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Luke 18:13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ (NKJV)

Humility is repeatedly put forth in Scripture as a basic characteristic of the Christian. What is the foundation of humility? It can be found in Jesus teaching, commonly known as the Beatitudes:

Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (NKJV)

What exactly is “poor in spirit”? The idea is to be “spiritually destitute and bankrupt”. It is the realization that we are hopelessly lost and in need of being rescued. It goes much deeper than the idea of helping ourselves. It’s like a poor, lame beggar who will die if someone doesn’t come along and take care of him.

That is our dilemma before meeting Christ. We are lost and condemned to eternal death. We have no way of helping ourselves or doing anything to better our situation. We are in need of being rescued by God. We can do nothing to save ourselves and are completely dependent on the Savior. The tax collector in Luke had truly reached the point of “poor in spirit”….

Luke 18:9-14 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!

I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

The beggar realized that nothing he could do would help his condition. He was not even worthy of looking up to ask for help. He understood that no contribution on his part could help. He humbled himself and begged for mercy, which he no doubt received. What effect does true humility have on us?

  • A right knowledge of ourselves
    • We are incapable of living up to God’s standard
      • Romans 8:7-8 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
      • Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
    • We deceive ourselves into thinking we can please God and do right apart from Him
      • Psalm 58:3 The wicked are estranged from the womb; They go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies.
      • Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?
      • Ephesians 2:1-2 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience .
  • A right knowledge of Christ
    • When we see ourselves correctly, then we seek to see Jesus correctly because He is our only Hope. We will seek the true way of salvation knowing that it is impossible in our effort. Christ Alone! Our hope, our joy, our security, our eternity!
    • Correctly understanding to the best of our finite ability what Christ did, who Christ is, what Christ sacrificed, what He accomplished, will only cultivate our humility. Our futile efforts to please God in our own strength pale and diminish with our growing knowledge of Christ’s sufficiency.
    • A right knowledge of Christ leads to a right knowledge of attitude, a right knowledge of worship, and a right knowledge of our dependence on Him.

Humility is not a personal attribute that is cultivated or encouraged today. Pride and self-sufficiency are the way of our world. So we have to dig through alot of misunderstanding and obstacles to learn about and grow in humility.

Psalm 34:18 The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit. (NKJV)

Far from being weak, humility brings us close to God. The more we understand the TRUTH about what we really are, and WHO God really is, the more we can truly begin to develop spiritual maturity, consistency and power.

Father in Heaven, we are need of being rescued by You. Help us to understand that humility allows us to enter more fully into fellowship with You. We pray in faith for wisdom knowing that You will generously grant it. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Contemplation: In the past, how have you defined humility? Do you see it as something negative that Christians have to endure to be “good”? What does “poor in spirit” have to do with being saved?

Application: Humility is understanding reality. It is understanding our true nature and circumstance; and God’s true power and supremacy..

  1. What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
  2. What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
  3. What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?