“Jesus, knowing (fully aware) that the Father had put everything into His hands, and that He had come from God and was now returning to God. Got up from supper, took off His garments, and taking a servant’s towel, He fastened it around His waist. Then He poured water into the washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the servant’s towel with which He was girded.”
John 13: 3-5
“Humility – Learning God’s Way”
“Humility is perfect quietness of heart…It is to be at rest when nobody praises me and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door and kneel as in the deep sea of calmness when all around and above is trouble.”
How would I define the word “humility?”
How would I apply these words in Proverbs 22: 4 (Amplified Bible) to my own life?
“The reward of humility and the reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.”
What kind of riches and honor do I seek after in my life?
“For those who would learn God’s way, humility is the first thing, humility is the second, humility is the third.”
Augustine of Hippo
“True humility is intelligent self respect which keeps us from thinking too highly or too meanly of ourselves. It makes us mindful of the nobility God meant us to have. Yet it makes us modest by reminding us how far we have come short of what we can be.”
Ralph W. Sockman
Yesterday, in our continuing study of Tamar and Amnon, two of David’s children, we found that with the prompting of the crafty and devilish Jonadab, who appealed to Amnon’s proud spirit, this son of the king, began to consider using his position of power to acquire what he wanted, and in this circumstance, he “wanted” his sister. While we looked at the destructive power pride can have in our lives in our devotional yesterday, today I want to study the opposite affect that humility can have in our lives.
Our text today may seem out of place, as it is from the New Testament. It is also a story of the actions of another King’s Son. And when viewed in comparing it with the king’s son, Amnon, the contrast is striking.
The words in our text today were penned by the beloved Apostle John, who was a firsthand witness to the events which transpired the night before Jesus’ death. Now I must be perfectly honest, I’ve read this passage in Scripture several times before. But usually, I’ve started with John 13: 5, where the Bible says that Jesus washed His disciples feet. How instructive it was for me to reread this passage in context, beginning with John 13: 1. What I found hit home with me and touched my heart in a profound way, for you see, if we begin, as I did today with John 13: 3, we find that the King’s Son – Jesus Christ – was fully aware, or as the Greek translation of the word “knowing” means, Jesus had beheld and had the knowledge to be fully mindful not only of who He was, but who He belonged to. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that only Jesus, at the specific moment in the upper room, where He and His disciples were celebrating the Passover supper, fully understood the power that was His. Jesus understood full well, for He had in person, beheld the glory and power of His Father, God. Yet, at this exact point in time, when John tells us Jesus “knew” that His Father had, “put everything into His hands” and furthermore, that He was going to return to heaven to God, it was then that Jesus took a towel, girded Himself, and knelt down in front of each of His disciples and washed their dirty feet. At the pinnacle, when with assurance Jesus understood who He was, the Son of God, He got down on His knees and said, “Let me wash your dusty feet. Let me take the mucky dirt off of you. Let me make you clean.” I must tell you, I had to stop writing as I worked on this devotional and let the tears flow, as in gratitude, I placed myself in the position of one of those disciples and thought about Jesus kneeling in front of me, taking my crooked and broken feet in His precious hands, and wiping away anything that soils me.
It is no wonder John wrote in John 13: 6, that when Jesus came to Peter, this disciple, recognizing his own unworthiness in the presence of One so perfect, asked His Lord and Friend to wash him in entirety. Nor should it surprise us at all that it was the “humble” Peter, who had to come to terms with his own proud heart, who quite possibly, reflecting back to the night when Jesus bent over his dirty feet to wash them, wrote in
I Peter 5: 5 (Amplified Bible), “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility (as the garb of a servant so that its covering cannot be possibly stripped from you, with freedom from pride and arrogance) toward one another. For God sets Himself against the proud, (the insolent, the overbearing, the disdainful, the presumptuous, the boastful) and He opposes them, but gives grace, favor, blessings to the humble.”
Peter found out from personal experience, that he was scantily clothed with humility when he tried to rely on his own behavior. If you recall, it was not long after Jesus had knelt before Peter to wash his feet, with a proud and overconfident attitude, Peter stood in a courtyard denying he even knew who Jesus was. As author Dick Lucas points out, “In order to make us trust Him, God works hard to make us lose trust in ourselves.” This is exactly what happened to Peter in that courtyard. He found out he couldn’t trust himself. The result was that a new spirit of humility filled his life.
Thomas Adams calls humility “The knees of the soul.” And there’s no better example of true humility in action than when Jesus was on His knees before a group of men, going so far as to wash not only the feet of one who denied he even knew Jesus, but to wash the feet of the disciple, Judas, who betrayed Him.
Rather than be misled and think that humility refers to groveling, I think author Martyn Lloyd-Jones accurately defines the essence of humility as portrayed in a practical way in our lives, “I sometimes think that the very essence of the whole Christian position and the secret of a successful spiritual life is just to realize two things…I must have complete, absolute confidence in God and no confidence in myself.”
While some might say, “Oh, but Dorothy, I have to believe in myself in order to make it in life.” I’d just answer that if total awareness and knowledge of His Father was the confidence needed to keep Jesus through the trials He faced on earth, then only total confidence in my Father will keep me, too! In the words of John Bunyan:
“(She) that is down, needs fear no fall;
(She) that is low, no pride;
(She) that is humble ever shall
Have God to be (her) guide.”
Two sons whose fathers were kings. One let pride rise up in his heart and he fell down in destruction. The other knelt in humility and arose to sit on a heavenly throne.
“O Lord, You have heard the desire of the humble. You will prepare and strengthen and direct their hearts. You will cause Your ear to hear.”
Psalm 10: 17
“Suffer us, O Lord, never to think that we have knowledge enough to need no teaching, wisdom enough to need no correction, talents enough to need no grace, goodness enough to need no progress, humility enough to need no repentance, devotion enough to need no quickening, strength sufficient without Your Spirit; lest standing still, we fall back forevermore.”
Dorothy Valcấrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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