Humility

Another talk given at Monday night Bible study.

An apology is the superglue of life. It can repair just about anything. ~Lynn Johnston

I’m going to tell you about something that is also very useful In the first book of the Old Testament, after some history God tells us about sin. The Devil tempted Eve to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil by saying that if she ate of the tree she would be like God … The Devil appealed to Eve’s pride to temp her to sin.

In the first book of the New Testament, after some history God tells us about sin. The first Beatitude in the Sermon on the Mount is “Blessed are the poor in spirit”. Commentators have trouble with this verse because when a Christian reads the word spirit they immediately think of the Holy Spirit or the part of man that responds to God. This leaves them wondering how it can be good to not have enough of the spirit that is referred to. This problem is solved by recognizing that “poor in spirit’ is an Aramaic expression meaning humble. Matthew, who thought in Aramaic but wrote in Greek records the translation of the expression. Luke who was a gentile, records this beatitude as “Blessed are the poor”. In both cases the meaning of humble is still there, even in English. The poor are blessed because they are humble and therefore more open to receiving Christ. Luke’s rendering works because we usually assume that the poor are humble, and even when they are not, the proud poor are less proud than the proud rich.

The poor in spirit are blessed because Greek, Hebrew and even French for that matter, use the same word for mind as for spirit and what Matthew is saying is that those people who are poor in mind, that is, those who see themselves as having the status of the poor regardless of their actual economic circumstances are blessed.

The Humble are Blessed, in every way. Humility is like having big muscles, it makes everything easier. Humility is a big part of how the Lost become Christian, How the Christian resists the Devil, How Jesus gives the Christian the abundant life he promised and why the Christian will enjoy heaven. Please be patient with me as I go over some examples.

Humility makes it much easier to become a Christian because you have to admit that you are wrong and change. Perhaps this is why the poor seem to become Christian in greater numbers than others.

Humility makes it easier to resist the Devil. Think about Jesus being tempted in the desert. The devil says ‘you say you are the son of God, turn this stone into bread’. Jesus had no need to prove himself. If I had been Jesus I would have said “I’ll show you, I’ll turn you into bread”. Failing to use Jesus’ pride against him Satan tried the basic human desire to take the easy way out by offering Jesus the whole world. I think it is commendable that Jesus did not say “I wouldn’t bow down to you for the kingdoms of a thousand worlds” Jesus was only interested in obeying his Father. So next Satan takes Jesus to a high point and now impugns the character of Jesus’ Father by insinuating that the Father would not really save Jesus. Again, Jesus has no pride to help Satan with his tempting. For Jesus and for us; the ‘muscles’ of humility make resisting the Devil much easier.

Like every thing that God asks us to do, being humble really is in our own best interest. How many relationships have been broken because one or both always have to right? How many brilliant people have made monumental mistakes because they refused to ask for advice or refused to change direction once it was apparent that they were wrong, probably all of them to some greater or lesser extent.

There is one more big advantage to being humble. If you are humble you will enjoy Heaven more. The prideful in Heaven will be in the presence of someone who is not only bigger and stronger than they are, as you would expect a God to be, but someone who – even when emptied of their power, like Jesus was – is also braver, kinder, more disciplined and has more of every other good quality than them. For the proud, being put in Hell is an act of mercy because they would be even more miserable in heaven. The humble on the other hand will find that despite the vast difference in power and such between themselves and God they will find that God and they actually have a lot in common and they will be enjoy each other’s company for a very, very – an eternity in fact – long time.

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