Today: Thursday, November 21, 2019

Walking Humbly    (12/17/2017)

Charles Dickens created a wonderful parody of humility in the character of Uriah Heep - even his name makes him sound obnoxious!  With his false ‘umbleness went insincerity and dishonesty - enough to give humility a very bad name.

But it doesn’t have to be like that.  Real humility is in total contrast to the self-centred arrogance of many a world leader - people who are convinced of their own greatness.  St Paul’s advice, unheeded by many, was “Don’t think of yourself more highly that you should” (Romans 12, verse 3).  Avoid an exaggerated sense of your own importance.

What’s the best gift you can bring to God, is the question Micah asked (Micah 6: verse 8).  Actually, he says, it’s not so much what you can give, or what you can do for God, but your attitude to God and to yourself.  

He sums it up in the words we keep coming back to -
“Do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.”  

Walking with someone suggests a companionship, a sharing of dreams, a working together, an attitude of friendship.  I can think of a few occasions when I have literally walked alongside people I have greatly respected, people of some standing.  The natural thing has been to listen to them, to draw on their wisdom, to learn from their experience.  To walk with God implies something similar, though far greater.

Perhaps easier to imagine walking with Jesus.  Come into partnership with me, he once said, so that we are like two oxen yoked together and moving together to do some work together (Matthew 11, verse 29), “for I am gentle and humble in heart.”

But what else does 'walking humbly' mean?

It means acknowledging that all of life comes from God, that we are not in control of our own destinies, and that we owe everything to the God who made us.

It means giving reverence to God, putting ourselves in his hands, offering the gift of life back to him who gave it, looking out for what he wants above all else.
It means caring about God’s creation, respecting the lives of others and the life of the world he has made, seeing ourselves as a part of his purpose alongside many others.
It means living as God wants.  “Real happiness,” says Jesus, “comes to those who are humble - they will receive what God has promised” (Matthew 5, verse 5).  Humility is the door to receiving what God has to give.

Humility is easily despised as weak and lacking in character.  But humility itself has been claimed and transformed by Jesus himself.  St Paul wrote of Jesus that great as he was, he was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death (Philippians 2, verse 8).

For those who want to follow Jesus today, he is the companion to walk with, his the attitude to breath in.  And there are these great words of Micah that remind us that the best we can bring to God is to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God.


Teach me, Lord, to do what is fair and just and good to my neighbour, to be compassionate and loyal in my love, and not to take myself too seriously — but to take God seriously. 

[Based on Micah 6, verses 6-8]

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