Focal passage: Luke 18:9-17
Humility doesn’t get you far in corporate America. You want your work to be recognized. Of course you want to avoid being brash, but it feels important that your boss sees your accomplishments. We want to stand out from the crowd. What good is humility when you might be passed over for a promotion?
The Pharisees of Jesus’ day wanted to stand out and be recognized. Because of their devout lifestyle, they believed God would show them special favor. But Jesus warned against such an attitude.
In the parable of the Pharisee and tax collector, Jesus explains that the one who is truly justified – made right with God – is the one with an attitude of humility. Jesus said, “…everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted” (v. 14).
What does it mean to be humble? Many people assume humility means becoming a doormat or deriding oneself in an effort to keep from becoming prideful. This twisted sense of humility isn’t sustainable, healthy or biblical.
Pastor Phillips Brooks explained humility well when he said, “The true way to be humble is not to stoop until you are smaller than yourself, but to stand at your real height against some higher nature that will show you what the real smallness of your greatness is.”
In other words, humility is a proper estimation of oneself. We see ourselves more clearly when we come to God like a child (v. 17) and recognize our true stature next to His.
The truth is simple: God welcomes those who approach Him in humble and simple faith.
While God may be as deep and wide as the ocean, He makes Himself approachable so that even a child can find closeness with Him. When we humble ourselves before God, we can climb to greater heights than we’ve ever known before.