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Humility

By George H. Alquist Jr.


      Humility is the "Who am I" attitude. So many times in the scripture we are told of the blessings of humility. James 4:6 says, "But He giveth more grace. Wherefore He saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble." In Proverbs 16:18-19 we read, "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud." Again we read about humility in I Peter 5:5, "Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility."

      King David is a wonderful example of someone who demonstrated a "Who am I" attitude. When hearing that he was to wed the daughter of King Saul his response was, "Who am I? and what is my life, or my father's family in Israel, that I should be son in law to the king?," I Samuel 18:18. Upon hearing the news that his son would build the Temple of God and that he would have an everlasting throne, David again responded as follows in II Samuel 7:18, "Then went King David in, and sat before the Lord, and he said, Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house, that Thou hast brought me hitherto?". David truly had a humility of spirit that was genuine. David had the understanding that he did not deserve the great kindnesses and blessings of God. Some men might have had the attitude that would have said, "Well, it's about time I get some recognition and reward for all that I am and all that I have done!" Oh, maybe not too many would say that out loud, but a multitude would say it in their hearts. Which after all is where God looks, "...the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." I Samuel 17:7

      We must be careful that we do not develop a "false" humility. A "false" humility is that humility which is proud of itself for being so humble. God warns us of "humbly" having too high an opinion of ourselves in Romans 12:3, "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." Other people do not usually share your high opinion of yourself. Such high opinions result in the sin of pride. David's humbleness may be the reason why the Scripture calls him a man after God's own heart. He remembered who and what he was and Who and What God is. Even in the area of giving and serving the Lord David displayed this characteristic as evidenced in I Chronicles 29:14, "But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? For all things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee." David saw it as a privilege to give to God, not a duty. David realized that it required great condescension on God's part for Him to deal with sinful men.

      Paul the apostle had the same spirit of "Who am I" when he wrote to the Corinthians about respect of persons. He says in I Corinthians 3:5, "Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?" Paul never forgot that he was the "chiefest of sinners" and always maintained a "Who am I" attitude. Paul understood that he was a sinner saved by the amazing grace of God and was allowed to serve Him. When writing to his young preacher boy, Timothy, Paul says, "And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, Who hath enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry," I Timothy 1:12. The word counted is the English word for the Greek word hegeomai which means reckoned. Paul knew that faithfulness was put on his account. Reckoned is a bookkeeping term indicating that God credited to Paul the quality of faithfulness. Paul was not called because of who or what he was, but whose he was. He continued as he wrote in I Corinthians 3:6 & 7, "I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase."

      An attitude that goes along with the "Who am I" attitude is the "What am I" attitude. John the Baptist manifested this attitude when his disciples questioned him about Christ. The disciples of John were worried that John's followers would follow after Christ instead of John. He replied in John 3:26 & 30, "...A man can receive nothing except it be given him from heaven. He (Christ) must increase, but I must decrease." This is what I call the "What am I" attitude. John was not jealous of Christ, but rather he was humble desiring for Christ to get the glory which John's disciples felt belonged to him. This attitude does not seek the congratulations of men, the acceptance of peers, or the applause of the crowds, but it seeks the approval of Christ. Although recognition and reward may come to the humble it is never the motivation for usefulness and service. "What am I" always remembers that it is an underserved privilege to serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. This humble spirit seeks to direct all glory and praise to Christ.

      Now that we have the "Who am I" and the "What am I" attitude we must couple them with the "Here am I" attitude. Isaiah portrays such an attitude. When hearing of Israel's plight and the Lord's desire of a man he replied in Isaiah 6:1-8, "Here am I, send me." Isaiah demonstrates an attitude of availability and willingness to be used, when, where, how, and why God determines. Paul displays this same attitude in Acts 9:1 -6 when he says, "What wilt Thou have me to do?" Too many today have the "Let someone else do it" attitude or the "I am somebody" attitude. We need more Christian servants that will determine to be like Isaiah and Paul and volunteer. We need more believers who are willing to be like John the Baptist and be content to be used of God in whatever capacity He deems best.

      Three attitudes: 1. "Who am I?" 2. "What am I?" 3. "Here am I!" GET THEM AND GET GOING!

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