Apr 22

Rev Gav

Humility

Luke 1:51-53. What does it mean to be humble and is it a strength or a weakness?

Luke 1:51-53

Mary Visits Elizabeth

39 A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town 40 where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.

42 Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. 43 Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? 44 When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. 45 You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”

The Magnificat: Mary’s Song of Praise

46 Mary responded,

“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
47     How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
48 For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
    and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
49 For the Mighty One is holy,
    and he has done great things for me.
50 He shows mercy from generation to generation
    to all who fear him.
51 His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
    He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
52 He has brought down princes from their thrones
    and exalted the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
    and sent the rich away with empty hands.

54 He has helped his servant Israel
    and remembered to be merciful.
55 For he made this promise to our ancestors,
    to Abraham and his children forever.”

56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back to her own home.

Reflect

Humility is having a low or modest view of your own importance. Godly humility is having a correct view of your own importance in the light of the presence of God. In our modern, western culture, humility seems to be a word missing from our descriptions of people. Is it that people just aren’t humble any more? Certainly, to be humble seems to go against the grain of our individualistic, ‘put myself first’, ‘me’ culture. Humility is seen as a sign of weakness and not strength. We tell our children to ‘believe in yourself’ which is a good thing, but often the unsaid suffix is, ‘at the expense of everyone and anything else that gets in your way!’

The teaching of Jesus, and something that seems to come from the character of God, is the counter-cultural idea that we should think of others as better than ourselves, and that it is God who lifts us up, not ourselves. How do we do this in practice? Well, we need to gain a sense of perspective. When the first astronauts saw the earth from space, they gained a new perspective on the earth against the backdrop of the enormity of space. In the same way, when we come into the presence of God, we see ourselves how God sees us, and see others as God sees them. We gain a right perspective on ourselves, and this in turn helps us have humility.

Mary was a humble teenage girl without status or power and she was blessed by God. She had humility — a true understanding of her own self-importance in the light of the presence of God, and according to Mary, God lifts up the humble.

Do

Today, pray that the Lord would help you have true humility. Ask that you might come into his presence and gain a right perspective on your life.

Pray

Holy God
Help me see myself
against the backdrop of who you are.
Take away my pride,
that I might give you room to lift me up,
in accordance with your will.
This day and for ever.
Amen.

Think

What can help us be humble before God?

What can hinder us being humble before God?

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