A wise man once told me that your humility can be measured in how quickly you are willing to admit you are wrong. In this week’s blog video, I share a rather embarrassing story from the time God began leading me through my own personal crash course in humility. (Hint: I had to publicly admit I was wrong!)
Humility can seem like an “extra bonus” when it comes to godly manhood, but in God’s pattern it’s at the very top of the list. It’s only when we realize that “I can’t, but He can” that we can be molded into truly Christ-like men. Humility is never fun to learn, but it comes with the amazing benefit of God’s grace.
One of the most important dimensions in the development of a man – I think it would be surprising when they would hear me put humility right near the top because humility sounds like a bonus thing that you could throw in. But right near the top? “Eric, why are you putting it so high?” I’m putting it right near the top because humility is critical. If you’re proud, you can’t be like Christ. The entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven is humility. It’s recognizing, “I can’t. God, I can’t do this! But You can.” And so in my development as a man, you never look forward to learning humility. It’s not like you wake up in the morning, “God, teach me humility today.” However, I would say that humility has been His crash course for my life — teaching me humility and walking me through an understanding of how it works mechanically. Not just to make me realize I need more of it, but to actually walk me through the process of humbling myself to see the grace that surges in my being when I do. As His Word says, God gives grace to the humble, but He resists the proud.
I have sensed resistance from God when I react to a humility opportunity when I harden and think, Oh, I’m not going to do that. No, no way am I going to do that. As a result, I have no grace, but when I say, “God, I’m willing.” I get grace. And to learn that mechanically is so critical in my development as a man because a man has to function by grace. If a man functions by his own willpower, his own determination, his own grit — he will fail. But if a man functions by grace, nothing can stop him.
So I remember one of my initial stories. I have some really funny stories that go with this. I remember, in fact right when I first met Leslie, she didn’t hardly know me, but we were sitting near each other in a church service. I got up and shared this story of how I had picked up a homeless person on the street. They were far away from home, and I said, “Hey, can I do anything for you?” “You could take me home.” And so I drove him home, I shared the Gospel with him, but I didn’t lead him to Christ – which I realized as I was sharing the story. I thought, This isn’t a very good story. It doesn’t have a good ending. I like telling good stories, right? So I embellished the story, saying that I prayed for him at the end (which is true), and I said that I held his hand (which is true). But then I said that he squeezed my hand at the end. It just added a little nice touch at the end of my story, but he didn’t squeeze my hand.
I sat down. And God, in His ever-sensitive way, was working me. He was teaching me. He was very close to me in this time as far as His Spirit’s governance over everything I was doing and saying. He was like, “Squeezed hand, huh?” I’m like, “Oh, God. Well, I mean it wasn’t a squeezed hand, but it was a good story, right?” And He was all over that sort of like, “Eric, let’s deal with this.” I’m like, “I can’t deal this. I mean what am I going to do stand up in front of the church and say that wasn’t true?” “Yeah.” “What about this girl next to me I just met? I mean she’s going to think I’m a total idiot.” “Yeah. Eric, are you willing to obey Me?”
Obedience demands humility. You see, to allow someone else to rule your life means you can’t, which means you have to humble yourself. You have to be the servant.
I stood up, “Excuse me.” The pastor had already started preaching to the place. He’s like, “Yes?” I said, “I need to say something.” Oh, it felt terrible, terrible, terrible – and good, precious. I have so many humorous tales in my life because they really are funny when you look back. They’re precious to me because of how God just takes me by the hand and says, “Eric, do you trust Me? We’re going to have to go low. I know you’re concerned about your reputation. You’re concerned about how you look right now, but I’m concerned about you. Will you let Me take care of you? Will you let Me save you? Will you let Me give you grace? Because you have to humble yourself in order to get it.”
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Listen to my sermon The Spirit of the Humble for FREE here.