Practicing Humility

Then he said to them,“Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me also welcomes my Father who sent me. Whoever is the least among you is the greatest.” Luke 9:48 #DailyBibleReading #BibleReadingPlan

The Bible speaks frequently about humility (good) and pride (bad). Repeatedly we are told to humble ourselves and that the least will be the greatest. Both the Old and New Testament explain the benefits of humility and that pride goes before a fall.

Clearly, “humility” is an important condition to practice, but society tells me something different. I am bombarded with messages about the importance of self-confidence and believing I can do anything I set my mind to. From an early age, we are told to be proud of ourselves and believe in ourselves. How do these messages fit in with the messages from the Bible?

First, some definitions (all from Merriam-Webster):

Humility: freedom from pride or arrogance :the quality or state of being humble

Humble: (1) :not proud or haughty :not arrogant or assertive (2) :reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of deference or submission ; (3) a :ranking low in a hierarchy or scale

Pride: :the quality or state of being proud: such as
a :inordinate self-esteem
b :a reasonable or justifiable self-respect
c :delight or elation arising from some act, possession, or relationship

Self-Esteem: a confidence and satisfaction in oneself

Self-Confidence: confidence in oneself and in one’s powers and abilities

From what I’ve read in the Bible over the past two years in my #DailyBibleReading, I don’t think most of the self-esteem messages that society sends are consistent with the Bible. Instead of spending my time building my self-confidence, I should be building my relationship with Jesus. Instead of putting my faith in my ability, I should put my faith in God’s power. Instead of teaching my daughters to be confident in themselves and their abilities, I should be teaching them to put their confidence in Jesus working through them.

I want my daughters to be extremely confident. But not in their own abilities. I want them to be 100% confident in Jesus.

Human abilities fail. I can’t do everything. I’m not Superwoman. She doesn’t exist. I won’t and don’t succeed at everything. I fail. When I was younger I heard people say that I could be anything I wanted when I grew up. But that was a lie. No matter how much I might want to be; I’ll never be a great athlete. I don’t have the ability. I’ll never be an accountant or actuary because my mind isn’t wired that way.

That doesn’t mean God doesn’t have an important plan for my life and a purpose for His kingdom. He does. He says that as Christians we are all part of the His church and have important roles to play. The most important role is loving God and loving others as myself.

“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Philippians 2:3-4 

How can I practice humility? How do I humble myself?

  • Realize that every ability and opportunity I have isn’t from me . . . it is a gift from God.
  • Understand and appreciate that every person is better than me in some way. The 2-year-old in the line at the grocery store may have greater faith. The homeless man on the corner could teach me about patience. The woman in the nursing home may have a faith and prayer-life that can move mountains. If I take the time to look closely – to get to know people – I can learn a lot.
  • Talk less. Listen more.
  • Observe
  • Be grateful.
  • Thoughtfully receive criticism without reacting in anger or defensiveness.
  • Confess my sins to God and others.
  • Submit to authority . . . including my husband.
  • Forgive
  • Think less about myself and more about Jesus.
  • Pray
  • Speak well about others. Look for the strengths of others and lift them up.
  • Ask for help.
  • Realize I don’t have all the answers. But God does.
  • Don’t focus on what I want to do and what I want to be . . . seek God’s will in my life, obey Him, and put my confidence in Him finishing the good work He started.

And the man said to me, “Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you.” When he said this to me, I stood up, still trembling. Then he said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer.” Daniel 10:11-12 

And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.” James 4:6-8,10 

 

 

 

 

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30 Days of Gratitude

I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD. Psalms 116:17 

#DailyBibleReading #BibleReadingPlan

In the Old Testament, the Israelites made “thanksgiving” offerings to God, praising and thanking Him (Leviticus 7). Throughout Psalms and the New Testament, there are many verses and examples of people thanking God. We are instructed to give thanks and praise God.

With Thanksgiving looming around the corner and repeated biblical encouragement to be thankful, how can I cultivate a heart of Thanksgiving? How can I teach my children to be grateful?

30 Days of Gratitude

  1. Write a prompt thank you note upon receiving a gift or act of kindness.
  2. Smile and thank people I come in contact with – from someone opening a door for me to a waiter to my child or my husband.
  3. Thank God daily for His greatness and the gifts He has given me.
  4. Keep a gratitude journal.
  5. Put a stickie note in my daughters’ backpack or lunch, thanking them for something specific they’ve done.
  6. Send my parent or grandparent a card, thanking them for loving me and something unique they’ve done that I appreciate.
  7. Leave a huge tip.
  8. Sing praise songs to Jesus.
  9. If I see someone in uniform, thank him or her for their service. If it is in a coffee shop, pick up the tab.
  10. Call someone out on Facebook in a positive way, thanking them/praising them for something they’ve done.
  11. Call an elected official or send a note to thank them for something they’ve done . . . even if they are of a different political party.
  12. Compliment an employee to their superior.
  13. Send my child’s teachers a nice note or email, thanking them for teaching my daughter.
  14. Write my husband a love letter, listing at least 10 detailed things about him that I’m grateful for.
  15. Verbally thank a co-worker for something they’ve done or something I appreciate about them (not by email or text).
  16. Don’t complain for one full day. Don’t even think complaints. Shut them down as soon as they start and concentrate on the positive.
  17. Congratulate someone on an accomplishment.
  18. Volunteer at least one day out of 30 . . . visit a nursing home, serve a meal at a homeless shelter, pass out food at a food pantry, etc.
  19. In a group setting, praise my husband for something specific.
  20. Bring a snack to my church office with a thank you note for the pastors and staff.
  21. Offer to take a friend out and tell them how much I appreciate their friendship. Pay for lunch or coffee.
  22. Send a cute/funny GIF by text to thank someone.
  23. Spend time before church praying and preparing my heart . . . and then during church concentrate completely on God while singing His praises.
  24. Make an anonymous contribution or give a gift to someone in need, without them knowing who it is from.
  25. Practice saying “no thank you” in front of my children and encourage them to do the same. Show gratitude even when declining something.
  26. Thank God for everything . . . that means even the hard things. Even the things I don’t like. Even the hurts I’ve experienced. Thank Him for those experiences, recognize He is in control and all things will work together for good.
  27. Have my husband and children do a Love Languages quiz and then pick several concrete things to do to show them love in their language.
  28. Watch my tone – use gentle words and a kind tone when talking to my family.
  29. Give my husband a small gift to thank him for loving me.
  30. Set a good example for my kids – say “thank you” regularly and encourage them to thank others. Talk to them about the importance of saying thanks and gently point out opportunities to say thanks.

Then I will praise God’s name with singing, and I will honor him with thanksgiving. For this will please the LORD more than sacrificing cattle, more than presenting a bull with its horns and hooves. Psalms 69:30-31

Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him. Psalms 95:2

Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Colossians 4:2

Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. Colossians 3:16-17