He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8
Humility is a big deal to God. Why? Well, let’s consider a couple of good reasons. First, to be humble is simply to be honest. When you and I honestly consider our lives and our abilities, we have to admit that we really need the Lord. I just finished a story by Ellis Peters, who writes the Brother Cadfael series. At the end of the book a secondary character says to Cadfael something like, “I suppose you would say that God has a reach greater than we do.” Cadfael’s answer was simple: “If He does not, we are all in a lot of trouble.” That’s the humility we ought to have. To acknowledge the truth about our need for the Lord is humility. If you or I will ever get to Heaven (and we will!), it will be up to Him. We need Him and that’s simply the truth.
The second good reason God wants us to be humble is that those who are humble draw near to Him. It may not be the comforting thing for me to say, but the truth is that we should be afraid when we look at ourselves or the world for our strength. We should not find security in the economy or the government or in our own health and ability. Those sources of strength will fail us and we are wise if we do not depend on them. But realizing that is scary. When I finally look at the truth about myself, I can become afraid. That’s when I must draw to the Lord. He is the right and faithful source of strength and wisdom in my life. He is the One who protects and provides.
One more. The humble person is a receiver. He does not look at what he wants to give. He looks for what God wants to give. That’s why grace comes to the humble. It isn’t that somehow humility earns grace. It is that the humble person looks to the hand of the Lord with expectation and joy.
So we are to “walk humbly.” Life in the Spirit, life under grace, is a humble life. Now, that isn’t the same as downtrodden or sad. Some of us have been taught that those who are humble are quiet, subservient, and self-deprecating. To be humble in our culture seems to mean becoming a doormat for those who are users or a punching bag for those who are cruel. But, listen: there is nothing here about being humble according to the world’s definition! We are to be humble in relationship with God. I can be bold, strong, even outspoken among men and still be humble in my walk with God.
So, walking in the Spirit is walking humbly with God.