October 4, 2012

Becoming More Humble

"You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do the right and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God."
- Micah 6:8

This week at Bible study, we talked a little bit about the values of self-sufficiency and independence in our society.  We truly enjoy hearing about people who have worked hard to get to where they are today.  Hard work is no doubt a value in our culture, and it really is a very positive thing.  However, we have to be careful because sometimes we get caught up thinking that we are the sole cause of our success.  We might think things like: "I am so proud of myself for getting that promotion.  I worked my butt off for that."  Often it adds fuel to the fire of pride when we get recognition or compliments from others around us.  We start feeling pretty good about ourselves.  Our internal focus then becomes on us instead of on what God is doing through us and for us.  We stop giving him credit for the good things in our life. 

So many other things we think and do also involve pride: not forgiving others, thinking too highly of ourselves, doing things for our own esteem, doing things to please others and not God, thinking that our gifts are for our own benefit and not for God's plan, and judging other people.   It's funny because before we started this section on pride, I was thinking I didn't have much to work on because I am not really the bragging type.  However, after going through this week's lessons, I have now seen that I have MUCH to work on to improve on my internal thoughts.  I love this quote from Mother Teresa:  “If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.”  Both praise and disgrace both do really affect me and contribute to my self-esteem, and until they do not, I will not feel like I am a truly humble person.  

Here is the list of tips Jeff Cavins gave us in the video for becoming more humble.  I am definitely thankful to have these tips to keep me on track!  

1.  Routine Confession: Humility entails properly assessing who we are and who we are in relation to God.  Confession helps us to be honest about who we truly are as a person. 

2. Don't exalt yourself: Instead, give thanks. I was really able to see the fruits of humility through Thomas this week.  At work he was supposed to reach a goal of a certain amount of money for sales to receive a really good bonus.  He said that he made a bunch of sales that day, and he kept thanking God for helping him and for giving him the right words each and every time.  At the end of the day, he had reached his goal!  Even though it was tempting for him to put the focus on himself with everyone at work telling him he did such a good job, he was able to focus on God and thank him for being right there with him.  His story really encouraged me to remember to thank God more frequently throughout my day.  As I've wrote before, it is prideful not to thank God for everything because all good things come from him. ("Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers: all good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change." - James 1:16-17). 

3. See the good in others: It is prideful to feel jealous when another person is successful.  Don't get involved in unhealthy competition, but instead be genuinely happy for your friends and family when something good happens in their lives.  We are called to encourage each other and build each other up (1 Thessalonians 5:11).  Remember that we all have different gifts, and these gifts work together to benefit the community (Romans 12:3-8).  

4. Serve others: It takes the focus off yourself. "Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but everyone for those of others."
-Philippians 2:3-4 

5. Forgive.  Practice humility for forgiving others.  Ask for forgiveness. It also takes a really humble heart to admit that you have done wrong and to ask for forgiveness. 

6.  Embrace the Cross.  We all have things that we struggle with, and no human on this earth is perfect.  We must deny ourselves and take on our own individual crosses (Luke 9:23), obviously with God's help.   Recognize the fact that you do have limitations and cannot do everything or everything on your own.  

7. Pray the Litany of Humility.  I never heard this prayer before, but I love it! 

Do you have any tips for becoming more humble?  Have you ever struggled with humility due to a difference in what society values and what Christians value? 


"Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you."
- James 4:10

5 comments:

  1. These are great! I love that you have included Scripture references - it can be easy to forget that God has given us answers to many of life's questions through His Word. Pride is definitely something we can all work on. Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautiful litany, Caitlin. I hadn't heard of that one either. I have to tell you, many years ago, a priest actually discouraged me from receiving monthly confession. I was so shocked! But then again, when he wanted to be referred to by his name minus "Father", it should not have surprised me, huh? I always think about that moment and feel so sad for him. And wonder...how many others he discouraged from receiving the sacrament monthly....

    ReplyDelete
  3. You make a lot of good points. thanks for this!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Beautiful litany. It is new to me as well. Always enjoy these posts!

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is great, Caitlin! I especially love Thomas' storyl I really need to work on this because these feelings can all seep in throughout the day and take over if we aren't careful.

    ReplyDelete