Saturday, 17 October 2009


Here's a question:

Usually we talk about humility that comes from brokenness - i.e. from sinfulness

Yet it is Jesus who is most humble - is that because of sin?

I'm sure humility is an 'eternal attribute' of the Living God
how then should we become humble - that is not because of sin, but because of Who our Father is?

Any takers?


Nicolai said...

Philippians 2:
"(2) ...being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. (3) Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (4) Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others."

And then follows this famous passage about Christ, where it says in verse 8:
"And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."

So both times humility goes hand in hand with love. So what is the relationship between humility and love? Do we need humility to love? Or does love automatically bring humility?
Both in a way, but more...
1 Corinthians 13 says:
"(4) Love is patient and kin; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant (5) or rude. It does not insist on its own way; ..." (feel free to read on)
That basically reads like "love is humble", although the word 'humility' does not directly occur. So humility is a characteristic of love.
We know that "God is love", and we know that "In this is love: not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4:10)
So humility is an attribute of love, and love is (expressed) in the cross (also linking that back to Phil. 2). As we see Jesus on the cross, with all His love and humility, we also feel loved and humbled. We believe God's forgiveness for all our sins, let go of our proud resistance and come afresh into the wide-open humble and loving arms of God.

How then should we become humble? Looking at the cross more, believing Jesus love for us, and becoming more like Him.

Glen said...

I really like Nicolai's answer.

I've been thinking about 'humbling' in the wilderness sense recently. The LORD leads the Israelites 'to humble (anah) them.' (Deut 8:2-5) Here's some of my word study results:


Gen 15:13 – What the Egyptians did to Israel! (Ex 1:11,12; Deut 26:6)

Gen 16:6 – What Sarah did to Hagar! The Angel then says to submit to it (v9)!

Ex 10:3 – What Pharaoh refused to do before the LORD.

Ex 22:21 – What Israelites must not do to widows and orphans! The LORD is watching and will care for them!(v22)

Lev 16:29,31; 23:29 – What you must do to yourself on the day of atonement. (fast)

Deut 21:14 – ‘humiliates’ like a captured woman married and then discarded

Deut 22:24 – ‘violated’ like committing adultery with another man’s wife

Deut 31:21 – What will come upon the people as a result of covenant breaking. (2 Sam 7:10)

Ruth 1:21 – What the LORD did to Naomi , bringing calamity on her

Ps 105:18 – The ‘bruising’ of Josephs feet by the shackles

Psalm 119:67 Before I was *afflicted* I went astray, but now I obey your word.

Psalm 119:71 It was good for me to be *afflicted* so that I might learn your decrees.

Psalm 119:75 I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous, and in faithfulness you have *afflicted* me.

Psalm 119:107 I have *suffered* much; preserve my life, O LORD, according to your word.

Isaiah 53:4 Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and *afflicted*.

Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and *afflicted*, yet He did not open His mouth; He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so He did not open His mouth.

Is 58:3 – Fasting (cf Lev 16 etc)

Zephaniah 3:19 At that time I will deal with all who *oppressed* you; I will rescue the lame and gather those who have been scattered. I will give them praise and honour in every land where they were put to shame.

Zech 10:2 – the ‘oppression’ resulting from not having a shepherd.

There are also those humbled – like Moses (Num 12:3). They are the ones who are saved : Zeph 2:3; Ps 76:9; 147:6; 149:4 – ‘He crowns the humble with salvation’.

And it’s the humble who Christ preaches to – Is 61:1.

Also humility is the cause for which Christ fights – Psalm 45:4

yemsee said...

yup humbling is a definite relation to fasting

in fact the translation is sometimes
fasting = humbling = affliction = making oneself sick (cf. Jam 4)

Thus humbling must be reliance on the Word of God alone - and yup good one Nicolai - the root cause of that is the Love of the Father

thus recognition of sinfulness i don't think is the correct source of humbling? Rather the character of God?

yemsee said...

a couple of add ons

even our recognition of sinfulness comes from the presentation of Christ to us

how then do we become more humble? by simply enjoying the love of God, and realising there is no need to supersede Him... there is no purpose of pride

Pride is a feeding from the world, you need to exalt yourself so that others look up to you

Loving relationship demands that you exalt the other person - because you love that person..
therein there is no pride left in you for who do you need to prove yourself to?

Jesus is the most humble person, because He is most secure in the love of God
similarly so is Moses, not because he is the 'chief of all sinners'

Sin brings only guilt and shame
Love brings acceptance and humility

jacky said...

wow great discussion..

thought i should side-track just a bit (but not too far away).

now what about "repenting"? the LORD repents - 1 Samuel 15:35 (vs. 1 Samuel 15:29; Genesis 6:6). surely that's not necessarily related to sin either..?

if repentance means "restoration" (i.e. Genesis 6 = the LORD restoring man after the flood), then true repentance means restoration in Christ but death must come first (i.e. Noah's consumption of flesh) - so Israel was restored in David, but must come after Saul first. 2nd Adam after 1st Adam... and so forth.

i like these word studies. makes you re-define human terms from His perspective (as it should be!)

Nicolai said...

Yeah, nice discussion. Thanks for doing all the work, Glen.

So let's talk about fasting...^^
What exactly is the reasong to fast? I mean true fasting? Take Luther for example, who did a lot of stuff like fasting, sleeping on the floor with no pillow, etc. Where exactly is the line between true humbling an false humbling, and how is this about God's love?

Just curious. It's actually something I struggle with a bit.

Alan McGuffog said...

hmm interesting question obviously the passage in Isaiah 58 springs to mind particularly verse 6

"Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?"

Jesus picks up on this idea once more quoting Isaiah 29:13

"people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips while their hearts are far from me..."

True fasting therefore is judged only by the heart and not the outward appearance.

In Luther's early days as a monk his fasting was a way of trying to please God and earn favour but later he saw this was pointless, such a thought that we can somehow earn God's grace through our works is a horrendous one.

ah Amos 8:11 is just crazy being forced to fast from food and drink we could do gladly in comparison to the fasting of hearing the word of the Lord.

yemsee said...


get Blackham's Farm Fellowship Sermon on Fasting

and John Piper on Isaiah 58

those together are pretty comprehensive

JonahGold said...

Yes, the connection to love for humility seems vital.

Humans may be humble because of sin and thus depending on God for salvation, but God the Son is humble because he depends on God the Father and God the Spirit. No part if the Trinity can do anything without each other - they are dependant on one another. I suppose we are called likewise to be humble because of a such positive dependence rather than negative one because of sin.