“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped” ~ Philippians 2:4-6.
Humility of mind is vital to one’s ability to empty oneself and obey God at all cost. By implication, I see that failing to humble self before God stems from the prideful desire to be God. It sets our desire over His, failing to surrender to His right over us as Creator-God, Savior, Lord, and King. Humility is a major issue in the human condition, being difficult for us to truly achieve apart from the work of the Spirit of God within us: leastwise, that is my experience. Even in times of appearing most humble, there is too often a self-centered motive involved:
False humility says, “If I allow them to lead (humility to consider the interests of others as more important), perhaps they will like me (self-centered motive).”
God-centered humility says, “I must allow them to lead (humility to consider the interests of others as more important), because that is God’s will in this situation (God-centered motive).”
False humility says, “I must surrender to their ideal (humility to consider the interests of others as more important), because I want the managerial position opening up (self-centered motive).”
God-centered humility says, “I must surrender to their ideal (humility to consider the interests of others as more important), because I appreciate God giving me this job and I serve in this position, doing my best as unto the Lord (God-centered motive).”
True humility of mind forgets self, thinking only of God. It asks, “What is God’s heart desire? What is His will and way in this particular situation?” Note in our focal passage that, though humility “regards the interests of others as more important” than one’s own interests, that practice does not rule out times of one’s own interests taking precedence, as it says, “do not MERELY look out for your own interests.” This tells me that true humility of mind allows God to inspire a right system of prioritizing, so we know when to meet the need or desire of others, and when it is important to follow our own heart desire.
Following the lead of the Spirit to know the will and purpose and pleasure of God is the key to true humility. This humility before God is the ingredient that enables a wife to know when it is important to give self to a friend for the day despite the dishes in need of attention, and when it is important to remain faithful to the duties of homemaking so the needs of the family are met. Humility that allows God to be God is the practice that helps us to discern when our mate’s or child’s need for our undivided attention trumps our desire to read or to watch a favorite TV program, or when our physical need of destressing takes priority so we can have a right attitude toward meeting their need. Our humility is toward God, and that humility has a vital purpose in life:
“Do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: ‘He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us’? But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be miserable and mourn and weep; let your laughter be turned into mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you” ~ James 4:5-10.
The Spirit of God empowers true humility; therefore, God is jealous to find His Spirit active and effective within us. The benefits of this humility toward God that surrenders quickly and completely to the leading of His Spirit, allowing Him to be God in our lives, include:
- The Spirit of God increased and effective in our lives.
- Increased work of God’s grace in our lives.
- Automatic resistance and victory over the devil / demonic / evil.
- Greater nearness to God, increased experience of relationship with Him.
- Deliverance from habits and acts of sin.
- Singleness of mind, settled on eternal purpose, having one heart with God.
- Possession of God’s heart: rejoicing in the things that cause God’s heart to rejoice; weeping over that which brings Him to tears.
- Exaltation / promotion by God as part of the royal court of God’s Kingdom.
Humility before God removes the joy that our sin once brought – sin being anything that goes against Him as Lord and His desire and purpose for our lives. With this heart toward God, we grow to desire the experience of God in every area of life. Anything that pushes away from Him brings remorse and bitter weeping. Growing to love God more than any other selfish desire produces ever-increasing love and desire for more of Him. When we reach this point in our love relationship with God, we grow stronger in our ability to obey at all cost, desiring that nothing come between our God and us. Beloved, as the day of evil increases in the world, it is vital that we develop this humility so our love of God protects us.
“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. …The person who has My commands and keeps them is the one who really loves Me; and whoever really loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I too will love him and will show (reveal, manifest) Myself to him. I will let Myself be clearly seen by him and make Myself real to him” ~ John 14:15, 21, AMP. (See also John 3:36; 1 Peter 4:17; 1 John 2:3-5 and Romans 6-8)