Summary: Excerpt from the book, Living Forgiven
Humility is beyond a shadow of a doubt the most significant element of forgiveness. It is directly opposed to pride. Where pride seeks selfish gain, humility seeks selfless gain. True humility is to esteem another more greatly than yourself.
To humble oneself before God in repentance is mandatory for all believers. As you have seen previously, the sin of pride is at the root of all evil. Self-exaltation and rebellion is what caused Satan to be "cut down to the ground."
Satan was at one time called Lucifer which means "son of the morning." He was filled with pride and said in his heart, "I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High." (Isaiah 14:12-14 KJV) As a direct result, both he and his co-conspirators were thrown out of heaven.
Pride and self-exaltation have no place in your life for it is God who "maketh poor, and maketh rich: He bringeth low, and lifteth up." (1 Samuel 2:7 KJV)
"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble" (1 Peter 5:5), "therefore humble yourselves, not only one to another, but to the great God, whose judgments are coming upon the world, and must begin at the house of God; his hand is almighty, and can easily pull you down if you be proud, or exalt you if you be humble; and he will certainly do it, either in this life, if he sees it best for you, or at the day of general retribution." (1 Peter 4:17)
Humbling yourself before others is necessary. It is sad when we see dissension and grievances in the church. One who was slighted by another may make disparaging remarks in return; a misunderstanding may cause anger. These all have in common one significant theme: "They hurt my feelings!" "They made me angry!" "They can’t do that to me!"
All of this is self-centeredness. Me, myself, and I can be our three worst enemies.
I have seen bitter squabbling result from one church member sitting in somebody else’s usual pew! Even more unbelievable was when a friendship was virtually dissolved between two women because one spoke to another woman in the church before greeting the friend!
I’m sure you can think of many such instances yourself. Pride is usually the cause of most dissension and disputes in the church. We get our feelings hurt because we are a proud and arrogant people.
Humility is an acquired behavior resulting from the old nature being put to death and becoming a new creation in Christ Jesus. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Throughout my business life I had "entrepreneurial" drive and motivation. Success, based upon the work of my own hands, was my ambition. I have done almost everything I’ve ever wanted to do and been-for the most part-successful. There was a time, however, when everything I did turned sour. No matter how hard I prayed, fasted, and sought the counsel of those more experienced than I, nothing would go right. Every possible option was considered and tried. We revamped the business plan, changed locations, and tried different approaches to advertising. Nothing seemed to work. I even surrendered to the possibility of closing the business and working for someone else, so I sent out hundreds of résumés, but no one offered me a job.
I was confused, angry, and totally stressed out. For almost a year, our lives were completely upside down. The car was repossessed, the bank foreclosed our home, our daughter ran away from home, and we went bankrupt.
During that time a visiting evangelist spoke at our church and called people who wanted prayer up to the front of the church. Along with some others, my wife and I went forward. After praying for the group in general, he called out two people for whom he felt God had a special message. I was one of them. The other person had recently suffered major physical problems that threatened him with the loss of his job and his ability to drive.
The evangelist did not know either of us personally, nor had he learned of our problems beforehand. He spoke first to the one with the physical problems and told him that the Lord would intervene in his circumstance and bring healing to his body and keep him from losing his job (which ultimately happened!). He then turned to me and said essentially that God was going to bless the business, but that there would be very difficult times ahead. I had no idea just how difficult it was going to get. In fact, this happened before we had lost everything.