice: He says, it’s also written in Hebrews, right, that, “a body you have given to Me to do Your will, O God.” (Hebrews 10:5-7.)
Milenko: Exactly. And that’s where the humility comes into it. As a human being, we have our own will. Something that wants to … we sense the pressure inside. Jesus said, “Not My will,” as a human being, “but Your will be done.” That was humility! He humbled Himself. And that humility carried Him right through to the point of death, the death on the cross. And that death on the cross, that’s one thing is at Calvary, that He was obedient right until He actually died on Calvary, but it also was that other cross that He talks about. To deny yourself, take up your cross …
Eunice: Daily cross.
Milenko: That’s what He says. Take it up daily. That’s what He says. If you want to follow Me, if you want to be My disciple, do what I did, then you have to do that. So this death that took place, that was a death over His self-will. And then you’re obedient to God’s will, to the point of death. That death is that my will dies. And that is the ultimate form of humility. That’s the mind of Christ.
Eunice: And I mean, my will dies, doesn’t mean like, you have absolutely no opinions at all. But, I mean, it says here too, that … Jesus says in John 5:30: “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” And that is that God’s will and God’s thoughts are way above mine, and I am willing to bow myself and to take that as my own.
Milenko: That God’s thoughts become my thoughts. And what you read there, that’s actually amazing. You read, “I can of myself do nothing.” Ugh. That’s not what it’s about! It’s, “I can of myself do nothing …” because that’s so … It’s nothing. My will, it cannot do God’s will. But when I get God in my life, when I get the Holy Spirit in my life, when I start living according to His will, according to His word, I can do everything! That’s what Jesus came to. He could overcome sin, He could overcome him who had the power of death, through that death we were talking about. And He died on that cross on Calvary and He called out, “It is finished!” He’d overcome! Through God, He’d done everything! As a human being, in the form of a servant. By humbling Himself. And that’s what this humility … it’s so amazing. Far from being a doormat, you become one with “superpowers,” to put it that way. It’s a supernatural power. It’s God’s power in your life. Because you don’t rely on your own strength anymore.
Eunice: Yeah, and I mean, that’s something we have to come to, right? “I can of myself do nothing.” I have to come to that self-acknowledgement, that actually, all that comes from myself, I see the results, it doesn’t build relationships, it doesn’t create harmony, and I hate it so much that the only solution is to humble myself and take God’s will. And that’s how we come to that, willingly humbling ourselves.
Milenko: Right. And it’s this self-acknowledgement, that I of myself can do nothing, in fact, all my works are filthy rags, it’s written. And anything I can do in my own strength, anything I can do according to my own will, it won’t serve God’s purpose. I have to surrender myself completely. I have to come to that real acknowledgement: I am nothing in myself. And if I try to make myself something, I am exalting myself, I am proud, and God has to resist me. Because the honor belongs to Him, not to me. And this is the conclusion Paul came to; he writes there in 2 Corinthians 12:9. God has said to him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” And that weakness, that is that self-acknowledgement. My will, my lusts, what I want, what I think, that has to be given up, and then God’s strength can be shown in my life. Isn’t that amazing? Then God’s strength is made perfect in me. Why? Because I am humble with that self-acknowledgement. And I don’t try to do things because I think it’s the way it should be done, or I want to push this through, or as a reaction to what others do because I am offended, or all these kinds of things. That’s my strength. But when I go that way down, then God starts working in me, and He exalts me.
Eunice: Because, I mean, it says also that when I’m weak, then I’m strong (2 Corinthians 12:10.) And this weakness, encompassed in this weakness is actually a real will do to God’s will. That is my decision. And if you think about the world today, then humility actually is, I can say, a very unfashionable way of living. It is in no way something that is very popular, for someone to want to humble themselves. It doesn’t look like in that way you can win anything.
Milenko: It looks stupid, in human eyes.
Eunice: Yeah. Like what you said just now, like being a doormat. But humility actually is the key to problems, if you think about it. In daily life, in our situations.
Milenko: It goes right from the simplest situations in daily life, right to the top of society. Egotism, wanting to press through my will, wanting to be greater than the others, in so many different forms. Sometimes it seems quite obvious, and other times it’s more hidden. But it’s in there. It causes problems, it causes clashes, it causes…
Milenko: Confusion! It’s terrible. And that’s right from our relationships at home, to big politics, it all comes to the same thing, that God’s will isn’t being done. If God’s will had been done, there would be harmony.
Eunice: Yup. And like, what we did on our episode some time back, that God’s laws of life. And God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble is His law of life. We can’t change that. So we can’t choose one and the other and expect a different result.
Milenko: And read something like Psalm 25:9. There it says: “The humble He guides in justice, and the humble He teaches His way.” There is nothing better than His way. His justice. It’s perfect. God is perfect in love, in righteousness, in everything. And when we learn His way, it can’t be done better. So humility really is the building block on which everything can be done according to His will.
Eunice: Yeah. And it says also in Proverbs 11:2: “When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom.” And that’s because we learn from God, actually, what’s the right thing to do. And that is something that is unshakable.
Milenko: There’s so many Bible verses, when you start looking at it, there’s so many Bible verses …
Eunice: Yeah, we have such a long list here.
Milenko: We’re got a really long list. I was just looking at one here in Micah 6:8. And it says here exactly what God wants us to do. Like, if you’re unsure what’s God’s will, here it says: “He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” There you have it. And there again, it comes back to this, that in my relationships to other people, then we can see things that come up. Like irritations or demands or …
Milenko: … taking sides or blaming. Or wanting to be a doormat or wanting to dominate other people. All these things come from my will. But walking humbly with God means I do His will. That means that I say the right thing, that I do the right thing, that I don’t do what I want to do. I don’t answer back the way I want to do it. I humble myself. I judge that which comes up from me. And then I can say something that is according to God’s will. And that’s always going to be good and blessed. Whether it’s an exhortation or a reprimand or the opposite. That you’re really blessing someone or thanking them. It’s because I’m doing God’s will.
Eunice: I think you’re talking about a gospel now that can change the world, if everybody did that.
Milenko: Well absolutely it is. And that’s why we said also that this is the most important thing you can learn. And when we say that, it’s not because it’s something that comes to us naturally. We have to learn it. And I think you said, to start with as well, that it’s not something that you feel is just there for you. And you don’t feel very humble and I think that’s how everyone has it. The things is that we have to practice humility. We have to deny ourselves, as Jesus says. Take up our cross. We have to be obedient to the point of death, just like Jesus. And that’s humility. Do it in obedience to God’s will. And in that way, God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven, as Jesus prays. That’s the result of humility. It’s life changing. God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven.
Eunice: And we can create that paradise in our situations, in our home and in our … with the people we have to do with, you know. That’s the first step to changing the world.
Milenko: Yeah. And when you think about the world to come, the new heaven and a new earth, what so very, very different between that world and this world is that in that world to come, God’s will will always be done. That’s the result of humility. We can start having heaven on earth with people we are. Around us, people can experience that taste of heaven. Because God’s will is being done.
Eunice: Yeah. You have a care for the people you love and then you find that you do things that hurt them. And imagine that they can have a piece of heaven at home and at work. And I mean, if you have a love for people, then this is something we have to do! There is no other way.
Milenko: Yeah. And it has fantastic results. Giving up everything in this world for Jesus, giving up my own will, it only has gain. Humility leads to gain. And what it is, it leads to exaltation. And who gets exalted? It’s God. I think that’s what we can conclude with. That that’s the most important of all. Humility, that “I” disappear, but then God becomes great. And that can happen through my life. And what results that has for people around me, too. It’ll be good to be together with me when I’m like that, hey?
Eunice: Yeah. I personally think also, when you’re with people who exude, actually, humility, it’s something so attractive. It’s an attractive life that draws you to that same life.
Milenko: Very much so.
Eunice: And it’s something I want to reach out for with all my heart. It appears so attractive to me. And we have it as a title. “Why humility is the most important thing we can ever learn.” And I think we can all make this our agenda in life. To make humility the main agenda in our life. And that every opportunity that I learn to see where I can voluntarily humble myself and let God take the upper hand.
Milenko: So let’s challenge our listeners to that this week. To really see the opportunities where you can humble yourself. Think about it in these terms: humbling myself. What does that mean? And how is God going to be exalted in my life here now? And go and find words about humility, about poverty in spirit, about lowliness of mind, and see what the promises are. See what God can do in such people.
Eunice: So I think we have to end here, Milenko. We’re pretty excited about this topic.
Milenko: We can talk for a while, I think.
Eunice: But we actually have a brand-new animation video coming out on the topic “God gives grace to the humble.” So really do go check it out, you don’t want to miss it. And you can find it on our website or our YouTube channel. And we’ll stick a link in the description as well.
Milenko: And you can also read more on our topic page on ActiveChristianity about humility. And there’s also a new website, Words-of-Faith.org. And it’s about the writings and messages of a very God-fearing man, whose name was Elias Aslaksen, from Norway. And it tells a little bit about his life. Fascinating. And the way he spoke, he really got people to read God’s word as it is and believe it as it is. And when he spoke about humility, at the end of his life he said it that way too, didn’t he, that he always thought humility was important, but that now he saw that humility was everything.
Eunice: So thank you for listening thus far and have an awesome, awesome week.
Milenko: All the best. Bye everyone.