Growing in the Wise Grace of Humility
Sunday , March 18, 2007 -
1) AN OPENING PARABLE ABOUT HUMILITY
Proverbs 25:6-7 - “Do not put yourself forward in the king's presence or stand in the place of the great,  for it is better to be told, ‘Come up here,’ than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.”
See how this parable mirrors Jesus’ words in Luke 14:7-11 - “Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them,  "When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him,  and he who invited you both will come and say to you, 'Give your place to this person,' and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place.  But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, 'Friend, move up higher.' Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you.  For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
The point of each passage is exactly the same: We don’t have a good understanding of how personal advancement is achieved in God’s kingdom. We can easily assume that the road to advancement is self-advancement. This is a huge mistake.
2) HUMILITY WILL LEAD TO EXPANSION OF SOUL AND EXALTATION. PRIDE IS THE ROAD TO RUIN AND DIMINISHING STATUS IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD
Proverbs 15:33 - “The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.”
Proverbs 16:18 - “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
Proverbs 29:23 - “One's pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.”
This is God’s law. Before honor comes humility. After humility comes honor. You must get to honor through humility. See Genesis 3:1-5 for the most universal application of this principle - “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?"  And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden,  but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.' "  But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die.  For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."
3) THE TRUE EXERCISE OF HUMILITY ALWAYS REQUIRES FAITH IN THE PROMISES OF GOD
Here’s why: The divine laws we just studied don’t manifest themselves immediately. This applies whether these laws are obeyed or broken. The unbelieving person will always be driven by impatience. People who push to the front of the line look like they’re winning in this world. The meek frequently do look like doormats. But this is only for the person who isn’t looking for the inbreaking of another kingdom.
4) HOW GOD EXALTS THE HUMBLE
If you have the strength of faith to “walk humbly before your God,” He will manifest these blessing in your life with increasing measure:
a) Humility will bring a prosperous, happy and enriched life - Proverbs 22:4 - “The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life.” Because the humble person genuinely “fears the Lord” he will honor God with all his goals and aspirations. As He seeks God’s ways first, God will fill his life up with all other blessings:
Matthew 6:33 - “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
b) Humility will bring growth in the walk of wisdom - Proverbs 11:2 - “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.”
c) The humble person will experience God’s guidance in all his ways - Proverbs 3:5-8 - “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.  Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.  It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.”
d) The humble person will live a properly ordered and protected life - Proverbs 25:27-28 - “It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one's own glory.  A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.”
5) THE EXAMPLE AND MEANS OF HUMILITY
See Philippians 2:3-11 - “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,  who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,  but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 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,  so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
These words contain more than history. They are filled with promise and hope. If we have been redeemed, and all creation (one day) will be fully restored and set free by the power of our Savior as He came and walked down the ordained path of humility and self-denial, then I can trust God to complete all His redemptive plan and purpose in my life as I walk in humility before Him. The meek really do inherit the earth.