I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness. —Ephesians 4:1-2
A well-known and faithful gospel preacher from days gone by was once asked, “What is Christianity?” Without a moment’s hesitation he promptly responded, “Humility, humility, humility.” What a lesson! Essentially, this is the lesson the Spirit of God teaches us in this passage. He not only calls us to lowliness, he calls us to all lowliness—to humility, humility, humility. This is how we walk worthy of the high and holy calling of God, whereby he called us out of darkness and death into light and life. If we would walk worthy of this heavenly calling, we must be small in our own sight and humble all the time, toward all men, and in all circumstances. That is what it is to walk in all lowliness.
God calls us to more than a mere show of meekness. He calls us to the practice of all lowliness. It really is not enough that we get down and get low; that is humility, but God calls us to more than this. God calls us to walk in all lowliness. Brethren, we can’t get low enough, and we can’t stay there long enough. “The best definition of humility I ever heard was this,” said Charles Spurgeon, “to think rightly of ourselves. When you are half an inch above the ground, you are that half-inch too high. Your place is to be nothing.” And all the saints said, “Amen.” Get low, brethren, like a snake in the rut of a wagon wheel. This is the safe and fitting place for sinners saved by grace. If we ascend higher than this in our own esteem, we are in danger.
Let us all get low before God in reference to all that we are, have, think, do, and say. Are we educated, smart, sophisticated, successful, handsome, beautiful, wealthy, useful, and kind? If so, that’s wonderful—these things are not evil. However, let us be humble before God and men concerning these things. “For who maketh thee to differ from another? And what hast thou that thou didst not receive?” Do we have gifts and talents that exceed those of our brethren? We have nothing to be proud of; these gifts come down from above, from the Father of lights. Let us be humble concerning their possession and exercise because, if we grow proud of them, our Father will lay his chastening rod upon us and cause all of our boasted beauty to fade away in an instant. He has done it for us before, and he will not hesitate to do it again.
It is extremely important for us to be humble before God, but it is just as important that we walk with all lowliness toward our fellow creatures. All lowliness encompasses all things, all times, and all places, and it also encompasses all men. Christian humility rises vertically toward God, and it extends horizontally toward all men: toward foes as well as family, toward friends and strangers, toward the saints and the unbelieving. If we would obey God in reference to our calling, we must walk with all lowliness of mind toward all men. But who in the church has attained? Are we all not terribly deficient in this department? Even if we are meek and lowly toward foes and friends alike, we are so dreadfully inconsistent that we rather lament our great shortcomings than rejoice in our apparent successes.
Let us strive for humility toward our God, toward our brethren, toward our families and friends, and toward our enemies, and let us strive to be humble all the time and in all circumstances. This is what all lowliness is, entails, and requires. Pride, haughtiness, and arrogance are never justifiable, never. Regardless of the situation or circumstances, humility is the path forward, the path of righteousness. Let us never forget that even when our enemies attack us, we are still sinners saved by grace and nothing more. Let us never forget that when success comes our way and God allows us to bask in the sunshine of prosperity and usefulness, even if it is only for a very brief season, we are still dust and ashes, unworthy of the least of God’s mercies. On the mountain top and in the valley let us walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called, with all lowliness.
In times of trial, heartache, and pain it is our tendency to kick, and punch, and squirm, as oxen unaccustomed to the yoke. This is not lowliness; this is pride. Rather than get angry with God for being God and doing what God does, let us submit to his wise and sovereign will as little children, saying, “Not my will; thine be done.” This is humility in practice, and it honors God tremendously. Though the Chaldeans and the Sabeans come and rob us of all that we possess, let us get down in the dust before our Father and worship him as Job did, acknowledging from the heart, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” Oh, that we all possessed the meek and lowly wisdom of Eli, who said in response to God’s heavy hand upon him, “It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good.”
Beware of pride, brethren. Nothing is more grieving and offensive to God than the pride of silly creature; yet, there is no greater propensity in fallen man. The scripture says, “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him,” and the number one thing on that brief list is a proud look. God knoweth the proud afar off, but he gives grace to the humble. But not only is pride a stench in God’s nose, it is destructive to our souls. “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Just consider David, Peter, Hezekiah, and Uzziah; their pride bested them, and they suffered for their folly. The surest way to be made small by God is to think we are big. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall…For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”
Let us strive to be like our dear Savior, for he is meek and lowly of heart. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” The mind of Christ is the mind of all lowliness, and though he is the Master of all, he humbled himself to serve others. This is our model. This is our example. This is our aim. Rather than lift ourselves up as lords and masters in the world or in the church, let us get down low as humble servants, wash our brethren’s feet, and serve our fellow man for the glory of God and honor of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Words of Wisdom
All That Matters is the Truth of God.
What is humility, if not the response of a heart that has been broken by Christ?
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