What is it about humility that turns me off? Oh, I know, the letting go of my pride (it’s humiliating). I have this idea that I’m losing part of myself by setting aside my sense of entitlement and donning the heart of a servant. And, truth be told, I am losing part of myself – the self-consumed part of me that needs to be lost.
What is the goal of our existence? “To glorify God and enjoy him forever.” (Thank you, Westminster Catechism for stating it so well). To truly reach this noble end, I need major spiritual surgery. Many days my goal, disgracefully, is to enjoy myself and glorify my needs. Moving toward my desires naturally moves me away from the cross, and a life lived away from the cross is incomplete, no matter how many of my goals are fulfilled.
Shalom, it’s one of my favorite biblical words. It’s translated peace, but the realm of its definition is far more vast. True peace is not the much pursued “world peace”, meaning political justice and the appeasement of war. True peace is not even serenity within our personal circumstances. True peace is the wholeness of a healed mind, heart, and spirit. True peace is a completeness that comes from God’s redemptive work. Pride impedes peace. Pride holds peace to a cursory definition: absence of conflict.
Humility burgeons the full reality of peace within us. Humility is the portal to shalom. Through humility – that is, setting aside our selfishness, emptying our pride, letting go of control – we enter a realm of identity that is God-purposed as opposed to self-sufficient.
Jesus spoke to Paul, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” What a beautiful picture of shalom, and how opposite of our fabricated peace (do we not seek a peace that is unfettered by weakness?) The true wholeness of being that we receive from Jesus comes through our weakness, our humility. The strength of shalom is his strength at work in our frail circumstances and broken hearts.
But what does shalom look like in my house from 7:30-8:00 in the morning when the rush for school is burdened with grumpiness, impatience, and unkind words? Without excusing sin, how is Jesus’ strength made perfect in our morning weakness? I don’t know. But I do know that our weakness does not hold back his strength. On the contrary, as I recognize our weakness (that is, I humbly acknowledge things are not as they should be), Jesus has opportunity to enter into the situation with his strength and shalom.
So back to the chief end of man: to glorify God and enjoy him forever. Humility is the venue through which we achieve this end. True enjoyment of the Father, Son, and Spirit comes as we pick up our cross (that’s an idiom for die) and follow him daily. And what is more glorifying to God than when we turn from ourselves and toward him?
Let’s glorify him today with our humility.