By Rita Chiu
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6b
Do you want to be a meek and humble person and intentionally build this character into your life? It is against our selfish human nature and also our culture to want to be humble and meek. However, this is something we need to pursue in our lives as followers of Jesus. It can be a powerful testimony when we walk in meekness and humility. As a message bearer, we need to keep allowing God to work on our characters.
I remember that once I met a young missionary and I felt that he was very humble. He was very different from other young men. I began to ask him about this area of his life. He shared with me that he prayed very hard to ask God to make him humble. He also told me that how God shaped him as he was obedient in some difficult situations.Once he worked overseas, he found that the relationship of the people in the office was not so good and he wanted to break the ice.He decided to humble himself and served them.He bought an orange and put on their working desks every day and also began to help the office with cleaning the toilet.
After a period of time, his colleagues recognized his sacrificial act and they appreciated him so much.They began to be more open to him and also to each other. We can see the power of an act of humility.
Meekness is an extremely difficult word to translate into English, because we think “meek” implies weakness. Sometimes it is translated as gentleness. The meek person is not self-willed – not continually concerned with self, his own ways, ideas and wishes. He is willing to put himself in second place and submit himself to achieve what is good for others. Meekness is the opposite of self-will, self-interest and self-assertiveness.
This is a sign, not of weakness of character (as some think), but of strength. It requires great self-control to submit to others. Humility is an attitude or quality of mind whereby a person holds low esteem or opinion of his own goodness and importance.Spiritually, one abases himself because he realizes his sinfulness and therefore he is willing to depend on God to meet His needs. It is the opposite of pride, haughtiness, and self-exaltation.
“Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the earth.” (Numbers12:3) (For NIV version, it is translated as humble, for some translations, it is translated as meek) Moses was faithful in following all the commands of the Lord. He led the Israelites out of Egypt and instructed what they needed to do as the Lord commanded. However, he also faced many hardships in his leadership. Because of his humility, we see that God honored him and helped him.
In the book of Numbers Chapter 12, his brother and sister, Aaron and Miriam talked against Moses questioning his decision to marry a Cushitic wife and also challenged his authority saying “Has the Lord only spoken through Moses?”(Numbers 12:1-2) Moses didn’t react to them with anger or even defend himself. However, God showed up and talked to Aaron and Miriam severely. He punished Miriam with leprosy. Finally Aaron begged Moses to intercede for Miriam. Moses forgave them and interceded for Miriam asking God for healing and God answered his prayer.
From the example of Moses, we learn that we need to love and forgive those who criticize or bring us troubles in whatever way. This is an example of humility. We accept this is the situation God puts us in so we don’t react with any complaints or bitterness. We need to have the right attitude. God is fair and just and He will judge and act justly according to His will in His time.
For being a message bearer, we face different kinds of hardships in our lives and in ministry. Being humble draws us close to God and allows God to deal with us and His people. I pray that every reader who is in difficult situation right now will learn a lesson from Moses.
First, we do not react with our human mind or flesh. Secondly, we should accept this as the situation God puts us in, stand firm and seek God’s will for the situation. Thirdly, we need to ask God to help and wait for His hand and presence. He is the one who will lead us through hardship.May God bless you even as you seek to be a meek and humble person!