Better to Be of a Humble Spirit

R. J. Evans

"God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6). "Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, Than to divide the spoil with the proud" (Proverbs 16:18-19).


A person does not have to be proud, boastful or arrogant to be great, as is believed by so many today. Moses was truly a great man, and at the same time, "very meek, above all the men which lived upon the face of the earth" (Numbers 12:3). King Saul was told by Samuel that "When you were little in your own eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel?" (1 Samuel 15:23). But with the passing of time, Saul became "big" in his own eyes and, because of his proud, sinful actions, the Lord rejected him as king (1 Samuel 15:23).


David, a man after God's own heart, was humble. His humility is evident by some of his statements found in the Psalms. He said, "My soul shall make its boast in the Lord; The humble shall hear of it and be glad" (Psalms 34:2). He also stated that "The sacrifices of God are of a broken spirit, A broken and contrite heart -- These, O God, You will not despise" (Psalms 51:17).


The Apostle Paul, from the world's viewpoint, had every reason to be proud. He was highly educated, having been "brought up at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our father's law" (Acts 22:3). He had the honor and privilege of being a Roman citizen (Acts 22:25-29). Paul told the Philippians, "If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless" (Philippians 3:4-6). Yet, Paul was a man of humility. Concerning the facts just stated, he went on to say, "But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ" (Philippians 4:7). In fact, he later called these things "rubbish" (v. 8). As an apostle, he spoke of himself as "the least of all the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God" (1 Corinthians 15:9). He also spoke of himself as the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).


All through the scriptures, we can observe that God used the ones of a "humble spirit" for His service. If we are going to be truly great in the service to the Lord today, then we too must be humble. Jesus said, "but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant" (Matthew 20:26). James tells us to "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, And He will lift you up" (James 4:10).


The person of a "humble spirit" realizes that he is nothing without God. He is genuinely happy to obey all of God's commands and to receive His rich blessings. He is like an empty vessel which only God can fill. Paul said, "For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3). May we always remember that "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble" (James 4:6).