As I shared in my last post, one of the books I am reading is Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. The goal of this book is to help believers to not only be spiritually mature but emotionally healthy – and yes those are two different things.
Scazzero, the author, goes into detail on how the great trials, tribulations, and even tragedies in our lives are used by God as a refining fire to strengthen and sustain our faith. Part of this process is allowing God to guide us into greater depths of humility.
Saint Benedict, a monk from the sixth century, created a “Ladder of Humility”. I want to invite you to join me over the next several days as we study the different levels of humility. In each post, we will break down each step and look at the practical implications it has for us today.
Step 1: Fear of God and Mindfulness of Him
Tragically, we have a tendency to forget that God is in our midst. This is evident in the first book of the Bible – Genesis – When Adam and Eve attempt to play hide-and-seek with the God of the universe. It is far more comfortable to laugh at their futile attempts to hide from God; it is far less comfortable to examine our own lives and see the many ways we conceal ourselves from Him.
The first step to humility and spiritual growth is a renewed understanding that God is ALWAYS in our midst.
Not only do we need to be mindful of him but we must have a healthy fear of who He is. The writer of Hebrews says, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.” (Hebrews 10:31) Yes, we do serve an all-loving God but for love to be pure, there must be judgment. We do not define God by our ignorant definition of love; we define love by who God has revealed himself to be.
God looks upon sin with anger and disgust and promises to eradicate it from existence (which includes eternal damnation for those who live in unrepentant sin).
Practically, how do we go about cultivating this first step of humility? Here is one practical application you can begin today:
Set apart time every day to meditate, pray, and study the Word of God.
It is not possible to stress the sheer importance of this single discipline enough. First of all, allowing yourself time to rest and soak in God’s presence will enable you to be sensitive to his voice and presence the rest of the day. I highly recommend this as part of your morning routine, it will center you on the purposes and plans God has for you before you begin your work day.
If you have never spent time in prayer and study, it can be intimidating. I cannot urge you enough to watch this series of teachings by David Platt – Secret Church: How To Study The Bible – Yes, I know they are long but remember Jesus’ admonition:
“To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.” (Matt. 13:12)
A second reason this is important is because it is impossible to think much of yourself in light of the Eternal God. After pondering on the greatness and grandeur of God, you will say with the Psalmist, “What is man that You are mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:4) Each day, the key to walking in humility is realizing that you are not God. You need to embrace your limitations and weaknesses and rest in the Alpha and Omega – The Unchanging One – Who will strengthen and sustain you in your life’s journey.
Your life is far too short to approach God recklessly and forgetfully. Friends, fear God and be mindful of Him this week.
What do YOU think of the ladder of humility? Do you agree with Saint Benedict? Would you add something? Leave a comment and let me know!
Go here to read Part 2: The Ladder of Humility (Part Two)