After listening to a podcast by Matthew Chandler called “Only the Lowly,” I gained a new perspective about humility. First off, Chandler addresses the difficulties that come with addressing pride because “when you try to address these things, the very people that need to hear are… usually thinking of someone else they wish… could hear.” So, while there are people who you think might need to hear this, try to look for the applications and meaning in your life specifically.
I know that I grapple with the issue of pride, and I am speaking about it as well as trying to apply these very lessons to my life. God has mercy on those who humble themselves. He exalts the lowly, calls us to express our need for Jesus, wants us to surrender to His will and asks us to never forget our need for Him. The Bible exudes detestation for pride and adoration for humility.
Chandler’s message is a part of a series traveling through the entire book of Luke, and he uses Luke 1:39-56 in the third part of the series. In Luke 1:39-45, Mary, who is pregnant with Jesus, visits the house of Zechariah. Elizabeth is also pregnant with John the Baptist, and he leaps in her womb just at the presence of unborn Jesus. Mary goes on to give praise to the Lord.
In Mary’s song of praise, she explains how God “has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate” (Luke 1:51-52). Chandler uses this passage to illuminate the biblical truth that no matter your past or your character, God has mercy on those who genuinely humble themselves before Him.
Jesus’s entrance into the world emanates a humble beginning: “What palace does He go to? What royal bloodline? A little virgin girl? Jesus is born in a barn… the first people that were told are who? Shepherds… He exalts the lowly in estate. This is an unreal idea,” as revealed in Luke Part 3.
Jesus was brought into the world through the lowly, in a lowly place and was greeted by more lowly people. Then, the people who chose to follow him were uneducated and far from religiously trained.
God exalts the lowly and brought His own Son into the world through humble beginnings. How can we learn to be humbler? Chandler describes humility as “understanding how clean and perfect [God] is and how even our righteous acts are filthy before Him.” I never realized how true it is that our righteous acts are nothing to God. Rather than use our inadequacy as a means to avoid doing any good, it should be used to show our desperate need for Jesus as our Savior.
We need to be saved, but we also need to put God in control of our lives. Chandler explains how “people who are filled with pride walk with a false sense of control… It’s almost always based out of fear, but they’re going to control it.” When we try to take hold of situations in an unhealthy manner, we eliminate God by putting our own desires before His will.
Although contentment and stability can seem great, they become dangerous when they make the Lord seem unnecessary or less important. Chandler describes our attempts to try to fix or handle things on our own as our greatest enemy. When we fail to acknowledge our need for God, we think can “handle this problem, we’ve got this situation, we’ll overcome this sin… and all the things that He wired the universe to come and flow from Him, you take on yourself. That’s pride.” Health and wealth can be dangerous when it clouds our sight of who gave us everything: God.
I pray God can continually remind us of His greatness and our lowliness. Every good and perfect thing flows from Him. Now, we need only remember: “He must become greater; I must become less,” and that is the humble truth (John 30:3).