Friday, April 5, 2013

How Does God Teach Us Humility?

Centuries of years ago, there lived a great king. His kingdom was prosperous. He became a strong conqueror and his name was renowned all over the world. But, as you may know, there is one evil which always tarries and lingers over the top. Whenever a man rises to greatness, there is often an itch to scratch one’s majesty. Pride follows greatness and precedes fall.

One day as this king walked on the roof of his royal palace, looking at his kingdom, he bragged, "Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?" As soon as he entertained pride, "he was driven away from people and ate grass like cattle. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird."

At the end of that time, as it was prophesized, the king was humbled by afflictions, realizing and acknowledging the King of heaven, who alone is worthy to be praised and glorified. Eventually giving glory to God, the king said, “Those who walk in pride He is able to humble.”

This is a humbling story of King Nebuchadnezzar recorded in Daniel 4:1-37. 

God’s Chiseling Tools

Don't we have a great lesson to learn from the foolishness of King Nebuchadnezzar? We all are inhabited by pride and conceit. If anyone has doubts about this, isn’t this itself a great evidence of the resident pride which blinded our eyes?

How did God humble King Nebuchadnezzar? God taught humility by taking him through humiliation. He taught him meekness by taking him through weakness. He taught him lowliness of spirit by taking him through distressful situations.

There is something worth observing here—God did not directly produce humility in King Nebuchadnezzar’s heart. He took him through sorrow and pain through which He humbled the king before His majesty.

Did you ever pray to God to keep you humble and meek? We expect God to answer our prayer for humility by directly conforming our attitude to meekness. But this is not how God generally works in us.

Do you want to know the chiseling tools God uses to carve humility within us? Here they are—insults, humiliation, offense, rejection, mistreatment, accusation, injustice, pain, oppression, failure…etc. These are the tools God uses in the workshop of conforming people to meekness.

God’s Ways of Teaching Humility

How often have we prayed to God to humble us but abruptly and vehemently reacted to some difficult person or to some troubling situation which may be God’s messengers to answer our prayer to teach us humility!

To produce this great virtue of humility, God often takes us through great afflictions. He lets hardened people to give us hard times. He permits despairing situations. Recalling God’s good work in humbling his heart, C.H. Spurgeon writes:
I am always very grateful for the rough treatment I received in my earlier days from all sorts of people. The moment I did any good thing at all, they were at me like a pack of hounds. I did not have time to sit down and boast of what I had done, for they were raving and roaring at me continually. If I had been picked up all of a sudden and placed where I am now, it is likely that I would have gone down again just as quickly. (The Soul Winner, pg. 49)
O, many of us are still disfigured in Christian character because of our resistance to God’s tools in shaping us into a man and woman He wants us to be! I am convicted of manifesting such foolish and obstinate behavior many times. But those who persevere under adversity are beautifully carved out by the Holy Spirit, wonderfully reflecting God’s sublime virtues.

No Adversity, No Humility

If we want to be humble in life, may we heed well the counsel of Andrew Murray:
Place yourself before God in your utter helplessness. Consent heartily to the fact of your weakness to slay or make yourself alive. Sink down into your own nothingness, in the spirit of meek and patient and trustful surrender to God. Accept every humiliation, look upon every fellow-man who tries or vexes you, as a means of grace to humble you. Use every opportunity of humbling yourself before your fellow-men as a help to remain humble before God. (Humility, pg. 76)
Remember, God does not bypass adversity to produce humility within us. We have to let ourself to be deeply hurt if we expect God to produce deep humility in us. No one can learn humility if he is reluctant to face adversity.

All those who have attempted to bypass God’s ways of learning humility and hurriedly climbed over the top through self-effort—they had to learn hard lessons after the fall. Better to learn before the climb than to learn after the fall.

Let us allow God to thoroughly refine us in the flames of affliction and humiliation, for we would not only shine brightly in His virtues but may also remain humble in them as we progress in life. Glory be to the Most High God who is able to humble us, the proud!



  1. Yeah, Brother!

    I perfectly agree with you as I was one who was chiseled by the Lord to teach humility! Practical experience in 2011!

    Bless you!

    Praveen, Madanapalle

  2. I feel the lord is working on me through my weaknesses . The lessons are tough, who am I to question the creator. His love for me is seen in his discipline .

  3. I'm certainly in a period of humbling through humiliation and failure. But, I can certainly see God's hand in this, for before I had too much pride and ambition that often made me ineffective in the Lord's work. He is helping me to prioritize my life and the significant things in my life, Him utterly first, then all else will line up perfectly as I am led by Him which in turn will bring me great satisfaction being in His will :)