~ This blog post is an adapted excerpt from a sermon by Brad Ettore. You can hear the whole sermon, The Role of Humility in Our Lives (part 2), from Agathos Church – a non-denominational Christian Church in Columbus, Ohio by clicking here.
If humility was lost by Adam and Eve as part of the fall, then it stands to reason that as children of God, the restoration of this lost humility is of utmost importance! Humility is the only heart condition capable of experiencing true, unfiltered communion with The Creator. I will repeat it again:
Humility is the only heart condition capable of experiencing true, unfiltered communion with The Creator.
Humility predicates our communion with God. Humility predicts our receipt of grace from God. It is not that God is egotistical – far from it – there is ZERO darkness in Him! (1Jn 1:5) His very Own Son became as a man – leaving Heaven – and died for His creation. There is no egotism in God. We simply cannot commune with God out of a place of pride – for if God was to empower our pride, He would be partnering with a lie – namely, promoting the concept that we deserved glory – and apart from Him.
Here is another Saint Augustine quote on humility: “Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.”
In the first chapter of his book titled “Humility,” Andrew Murray pens this: “Humility, the place of entire dependence on God, is, from the very nature of things, the first duty and the highest virtue of the creature, and the root of every virtue. And so pride, or the loss of this humility, is the root of every sin and evil.”
I love that definition! Humility is the “place of entire dependence on God.” That is good!
Saint Augustine also said “it was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.” Look back again at Isaiah 14:12-15. Lucifer was a beautiful angel first. In fact, you can see this dynamic play out with many spoiled children; they were “mommy and daddy’s little angel” – to a point. Now, some years later, they rant and rave at their parents. They scream “mine.” They tell their mommy and daddy to “leave me alone”, etc. Little do they remember that the very room they are telling their parents to leave is owned by their parents. Little do they recall that it was their mother that fed them every 3 hours for months when they were a newborn. Little do they recollect how their father has protected them and provided for them. These things are what is forgotten by the spoiled child. And remember, we call them a “spoiled” child. The concept behind that colloquial expression should not be lost on us. They were a perfectly good child – like a fine, fresh apple – but they have become spoiled. Rotten. Good for nothing. Foul to be around. Why? Pride. They stopped considering who they were in light of who their parents were. They began to think of themselves as their own thing – as though they were in charge.
Now why are we considering the example of a spoiled child? Because that is why God takes the teaching on humility seriously. While the spoiled child is a burden to their parents, the biggest loser in that scenario is the child themselves – if left unchanged, their attitude is setting them up for a life that will fall FAR SHORT of God’s wonderful plans for them! Likewise, God does not want such an insidious root of evil – pride – to take hold of your life and ruin your destiny. Stay free and clear of it and you will grow, grow, grow. Get entangled in it and you will sink, sink, sink. One trajectory (that of humility) goes up and up. The other trajectory (that of pride) goes down and down. God exalts (lifts up, elevates) the humble and humbles (brings low) the proud.
Pride does, however, have a match . . . and the arch-enemy of pride is HUMILITY! Pride cannot stand in the face of humility. Humility is a dynamic superhero that can take down pride in an instant. The ability of truth to drive out lies is amazing to me – it works every time! Humility (the truth of who we are in God) drives out pride (the lie that we are like God) instantly. The kingdom of darkness does not persist in the presence of light.
John Calvin said “I was always exceedingly delighted with that saying of Chrysostom, ‘The foundation of our philosophy is humility’; and yet more pleased with that of Augustine: ‘As the orator, when asked, What is the first precept in eloquence? answered, Delivery: What is the second? Delivery: What is the third? Delivery: so if you ask me concerning the precepts of the Christian religion, I will answer, first, second, and third, Humility.'”
There you have it again. Calvin loves humility. Augustine loves humility. Murray loves humility. God loves humility. Don’t lose humility. It is a beautiful, protective, and powerful virtue!