Not many persons when asked the question, “What is the greatest virtue?” would give humility as the answer. However there can be listed at least 12 characteristics of humility; a close look at this virtue would reveal to the Christian believer, that is actually the ‘seedbed’ of true FAITH as well as the starting point for every other godly virtue.
THE FOUNTAIN OF FAITH
Turning to the second chapter of the OT book of Habakuk, we see God’s key to true faith; the basic principle that leads to ‘the fountain of faith.’ God is speaking to the prophet and telling him to be patient and listen attentively to what is about to transpire in his nation of Israel.
Hab 2: 2 to 5 – Write down this vision and clearly inscribe it on tablets, so that a herald may run with it. 3For the vision awaits an appointed time; it testifies of the end and does not lie. Though it lingers, wait for it, since it will surely come and will not delay. 4Look at the proud one; his soul is not upright — but the righteous will live by faith — and wealth indeed betrays him. He is an arrogant man never at rest. He enlarges his appetite like Sheol, and like Death, he is never satisfied. He gathers all the nations to himself and collects all the peoples as his own.
THE HUMBLE AND THE PROUD
Jehovah is showing us very clearly that all humanity is divided clearly into two types of people; two thought paradigms. The humble and the proud.When we read this verse we can see that there are two different attitudes of mind in every individual on the e’sarth where is the proud man who has no need of help from God. But God says that the humble man is not a man who is looking up in his soul but a manned who has a dependence on God such a man on is righteous because such a man has true faith.
In the verse of scripture below the prophet Isaiah is addressing the arch rebel and the arch enemy of God’s people Satan .
Isaiah 14: 13 to 15 – You said in your heart: “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God. I will sit on the mount of assembly, in the far reaches of the north. 14I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” 15But you will be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit.
Satan in his exalted arrogance and pride thought that he could to take over the throne of God. The devil’s attitude is the very opposite of a man who his humble. This means that a humble man who rather than trust in himself looks up to God for his all is able to have strong faith in the living God.
THE HUMILITY OF JESUS CHRIST
So we can see that humility is the VERY OPPOSITE of pride and arrogance. This leads to a deep recognition of one’s dependence upon God. This humble attitude is the very seedbed of faith. Such a man is able to live a life in the power of God because he knows that is authority is not in himself but in the mighty God who is able to fill him and cover him with His power. The prime example of true and beautiful humility was in our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Yes he was God, – but when he “stepped out” of heaven and became a man he laid aside his power and Glory and submitted himself in obedience and submission to the will, authority, power and guidance of God’s Holy Spirit . There is a beautiful passage in Philippians witch describes how beautiful and powerful His humility was.
Phil 2: 5 to 11 – Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 5who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the Name that is above every name, 10 so that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The following two Biblical accounts illustrate the dynamic truth of how the virtue of humility issues in both saving grace and miraculous, God-given FAITH. In the second example we will see that the Roman centurion’s faith, born out of humility actually AMAZED Jesus! The centurion’s understanding of WHY Our Saviour had so much authority illustrates how humility can not only issue in powerful faith , but also in clarity of spiritual vision . The centurion was able to see that Jesus power and authority as a man of God issued from His humility, obedience to His heavenly father. Our wonderful ALMIGHTY saviour ‘laid aside’ his omnipotence and lived his life in humble reliance on His fathers power!
A TAX COLLECTOR AND A PHARISEE
LUKE 18:10 to 14 – Two men went up to the temple to pray. One was a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed,a ‘God, I thank You that I am not like the other men—swindlers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12I fast twice a week and pay tithes of all that I acquire.’ 13But the tax collector stood at a distance, unwilling even to lift up his eyes to heaven. Instead, he beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner!’ 14I tell you, this man, rather than the Pharisee, went home justified. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
The above parable spoken by our Lord clearly shows us that pride ( and ESPECIALLY religious pride) is THE greatest barrier to a man or woman’s relationship with God, Spiritual life and salvation is given to the humble! The ‘just shall live by FAITH, ( Habakuk 2:4.) We have no reason to believe that the religious pharisee was a hypocrite. No doubt he was seeking a high morality! No doubt he did fast! No doubt he did faithfully pay his ‘tithe’, which is a tenth of his income to God. But he had the awful sin in his heart of religious pride.
THE ROMAN CENTURION WITH FAITH AND SPIRITUAL REVELATION
Another example of the mighty faith that springs from a humble dependent heart is …..
Mat 8: 6 to 12 – When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came and pleaded with Him, 6“Lord, my servant lies at home, paralyzed and in terrible agony.” 7“I will go and heal him,” Jesus replied. 8The centurion answered, “Lord, I am not worthy to have You come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell one to go, and he goes; and another to come, and he comes. I tell my servant to do something, and he does it.”
10When Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those following Him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11I say to you that many will come from the east and the west to share the banquet with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12But the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
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