Most people think it would not make sense to be humble. But God sees it otherwise. His Word even says He gives grace to the humble and resists the proud. (1 Peter 5:5)
To be humble when you are being tried for your past sin is a hard thing. It must be hard to surrender pride. It will take grace to endure its pain.
There are people who refuse to repent because they view it as humiliating. But there is no other way that would lead sinners to repentance except humility.
Jesus spoke of a parable that pictures this. Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank You that I am not like other men extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.
And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying God, be merciful to me a sinner!
I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles will be exalted. (Luke 18:9-14)
Mere efforts to become good cannot be substituted for repentance. God needs to hear our confession, our admission of guilt. He needs to see us coming into terms with Him. He needs to hear our heart truly crying out for His mercy, for Him to make us right with Him. Then He will justify us before His sight, changing our position from guilty to perfect only because of the finished work of Christ on the cross. And by Gods grace, no matter what people say, we are redeemed and justified.
Many people act like the Pharisees. They do not have the tender heart to acknowledge who they really are before God. They deny that they are sinners too. They take pride in their good works. But few men like the tax collector mentioned in the parable come to God in complete remorse.
Historically, the Jews considered the tax collectors as traitors to their race and government. They were big time extortioners at that time. Hence most of the Jews and religious leaders despised them.
Jesus showed in this parable that even the worst of sinners like the tax collector could be contrite and humble. That in his worst state, he could realize his need of God and come to Him to ask for forgiveness and cleansing. Thus He used this parable to rebuke the self-righteous religious leaders.
The parable teaches us precious lessons. God awaits people to come to Him in utter repentance. Those who do will find His favor. He will exalt those who humble before Him and admit their need of Him. But those who come to God boasting of the good things they do, them He rejects and humbles.
God is slow to anger but plenteous in mercy (Psalm 103:8). Those who humble before Him find that mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13).
1. What makes it hard for people to give up their pride? What does pride do with us?
2. How do you think you can walk humbly?
The freest people on earth are the humble.