Humble Yourself and be Taught of God
by Mark E. Larson
“For thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy, ‘I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite” (Isa. 57:15, NASB). Do you have a lowly spirit? Are you humble before God? For a right relationship with God, every person must humble themselves before the Lord.
Do you wholeheartedly believe that “God is”? (Heb. 11:6). No one can truly humble themselves before God unless they believe that God is a real actual Person. Though God is invisible (1 Tim. 1:17), you must in faith imagine the existence of God, His presence, His character, and majesty. Full recognition of God’s greatness will humble you and cause you to see how “small” you really are in comparison to the Lord (e.g., Isa 6:5).
Will you allow God to teach you His will? Your attempt to draw near to God will be in vain unless you humble yourself and allow yourself to be taught by God and His word. “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught of God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me” (John 6:44-45).
To Draw Near to God, You Must Be Teachable
Are you teachable? Most, if not all people would answer: “Well, of course I am!” But are you really? Too often, people allow pride, preconceived notions, prejudices, and personal opinions to get in the way of learning God’s will. To be taught by God we have to be teachable and this means we must be humble in our attitude toward Him. “He leads the humble in justice, and He teaches the humble His way.” (Ps. 25:9).
To put it another way, are you as teachable as a child? As degrading or demeaning as that may sound to you, the truth is God only wants people who are as humble as children in His kingdom. Jesus said: “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Mat. 18:3-4). This means that in order for God to teach you, you have to lay down your selfish ambitions and pride and take on the lowly and humble position of a child.
Children are, to a great extent, teachable and humble. It is no wonder then why Jesus chose a child as a fitting example of humility to make His point. To be great in God’s eyes, you must like a child, with simple faith and trust, follow the Father’s instructions. Instead of hard-headedness or stubbornness, allow God to teach you, mold you, and shape you into what He wants you to be as one of His own children. Then you can truly be great in God’s kingdom! “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time” (1 Pet. 5:6).
God has made His word understandable (Eph. 3:3-5). God desires “all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). Therefore, it is up to each person to open his heart to the Scriptures. Do you have a “good and honest heart”? (Luke 8:15). Stubbornness and pride keeps truth out, yet a humble heart holds fast to the truth and spiritual blessings come as a result. To be taught by God, honesty and humility is a must: “Therefore putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.” (James 1:21).
Humble Yourself to the Wisdom of God.
You cannot be taught by God if your heart is proud and you presume to know beforehand the will of God (Isa. 5:20-21; Prov 3:7; 12:15). Many people believe they are wise enough to know what is right and wrong on their own without the study of God’s word. As a result, they end up telling God what they think is good and evil. In so doing, many make the mistake in believing that God thinks the same way as we do! “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways," declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8-9).
Yet, if you go to the word of God with a humble heart, it is likely that you will be “cut to the heart.” You will see your sins, shortcomings, and the things you need to change about your life. You will be cross-examined and judged which may produce unwanted feelings of guilt (Heb. 4:12). It is for this reason that many treat Bible study as a mere academic exercise instead of a time for self-examination, reflection, and a means to draw nearer to God. Don’t let that be you. Recognize that the Scriptures are designed in such a way that if we listen with a humble heart we will be challenged (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Let God challenge you with His teachings, humbly accept what He says, and then obey the Lord.
What Does Humbling Ourselves Before God Require?
Unload the “Baggage” so You Can Really Listen to What God Says. Set aside your personal opinions or feelings and the philosophies, traditions, and popular opinions of men (Prov. 14:12; Col. 2:8; Mat. 15:9; 7:13). Family wishes or religious traditions must not be put above the Lord’s will (Mat. 10:37). Feelings of prejudice against the one who delivered the truth to you must be repented of (e.g., John 9:34; Gal 4:16).
Sometimes it requires Starting over and Rebuilding Your Faith. Saving faith in Christ is based upon the teaching of God’s word. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). This is the only way to build your faith the way it is supposed to be built. Sometimes as a result of Bible study we discover we have believed and practiced that which is contrary to the Scriptures. As embarrassing or humiliating as it may be for you to make corrections in your life, don’t let your pride stand in the way of having a right relationship with God. For fellowship with the Lord depends on your willingness to humble yourself and be taught of God.
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