Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
October 9, 1998
Last Updated :
February 13, 2012
Defining True Humility, Wedding Feast And Being Clothed With Humility, Humility Lowliness And Submission, Our Daily Cross Under-Cover Christians, Christ's Humble Example, The Mind Of Christ, Faith But No Works?, Mighty Hand Of God, In The Mud! Rebellion Of King Saul, One Of Two Masters, Self-Idolatry, Cloak Of Humility, Grace To Obey, Brotherly Submission, What We Need When We Need It, Yes No Or Wait, Satan's Reprobates, The Muslim Deception, Fruit Of Humility, Closing Remarks
Believe it or not, most people do not understand true humility according to the Biblical definition. Quite often we hear the phrase, "he grew up in humble surroundings". The immediate picture which forms in our mind, is that the person in question grew up in a poor environment. Maybe his mother stayed home with the seven children, while dad was forced to work at two low-paying job because that is all his education could get him. Or perhaps we think of someone who grew up the slum or ghetto of some major city in the world. Well, Biblically-speaking, this is not what it means to be humble. Sometimes we also hear it said of a certain person, "he is really a humble soul". The implication is that the person is probably soft-spoken and self-effacing. They often gives the credit to others for things which they have accomplished. These kinds of people can be humble, but this still is not a full accurate description of true humility according to the Bible. As the following two verses reveal, being humble is actually a mental and a spiritual attitude which one must acquire:
"Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:"
Acts 20:19, KJV
"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves."
Philippians 2:3, KJV
In the above verses, the words "humility" and "lowliness" are derived from the same Greek word "tapeinophrosune", pronounced tap-i-nof-ros-oo'-nay, which means to have a humble opinion of one's self, or a deep sense of one's moral littleness. It is also described as modesty, humility or lowliness of mind. Exactly how does one go about acquiring this attitude of humility? As we saw earlier, it cannot be a self-righteous work of the flesh, any more than the gift of Salvation can be a self-righteous work of the flesh. It may surprise you to know that the way we receive humility is similar to the way we received our Salvation. In my article "The Gospel of Thomas: Introspection Or Heaven-spection?", I share the Lord's parable concerning the man who entered the wedding feast without a wedding garment. I then explain that the garment is symbolic of the righteousness of the Saints as is explained in the Book of Revelation. The garment which this man failed to wear is synonymous with the white linen worn by the Bride of Christ at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. The following verses confirm this fact:
"He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels."
Revelation 3:5, KJV
"I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see."
Revelation 3:18, KJV
"After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;"
Revelation 7:9, KJV
"And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints."
Revelation 19:8, KJV
As all Christians know, this righteousness comes only through faith in the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and no other way. We cannot merit it through our own "good" works as the following verses clearly demonstrate:
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
Ephesians 2:8-9, KJV
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;"
Titus 3:5, KJV
Just as the Lord is the one who chooses to clothe us with Salvation, He is also the one who chooses to clothe us with humility, because we, by our own sinful nature, desire the exact opposite. Just like the man who proudly thought he could sneak into the Wedding Supper by doing things his own way, in our pride, we also want to be our own boss. We want to run our own lives. We want to rule the Earth our own way without any help from God. Sadly, the past six thousand years clearly reveal what happens when we try to do things our way, instead of submitting ourselves to The Boss and doing things His way. Notice in the following two sets of verses that not only are we told that we must be clothed in humility, but we are told exactly how the process works:
"But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up."
James 4:6-10, KJV
"Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:"
1 Peter 5:5-6, KJV
In the previous verses, the first word "humble" is derived from the same Greek root word as the two words we looked at earlier; "humility" and "lowliness". This is the word "tapeinos", pronounced tap-i-nos', which means not rising far from the ground, of low degree, brought low with grief, depressed, lowly in spirit, humble. In the same verses, the word "submit" is derived from the Greek word "hupotasso", which is pronounced hoop-ot-as'-so. This word means to arrange under, to subordinate, to put in subjection or to subject one's self, to obey or to submit to one's control, to yield to one's admonition or advice. The second word "humble" is derived from almost the same Greek word as the first. It is the word "tapeinoo", which is pronounced tap-i-no'-o. This word means to make low or bring low, to bring into a humble condition, to assign a lower rank or place, to abase, to bring down one's pride, to have a modest opinion of one's self, to behave in an unassuming manner devoid of all haughtiness.
As can be seen by the previous definitions, in the Biblical context, the words "humility", "lowliness" and "submission" basically mean the very same thing. They are all comparative words. One person's status is being compared with that of another. For we Christians, our status is being compared with God's status. Humility is synonymous with submission, and submission is synonymous with humility. We cannot submit to God's Will unless we are humble, and we are not humble unless we submit to God's Will; and that is the key to overcoming our pride. God cannot clothe us with humility unless we surrender our minds, our hearts, our lives, our wills and our pride to Him. As Paul beautifully states in his Epistle to the Romans, and as I clearly explain in my article "What is God's Will for My Life?", to find God's Will, we must begin with no will of our own, other than to want to do His Will. We must deny ourselves and take up our symbolic cross daily, as Jesus said, and present our bodies a living sacrifice in daily service to others. Consider the following verses:
"And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it."
Luke 9:23-24, KJV
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Romans 12:1-2, KJV
This daily submission to God's Will, this daily humbling ourselves before our Creator in order to fulfill His plan and His purpose for our lives, is half of the solution. As we have already seen, the problem is that most of us simply do not want to do this. We all want the benefits of our Salvation, but then most of us stop right there. We don't want to have to give up our comfortable selfish lives of materialistic living. We say we are Christians, but many of us are only under-cover Christians. No one else knows that we are Christians except we ourselves; and of course those who may attend the same fellowship as we do. The rest of the world can't tell the difference; because most of us continue to act and live exactly the same as we did before our day of Salvation. In other words, we keep doing things our own way instead of God's way. Totally contrary to Jesus' words, we hide our light under a bushel; so we are truly under-cover Christians:
"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."
Matthew 5:14-16, KJV
Naturally, the Lord isn't too happy about this situation. Consider the facts. Our Lord was willing to leave His Heavenly Estate in order to come down to Earth, and to take on the form of lowly human flesh. During the final years of His life, He was willing to be scoffed at and to be publicly humiliated. Ultimately, during the final day of His life, He was willing to be horribly tortured, and then to die an agonizing death on the Cross. The Apostle Paul summed it up quite well when he wrote:
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;"
Philippians 2:5-10, KJV
There are some very important things I would like you to notice here. First of all, notice that exactly as we saw in the verses from James' Epistle, Paul also equates humility to submission and obedience. He says of Christ, "he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death". The Greek word used here is the very same one we saw earlier. It is the word "tapeinoo". If it still isn't clear to you, that word "servant" is derived from the Greek "doulos", pronounced doo'-los, which means a slave, bondman, or man of servile condition. Jesus Christ became His Father's slave. He bowed Himself in submission to His Father's Will, even to the death of the Cross. He obeyed. So again we see that true humility is simply a spiritual attitude of being submissive to the Will of God. Paul tells us that Jesus agonized over His decision to do His Father's Will. Even though He was the Son of God, He was in weak human flesh; and it was not easy for Him to contemplate the immense pain and suffering which He would soon experience:
"Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;"
Hebrews 5:7-8, KJV
"For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous."
Romans 5:19, KJV
It should now be clear to you that true humility is a mental attitude of knowing who is the Real Boss in your life. It is knowing who is in control of your life; and it is obeying and reverencing Him, and doing His Will, and not your own. This is precisely why Paul starts out those verses in Philippians by stating "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus". He is telling us that we need to have the same spiritual attitude towards our Heavenly Father as did Christ; which he then goes on to explain in more detail. That phrase "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" is synonymous with those two phrases we read earlier; "all humility of mind" and "in lowliness of mind". This is precisely what the Lord was referring to when He spoke the following verses found at the end of the eleventh chapter of Matthew:
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
Matthew 11:28-30, KJV
When Jesus said that He was meek and lowly in heart, He meant that He was submissive to His Father's Will. He wasn't talking about being soft-spoken. Our Lord was anything but soft-spoken. Time and time again He blasted the hypocritical Scribes and Pharisees. That word "lowly" is derived from one of the words we have already discussed before; "tapeinos". Jesus knew who had rightful authority over His life. He was comparing His status with that of His Father's. He had no doubts concerning what was expected of Him as His Father's slave who had come down to the Earth to take upon Himself the sins of the wicked world. Throughout the four Gospels, the Lord emphasized over and over again the importance of doing His Father's Will, and not His own. Consider these verses:
"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."
Matthew 7:21, KJV
"For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother."
Mark 3:35, KJV
"Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work."
John 4:34, KJV
"For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day."
John 6:38-40, KJV
This was and continues to be the mind of Christ; to humbly submit ourselves to the Will of God. Let me say it again; submission and obedience equal humility. In his first Epistle to the Corinthians, when Paul is discussing the difference between the attitude of the people of the world who only seek to do their own will, and the attitude of the born-again believers, he states in part:
"Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."
1 Corinthians 2:12-16, KJV
You see, no matter how you understand those verses, to be instructed of God, or even to instruct others in the ways of God, we must first have the mind of Christ; which means that we must be submitted to the Will of God in our own lives first, just as Christ was. Sadly, when most of us hear this call to humble submission, we tend to say, "Thanks Lord for the Gift of Salvation, but that is all that I really want from You; and that is all that I am willing to do for you in return". We may call Him Lord and Saviour, but do we really do the things that He asks of us? Do we submit to Him in all humility? Surely, the following verses speak to all of our hearts:
"And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?"
Luke 6:46, KJV
"For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."
James 2:26, KJV
Well, our Heavenly Father is a very wise Father, and He has a way of helping us to finally see the light; and in this case, that light is knowing that "Father Knows Best"; and I am not talking about Robert Young who played the 1950's - 60's television character!
Earlier I shared some verses from Peter's second Epistle in which he stated in part "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time". As we have already seen in this series, this is a lesson which proud Peter certainly learned through his own bitter experiences. In fact, not only did all of the first Apostles and their successors have to learn this valuable lesson, but every man and woman of God must learn it before the Lord is able to effectively use them. In the Christian world today, sometimes when we see the Lord's Hand in a picture or a painting, it is resting on someone's shoulder as He leads them up the Path of Life. They are usually seen walking side by side as friends; for as Jesus Himself said:
"Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you."
John 15:15, KJV
However, if we are proud and rebellious, that Hand might not always be resting lightly on our shoulder in an encouraging way. Sometimes, in a figurative sense, that "mighty hand of God" might be pushing down on us quite heavily. In fact, the Lord might have His Hands on both of our shoulders as He sternly but lovingly forces us to bow to His Will. If we stubbornly continue to resist what He knows is best for us, He might just decide to give us a real swat so that we take a nosedive into the mud! Sometimes, it is only after we have repeatedly fallen flat on our faces due to our pride, and our stubbornness in wanting to do things our own way, that we can finally humbly look up out of the mud and ask the Lord for His help. Consider the following verses:
"Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall."
Proverbs 16:18, KJV
"He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings."
Psalms 40:2, KJV
"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
Proverbs 3:5-6, KJV
This process of being swatted down by the Lord may be one of the hardest ways, but it is definitely also one of the best ways to learn true humility and submission to God's Will. I should point out though, that it doesn't always bear the good fruit that the Lord is hoping for. This is because it is not often that the Lord will override human free will. As we saw earlier, God resists the proud. If we continue to resist His Will for our lives, especially to where our poor example of humility is being detrimental to the overall work of the Lord, He may just choose to dispose of us and throw us on His scrapheap. Proud King Saul was one such case. He resisted and he resisted; and God did not take it lightly! Saul was responsible for the welfare of an entire nation. When the showdown finally came, the Lord had the Prophet Samuel say to Saul:
"And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king."
1 Samuel 15:22-23, KJV
Those are very strong words! Because of his stubborn rebellious heart, and his utter refusal to do things God's way instead of his own way, Saul lost the kingdom. But why in the world would the Lord compare rebellion to witchcraft, and stubbornness to idolatry? The answer to this question is found in several other verses found throughout the Bible. In the Lord's Eyes, there are really only two basic choices:
"I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:"
Deuteronomy 30:19, KJV
"And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
Joshua 24:15, KJV
"And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word."
1 Kings 18:21, KJV
"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."
Matthew 6:24, KJV
In short, we are either serving El Shaddai, the Almighty God, or else we are serving Satan, regardless of what local name he may go by. To rebel against God's Will in our lives is akin to witchcraft because it is devil worship. It is either one or the other. As popular American music artist Bob Dylan once sang, "Now it may be the devil, or it may be the Lord, but you gotta serve somebody"; and that is the absolute truth! Either we are serving the God of Heaven by humbly submitting ourselves to His Will in daily sacrifice to others, or else we are serving the god of this world; Satan; the prince of the power of the air who works in all of the children of disobedience:
"In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them."
2 Corinthians 4:4, KJV
"Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:"
Ephesians 2:2, KJV
But why does the Lord have the Prophet Samuel compare stubbornness to idolatry? The answer which immediately came to my mind is that when we stubbornly refuse to follow God's Will for our life, we are in effect idolizing ourselves. We are idolizing our own mind, our own wisdom, our own plans, and our own ego. Like Satan, because of our pride, we think that we know better than God Himself. We become gods in our own minds; but these are all false gods; and thus it is idolatry in the Lord's Eyes. Both Jesus and the Apostle James exposed the folly of making our own plans which may be contrary to the Lord's plans when they said:
"Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof."
Matthew 6:34, KJV
"Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil."
James 4:13-16, KJV
As a final note on the sad story of King Saul, you might find it interesting to know that because of his pride and his stubbornness, Saul did in fact choose the way of death as Moses had spoken hundreds of years before. It was shortly after Saul's fall from grace that both he and his sons died in battle at the hands of their Philistine enemies.
Normally, however, I don't believe that the Lord employs such strong measures, unless we are extremely important to His overall Work. I tend to believe that His normal mode of operation is to let us stubbornly go our own way until we learn through our own sufferings, brought on by our own stupid mistakes, that He truly knows what is best for us. As with Christ, it is through our sufferings and breaking that we truly learn obedience and submission. It is in this way that He strips us of our cloak of pride, and places upon our shoulders the mantle of humility. It is His doing, and not our own. It is simply not a human trait to want to be clothed in humility.
What is interesting about the Lord's humbling and breaking process, is that the more we yield ourselves to our Father's Will, the easier it becomes for us to continue to submit to His Will. This is because, as I shared earlier from the Epistle of James, ". . . he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble". In short, He will give us the grace to obey, once we show our desire, and put forth our effort to obey. The Apostle Paul taught the very same thing. He wrote:
"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
2 Corinthians 12:9, KJV
In addition, as James also wrote, "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you". So the more effort we make to do what is right in His sight, instead of stubbornly doing what we want to do, the easier it becomes for everyone involved. Finally, James states, "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up". As we continue to submit ourselves to Him, He will honour our obedience and lift us up; presumably above our brethren; perhaps as He did with Joseph and his eleven brethren. As I said earlier, Peter taught the same thing when he wrote:
"Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:"
1 Peter 5:5-6, KJV
Notice that walking humbly before the Lord by submitting ourselves to His Will, has an exponential effect. The more we submit to God's Will in our lives, the easier it also becomes for us to submit to those who may have spiritual authority in our lives, whether it be our own husband, or our parents, or perhaps spiritual elders in our particular Christian fellowship, whatever form it may take. In short, we can only yield to each other in direct proportion to how much we are yielded to the Lord. We cannot possibly say we are yielded to our Heavenly Father as long as we remain unyielded to our spiritual overseers here on the Earthly plane.
Now that you have read this series, you should have a clear understanding of what it truly means to be humble according to God's Holy Word. Being humble does not just mean growing up in poor surroundings as the world would have us to believe. Being humble does not just mean being soft-spoken and self-effacing. There are many poor people in the world who are soft-spoken and self-effacing, but this does not necessarily mean that they are humble; that is, submitted to God's Will in their lives. Many of these people are very hard-hearted and either don't believe in God, or else they don't have very much respect for Him. Being humble does not just mean performing outward acts of piety for all to see such as some modern Christians tend to do.
I am now going to share with you a short true-life story which clearly demonstrates some of these points. While I was working on the last part of this series, the Lord reminded me of a small incident which occurred to me just a few days ago. Sometimes the Lord allows certain incidents to happen to us which we do not understand at the moment they occur; however, if we are patient, sooner or later He will reveal His purpose and His plan to us. As we read in the Book of Isaiah:
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:8-9, KJV
As some of my readers know, whenever I am out in public, I always try to remember to take my little nylon waist pouch with me. I actually refer to it as my "seed pouch" because it contains my "Gospel seeds"; that is, my homemade Gospel tracts. Whether I am at the store, or waiting at the bus stop, or at the post office, or standing in line waiting to take care of personal business, I try to pass out a few tracts. Sometimes I'll pass out up to perhaps fifty tracts during one outing. On this particular day, I was having an usually rough time. Things were just not going as easily as I had expected; and I was a bit frustrated and moody. Well, I finally finished taking care of my personal business and was waiting at the bus stop for the shuttle to arrive.
While there are normally a lot of people at this particular bus stop to whom I can witness, at that time there were only two persons; a man and a woman. As is my way, I offered both of them a tract to read. In the short conversation that followed, I discovered that, according to them, they were both homeless. The man was the first to speak; and he informed me that he had been praying for fifteen years for the Lord to provide him with a place to live; however, as far as I could tell, his attitude was not one of brokenness and humility, but rather it seemed more like he was judging God for not taking better care of him. I recall that at several points in our conversation, he said something like, "I need money. Why doesn't God give me money?". Again, I did not sense any sincerity in his words; and more than that, I did not sense any godly fear or reverence either.
The only thing the Lord gave me to share with this man, was something which I have learned myself through personal experience; and that is that the Lord always gives us what we need, when we need it. Sadly, I seriously doubt that he even understood what I meant by that statement. As I shared earlier in this series:
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."
1 Corinthians 2:14, KJV
That man was probably thinking to himself, "Well, if God gives us what we need when we need it, then why don't I have a place to live or any money? I've been praying for fifteen years!". You see, the witness of the Spirit I received, is that if this man truly had been praying for fifteen long years, which I honestly doubt, it certainly wasn't with the right attitude. I don't believe that God is so limited in power that He requires fifteen years to answer a prayer if He truly wants to answer it. As I also told this man, God usually answers yes, no or wait. What I basically was trying to tell him without offending him, was that God had indeed given him exactly what he needed at the moment, but that he simply failed to recognize it. It seemed to me that through his homelessness and his poverty, the Lord was trying to break his proud, haughty and accusatory spirit. The Lord was waiting for him to stop praying "Lord, why haven't you provided for me? What's wrong with you Lord?" and start humbly praying, "Please forgive me for my pride and other sins in my life, and for accusing you falsely. Please provide for me Lord". The latter is a true attitude of humility before our Creator, and not the former.
The homeless woman, if she was indeed homeless, surprised me even more. She was standing very close to the other man, and had heard every word that I had spoken to him. Upon giving her a tract, she noticed the addresses on the back of it and quipped, "What's this, a gimmick?". I tried to explain to her that there was no gimmick, and that no one was asking her for any money. She was just as hostile in attitude as the man; and after a few short exchanges, she told me that she believed that God makes mistakes. Although she didn't come right out and say it directly, the implication seemed to be that God had made a mistake with her by allowing her to become homeless. This statement really surprised me, so I asked her again, and she confirmed that this was truly what she believed; that is, that God makes mistakes; that He is not perfect. As Christians, we all know that this simply is not true. God does not make mistakes. As I have quoted many times before:
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
Romans 8:28, KJV
I immediately sensed that she was just like the man in her attitude, and that nothing I would say was going to make her think any differently. That this woman would even say such a thing, clearly showed me that, like the man, she had no real fear of the Lord; and I was very candid with them both and told them so. After making her outrageous statement, this woman then tried to lecture me on how to be a good listener in order to properly witness to people. I quickly realized that I was dealing with two of Satan's reprobates who were simply trying to give me a hard time and discourage me even further. Well, as some of you know, Jesus specifically told us to not cast our pearls before swine; that is, to not share His Word with the unworthy who really don't wish to receive it:
"Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you."
Matthew 7:6, KJV
So, following the Lord's advice, I decided to take my leave by going to the other side of the bus shelter. Within a few minutes, an elderly man sat down next to me, and we began to engage in friendly conversation. As I think about it now, I don't know where he came from, as I don't recall seeing anyone else at the bus stop while I was talking with those two people; although he could have approached unawares to me from an angle outside of my view. At any rate, he knew what we had been talking about, and immediately began to talk to me about free moral agency and our pre-existence in the Heavenly Realm. I don't doubt that we would have had a very interesting conversation; but alas, my bus arrived and I had to leave him with the words still in his mouth; but not before apologizing to him for my quick departure.
No doubt you can see how this incident with these two poor people is relevant to this current series. It is truly amazing to me how the Lord often allows certain incidents to occur in my life, which He knows will later find their way into an article. This story is a prime example of how the world defines things vastly different from the way the Lord sees them. A worldly mind might view these people as two poor humble persons who were the sad victims of certain circumstances which had occurred in their lives; in God's Eyes, however, I seriously doubt that He sees anything humble about them whatsoever. In fact, as I have already stated, I would think that He would be very upset by their proud defiant attitudes. These kinds of experiences are supposed to break and humble us, and not make us bitter and even more rebellious against the Lord.
As a final small example of how twisted worldly views are compared to what we are taught in the Bible, consider the Islamic faith. As I point out in my controversial series "Holy Qur'an and Islam: A Doctrine Of Devils?", the word "muslim" -- or "moslem" if you prefer -- actually means one who submits himself to the Will of God. This is a very big thing with the Muslims. It is something of which they are extremely proud; however, if you read the aforementioned article, you will quickly realize that the last thing the Muslims do is submit themselves to the Will of God in all humility. In fact, they are in open rebellion against God's Will. As we saw earlier in this series, God's highest Will for all men everywhere, regardless of ethnic origin, is that they accept the Sacrifice of His dear Son for the remission of their sins. As Jesus said:
". . . This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent."
John 6:29b, KJV
"And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day."
John 6:40, KJV
Despite this Universal Truth, while Muslims claim to accept Jesus Christ as a great prophet, their holy book, the Qur'an, is full of verses which deny His Divine Sonship. It repeats over and over again that God does not have a Son, and that Jesus did not die for the sins of the world. He was only a prophet like Moses, but not the Saviour of the world. In fact, Muslims are taught that Muhammad -- or Mohammed -- is the greatest prophet who has ever lived. So tell me, how is it that the Muslims can claim to be submitted to the Will of God when they deny the most basic Truth of the entire Bible? It is all a lie. It is a deception. They can claim to be humble; they can claim to be submitted to the Will of God; but don't you believe it!
Before concluding this series, let me ask you; what about you? Do you really think that you are so humble? Do you truly believe that you are submitted to God's Will in your life? Or are you so full of pride that you rebel against the Lord, and complain against the Lord? Do you know how to humbly submit to godly correction through your brethren in the Lord when God requires it of you? Remember, as Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew:
"Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."
Matthew 7:20, KJV
If you are truly humble, that is, yielded to the Lord, it will be manifested in your life in some way. It will bear positive fruit for His Kingdom. This means that not only will it bear good fruit in your personal life, but more importantly, you will bear positive lasting fruit in the lives of others; for as Jesus said:
"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."
John 15:16, KJV
As we have now seen, if there is one thing which can stand in our way of being what God truly wants us to be, and if there is one thing which can separate us from our brethren in the Lord, it is our own pride. Pride is a spiritual growth inhibitor, and not a growth stimulant. It causes us to fall down, and not to sprout upwards; although in the long run, what may appear to be a fall downwards in our eyes, God can indeed turn into great victory, if we learn the lessons He is trying to teach us. I also discuss the topic of following the Lord's path more fully in the article "Are You Clean Every Whit?". I encourage you to read it when you have the chance.
In closing, I pray that this series will serve as a catalyst to motivate all of us to truly search our hearts. I pray that it will convict all of us to be more humble servants of the Lord who strive to do His Will, and not our own. If you personally are not sure what God's Will is for your life, or if you do not know how to find God's Will for your life, allow me to again encourage you to read the article "What Is God's Will For My Life?". It will offer you some sound Scriptural advice for making sure that you are in the center of His Will. If you are, then His Word promises us;
"Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart."
Psalms 37:4, KJV
Lest some of you feel a bit discouraged after reading this series, please remember that none of us have arrived yet. None of us have attained. None of us have apprehended as Paul wrote. We are all still vessels in the making. We are still "under construction". We have not yet been perfected. We still have problems with our pride and with other sins of the flesh which we must battle against daily. As long as we are in this life, the Lord will continue to break and to mold us into the people that He wants us to be. As far as I can tell, this is a life-long process which may not even end at physical death. As I have suggested in other articles, we may have to continue learning on the next level. Just please remember, the Lord does not expect perfection in the flesh. What He does expect is that we have willing minds and hearts to do His Will. This is true humility. This is true submission. I pray that this series has been instructional, and a blessing in your life.