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To remain humble
- Jacob Ninan
When do we usually humble ourselves? Is it only after we have fallen or made a blunder, and seen how limited and fragile we are? Then we remember how we need to depend on the Lord more for grace to sustain us. Then we recognise that we had been becoming self-sufficient again. Most of us associate humility with a recognition of sin. But that was not how it was with Jesus who never sinned! He realised He could do nothing without the Father (Jn.5:30). That was what kept Him humble, always leaning on the Father.
Jesus the sinless Son of God grew in wisdom (Lk.2:52). It is difficult to imagine how He could have grown in wisdom if we think He had all wisdom as God anyway. But we know that even though He was the Son of God He lived here as the Son of Man, refusing to act as God while He was in the form of man (Php.2:6,7). He wanted to be an example for us. He did not learn wisdom after He had done something wrong, as we are prone to do, but He sought for wisdom from the Father whenever a new situation presented itself. When He faced the crowd with the adulterous woman, wasn't He waiting on the Father to hear wisdom? That's how He grew in wisdom.
We stray away from humility when things are going well, things are successful, and we think we know how to handle things. We don't realise how we are letting go of the hand of the Father and thinking we know this road only too well. Then another blunder comes along to wake us up from our spiritual sleep.
It may seem as if there is an inevitable cycle about this whole process. We have fallen, we humble ourselves, we seek to keep close to the Lord, we experience His grace, we take things for granted, and then we fall again! Obviously Jesus didn't go through this cycle. One secret of His was that He spent time seeking the Father's face before crises and after success. He humbled Himself and sought for wisdom and grace before facing tough situations, and after He went through success He deliberately acknowledged His Father's hand in carrying Him through. In other words, by attributing His success to the Father He protected Himself from becoming euphoric about it and taking the next success for granted.
Nothing good is in our flesh (Ro.7:18), and every good thing we have has come from the Father (Jas.1:17). Any tendency to think as if we have done or achieved something great is dangerous (1Co.4:7). But that is where we can get deceived.
The Bible warns us not to think we are able to stand lest we should fall (1Co.10:12). In other words one of the reasons why we fall is that we were thinking we would not fall. We know in our head that we can fall, because we have fallen far too many times already. Yet success seems to have an intoxicating influence on our thinking. Do we imagine that this time we have become strong or wise? No, our enemy is far too clever for us, and he has the advantage of thousands of years of experience deceiving people. May we learn to be humble, and also to remain humble.