This is deep teaching on one of the most important practical spiritual topics ever, yet sadly it’s greatly neglected by the mainstream churches. It concerns a spiritual spectrum that runs from total obedience to our Creator God to the other pole which is total self-centeredness. When we attempt to be humble in our own strength and in the wrong spirit, we simply increase our self-centeredness. For instance, when I was Amish there was the story of the farmer praying in his barn for humility, and then thanking God at the end of his prayer that he was so humble. Only by focusing on Christ (and not ourselves) and allowing his Spirit to move in us are we able to have a pure humility. A self-centered humility is a pseudo humility. Along with true humility comes suffering. If one can accept that suffering, it can function like an inoculation that prevents him from greater suffering. The text that touches on this combo of topics is Philippians 2:8.
PHL 2:8 “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Another verse describing this humbling says: “suffered for sins…put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” (A) It is quoted to show that the Spirit of God was present when Christ humbled himself in obedience and suffered on the cross. We are asked in GAL 5:24 to crucify our flesh in a parallel fashion. Another verse says: “…because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (B) Further, there are many scriptures that describe godly suffering leading to rewards.(C) The humble servant to others is rewarded.(D) In the Word of God, one will find humility both rewarded and linked with suffering, which is also rewarded.
SUFFERING. Humility for Christ meant that he had to accept some suffering throughout his life. Likewise, all of us followers of Christ will experience suffering. If we are able to accept it, quite often our acceptance of it means that we will suffer far less in the long run. Rather like taking yucky medicine or some helpful, yet painful treatment. For instance, if we do not suffer some little indignity or hurt from our spouse and instead divorce, then we set ourselves for far greater pain than the original item. For example, I know a husband who overheard his wife saying mildly negative things about him on the phone to her girlfriend and so he divorced her. “When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly [humble in heart] is wisdom.”(E) The Spirit is present in real humility…and His attributes include love, joy and longsuffering. (See the Fruit of the Spirit in GAL 5:22).
True humility will have the Spirit involved in it and will have love and longsuffering as part of it. Love contains longsuffering. For example, a mother’s perception of pain is reduced in dealing with her baby. We need to accept our suffering. The mild suffering the nation of Israel endured when they escaped Egypt was nothing like the 40 years they wandered in the wilderness because of their bad attitudes towards their original mild suffering. I think of the suffering that Mary, the mother of Jesus, joyfully endured. Her adventure in Bethlehem would be grounds for divorce for most women today. Her husband did not provide properly for her, but stuck her in a manure filled barn.(F) She got no hospital, or even hotel room. She got no mid wife. She got a bumpy ride on a donkey, that surprisingly did not cause her to miscarry.
REWARDS FOR OVERCOMING WORLDLY SUFFERING. Satan & his World system intends to discourage us by traumatic pains. Those who overcome these pains—using godly humility—will gain authority over the world (“power over the nations”)(G) and an inheritance (H) I am reminded of the verse in Acts 8:33, “In his humiliation his judgment was taken away…”
CONCLUSION. We need godly humility to overcome the world. In order to receive this true humility we need to focus on Christ, have his Spirit indwell and lead us, and be willing to suffer with the longsuffering that goes with love. In return for this humility, we can overcome the World, we will suffer less in the long run, and we will gain different rewards, like our godly inheritance… now and later. May God continue to bless you my friend.
(A) 1 PTR 3:18 (B) 1 JN 3:16 (C)MT 5:11-12, 2 TIM 2:12, HEB 11:26, REV 20:4 (D) MT 10:42 (E) PRV 11:2, cf. PRV 13:10 (F) cf. LK 2:7 (G) REV 2:26 (H) REV 21:7