Happy Sabbath to you! I have been pondering the subject of humility quite a bit lately, as it is what we are focusing on at church in our sermon series on Phillipians. I struggle greatly with pride, as of course most people do, if they are willing to be truly honest. I think it can be especially hard for someone who loves beauty and culture and manners and “everything just so” to avoid becoming wrapped up in it all…because when we have immersed ourselves in what is “refined,” when we have, as Mr. Darcy would say, “improved our mind by extensive reading,” there comes upon us, almost imperceptibly, an arrogant pride in our outlook on life. We begin to become increasingly aware of the fact that we dress a little nicer or speak more eloquently or are more intellectual than many people we come into contact with…and soon the idea that we are “better” takes root in our mind, growing stronger with each passing day.
Instead of seeing the workings of our minds and the craft of our hands as gifts from God and evidence of our bearing his image, we think that it’s all our own doing. In a small way, we “grasp equality with God” when we don’t attribute intellect and accomplishment in our lives as his workmanship, thereby depriving him of glory. Should we then spurn refinement and culture and learning? Certainly not! We should step back and think about how we can best glorify God by living in such a way that proclaims his greatness, how we can make that image that we bear shine even brighter.
In his book on the subject, C.J. Mahaney says that “humility draws the gaze of the sovereign God.” That’s what our desire should be, to draw the gaze of God and not that of man. Appreciate beauty because God is creative. Pursue knowledge and insight, because by possessing such things we can better reflect the wisdom of him who knows all things. Cultivate manners and decorum, because gentleness and kindness are a mark that his Spirit is bearing much fruit in our lives. Just keep in mind, every moment of every day, that God is the source of it all, the reason for it all, and deserving of the all the glory and praise. You are simply the vessel.