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Cultivate the Spiritual Fruit of Humility

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Cultivate the Spiritual Fruit of Humility

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Humility is an essential quality we must have to thrive in eternity. Consider this: In the Kingdom, all the top jobs are already filled. We’d better be able to accept-and love-the role God has planned for us! God will not have another rebellion like the one Lucifer staged (Ezekiel 28:11-17 Ezekiel 28:11-17 11 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 12 Son of man, take up a lamentation on the king of Tyrus, and say to him, Thus said the Lord GOD; You seal up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. 13 You have been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of your tabrets and of your pipes was prepared in you in the day that you were created. 14 You are the anointed cherub that covers; and I have set you so: you were on the holy mountain of God; you have walked up and down in the middle of the stones of fire. 15 You were perfect in your ways from the day that you were created, till iniquity was found in you. 16 By the multitude of your merchandise they have filled the middle of you with violence, and you have sinned: therefore I will cast you as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy you, O covering cherub, from the middle of the stones of fire. 17 Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty, you have corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness: I will cast you to the ground, I will lay you before kings, that they may behold you.
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and Isaiah 14:12-14 Isaiah 14:12-14 12 How are you fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how are you cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations! 13 For you have said in your heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also on the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
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), when he and his angels “did not keep their proper domain” (Jude 6). We must never become frustrated or get angry because we think we haven’t been given a sufficiently prestigious assignment. We must be able to patiently serve in the role God assigns to us.

It’s easy to see the value of cultivating love and joy, but the value of really working at becoming humble is harder to grasp. It is easy to forget that we must take action to cultivate this essential quality in our character. The world doesn’t value humility, but God does. “For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit” (Isaiah 57:15 Isaiah 57:15For thus said the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
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). “But on this one will I look: on him who is poor [humble] and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word” (Isaiah 66:2 Isaiah 66:2For all those things has my hand made, and all those things have been, said the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembles at my word.
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God names humility among the most basic requirements He expects of us: “What does the LORD require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8 Micah 6:8He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?
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Humility is the quality that enables us to get along with all sorts of people without taking offense. It is being down to earth and free of pretense. It is fully accepting our station in life, and our status before God and man. It is accepting ourselves as we truly are, so that we feel no urge to inflate our social status or to pretend to be something more than we really are.

It is easy to forget to be actively cultivating this essential and valuable spiritual fruit. And humility is a fruit that is very perishable-it can quickly wither on the vine from inattention. Have the noxious weeds of pride and vanity sprouted in our spiritual gardens while we weren’t looking? How often have we taken offense because we thought someone was acting or speaking disrespectfully towards us? How often do we take offense because we think someone is looking down on us? Do we ever feel shame when we think someone has measured our social status and found it smaller than we’d like?

Human beings are very status-conscious. We are like wolves in a pack, constantly measuring ourselves against each other, and constantly jostling for position. We want to be highly regarded by others, and we want to be seen as having a higher status than we truly deserve. But this is not God’s way.

Jesus taught us to be humble: “Blessed are the meek” (Matthew 5:5 Matthew 5:5Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
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) and said of Himself, “I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matthew 11:29 Matthew 11:29Take my yoke on you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest to your souls.
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, KJV). “Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4 Matthew 18:4Whoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
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It is also powerfully liberating to be free of the burden of trying to maintain a pretense of being more than we are and to be free of the constant gnawing fear of being found out.

Our status in this world matters very little. It is God’s view of us that matters. We are important enough that Christ was willing to die for us, and we are important because God has called us. But we must not think that any measure we can see distinguishes us before God.

Neither knowledge, nor length of service as a Christian, nor stature in the Church, nor material prosperity, nor any other measure of personal status makes us any more special or exalted before God. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 Romans 3:23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
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). God “desires all men to be saved” (1 Timothy 2:4 1 Timothy 2:4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
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). And “God shows no partiality” (Acts 10:34 Acts 10:34Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
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Paul warns us that none of us should “think of himself more highly than he ought” (Romans 12:3 Romans 12:3For I say, through the grace given to me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith.
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), and he warns us not to compare ourselves among ourselves (2 Corinthians 10:12 2 Corinthians 10:12For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
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). Rather, “in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself” (Philippians 2:3 Philippians 2:3Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
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“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant . . . And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-8 Philippians 2:5-8 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took on him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross.
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Peter urges us to “be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:5-6 1 Peter 5:5-6 5 Likewise, you younger, submit yourselves to the elder. Yes, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble. 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
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