Do We Really Know What Humility Is?
Her approach demonstrated such grace, but also a level of humility rarely seen. Except for Jesus, have you ever witnessed someone take the blame for someone else? Over the past couple of weeks, we have reflected on the lessons to be learned from Abigail found in I Samuel 25. We’ve seen her decisiveness to act quickly, and her grace demonstrated toward others. Another attribute jumps out when we read this chapter…her humility.
Notice how the fault lies with others, yet she steps in and diverts the action away from the mess makers? Abigail acknowledges that her husband is a fool. Yet, she steps in and risks her own life to keep him from being killed. She also thinks of David above her own needs to stop him from shedding innocent blood. In both cases, she places the needs of others ahead of her own.
Our world struggles to find Abigail-like characters today. We see Paul’s prophecy of the last days where people will be lovers of self instead (II Timothy 3:1). How do we demonstrate humility? Let’s first define the term.
One of the best definitions of humility I have heard is not thinking less of ourselves but thinking of ourselves less. It doesn’t downplay who we are or what gifts and talents we have. Rather it focuses our attention more on the needs of others and using our skills to benefit them. Of course, this doesn’t mean inserting ourselves in other’s affairs where we become gossips or inappropriately interfere. However, we focus on meeting the needs of others as the Holy Spirit prompts instead of dwelling on ourselves.
Very closely tied to humility is an understanding of who we are in Christ. We are made in the image of God and He has created us for a specific plan and purpose. Just as God gave us specific gifts, He placed others in our lives to help develop them and train and teach us. We are who we are today because others, including parents, teachers, friends, mentors, and others have impacted us throughout our lives. We wouldn’t be who we are today without that influence. Humility acknowledges those people.
Knowing who we are in Christ yields a confidence to accomplish His assignments. Confidence is not arrogance. Arrogance rings of self-righteousness. Confidence stems from humility realizing that many others impacted us and invested in us to get us where and who we are today.
In our study of Abigail, we see her demonstrate confidence rooted in humility that changed the course of her life and saved many people in the process. We too, can have a powerful effect on others by seeking to serve - using our God-given gifts to help others. True humility isn’t weak or a downplay of our abilities, but an assurance of what we do have is because of God’s work in us. May we all show the world what the beauty of humility looks like.