When we become increasingly aware of our sin and grow more disgusted by it, we become less impressed with ourselves. When we rightly understand our sin and the magnitude of what the Lord has done for us, the results must be a broken and contrite heart. We must tremble at the Word of God.
But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word. — Isaiah 66:2
Humility has fallen on hard times. Our world is not a place that generally rewards humility. If there ever was a “me first” generation, it is ours.
There are many examples of pride and arrogance around us and within us. We even use the term “humble brag” as part of our everyday vernacular. Our civilization is so immersed in vanity that we hardly even notice it anymore. And being self-centered pays these days. It pays big! The world is delighted with those who put themselves in first place, at least for a season.
Do you know what I have noticed in my life? I see the pride in other people far more quickly than I see the pride in my own life. Jesus addressed this same human tendency and certainly did not fail to rebuke it, saying, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3). How natural it is to recognize the faults of others while explaining away our own!
The Word of the Lord is clear in Isaiah 66:2. God looks with favor to the one who is humble and contrite. The world may devalue those who live in humility, but the Lord looks upon them with approval (1 Peter 5:5).
As with all things related to obeying God, humility demands we choose to please the Lord more than we crave the approval of people.
While it is tempting to live for the applause of those around us, it is wise to remember how fleeting the admiration of the watching world truly will be. Though the world’s acceptance may be quickly gained, it is just as easily lost.