Monday, October 31, 2016

The Upside of Humility

I live in a place with a lot of very smart people (Silicon Valley). That being said, folks here have much to be proud of, and may have heard more than one warning about ‘pride coming before a fall’ (Proverbs 16:18). 

And yet, with the world as our backdrop, how do we not go there? 


False modesty, or living “down” from our potential are certainly not attractive options. No one wants to spend their lives either feeling, or presenting themselves as “less than” just to avoid the pride trap. In fact, being proud of your humility is a flipside of the same coin.

In truth, the opposite of pride is not “false” humility (worshiping the "gift"), but rather, spiritual humility, which is worshiping the Giver.

It is exhausting and often detrimental to carry the burden of too much success – or, too much failure. 

We were not designed to thrive under that kind of conditional love and acceptance. There is actually a significant upside to living with spiritual humility that we don’t talk about nearly enough in our me-centered-culture.

The ancient Greeks came up with a plan to mitigate the pitfalls of (1) taking too much pride in success, and (2) becoming devastated by failures. They placed the outcomes (both negative and positive) outside of the recipient, and on to a muse (a third-party spirit), thus preserving their emotional well-being and good character. My point being that this is not a new problem – and that they were on to something.

God, in his infinite wisdom and love, made a way through this dilemma for us. 


It is through spiritual humility that we can see ourselves – the good, and the not-so-good – for who we really are: creation, not Creator. What a relief it is to be the creation and reflection of an amazing, magnificent Father who created us to glorify Him.

It's all about Him, and His glory. 


Now, before you write off God as a narcissistic cosmic being, consider the upside: If He loves Himself, and He made us in His image, then He quite naturally loves us – everything about us. Glorifying Him keeps our hearts “well ordered” as theologian C.S. Lewis puts it. (“Reflections on the Psalms” Harcourt, Brace, by C.S. Lewis, 1958). It takes the pressure off of us! We are much-loved children that cannot fully know the mind and intentions of an almighty Father. Loving and worshiping Him is for our benefit, not His. We are created to be held by Him, and not to hold our own life and everything in it all by ourselves.

Spiritual humility is grounded in perspective.


Step outside of yourself for a moment and consider what a speck you are on this earth, and what a speck the earth actually is in the universe. (To get a glimpse of this, you might enjoy a video by Louis Giglio entitled "How Great is our God".)

We are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) with a God-shaped emptiness inside of us that only He can fill. 


Try filling it up with anything that is “all about you” and you may very well join the ranks of the ‘addicted’, because you will just want more, and there will never be enough.

I have a song for everything:  "How Great is our God" by Chris Tomlin


  1. Amen to that Sharon and well said, as usual.!!!

  2. Terrific piece, Sharon. Genuine humility is a rare commodity in our culture, and the pride trap is everywhere.

  3. Lovely message as always, Sharon. Humility is a hard-to-find commodity in our world!


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