Lesson On Humility

And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and fetch him; for we will not sit down till he comes here.” And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him; for this is he.” Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up, and went to Ra′mah.

Humility

The selection of David by God as the king of Israel is one of numerous stories in sacred scripture that show God’s preference for the lowly. This teaches us the important lesson that God’s favor is drawn by humility: “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5). Humility is not, as it is often thought of in the secular realm, a matter of low self-esteem.

Rather, it is being realistic about oneself, seeing oneself in the light of God and reality. As St. Francis famously said, “We are what we are before God and nothing more.” That is the catch phrase of humility. What we are before God, on the one hand, is a creature and a sinner. On the other hand, we are his redeemed children. Humility would have regard for both of these truths.

We see this most clearly in the life of Jesus. As scripture teaches us, Christ is the perfect model of humility. Christ, who was the very Son of God the Father and equal to him in essence and nature, “humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8). Both Romans and Jews considered crucifixion the most shameful and accursed way to die. Yet, as Paul continues, in view of Christ’s humility, he is exalted as the Lord of all. As Jesus himself says: “Whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12). Christ perfectly displays humility in his willingness to be obedient, but without denying the value or authority God gives him. He does not loathe himself, nor does he exalt himself. He gives himself completely to the will of the Father, and so should we.

Let the Lord show you how to be humble without self-loathing as you come before him in your personal prayer today.

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