Humility and Our Work

“But seek first his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

--Matthew 6.33-34

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Humility is a topic we talk about a lot here at Hope Smiles Uganda. What does it mean to be humble? Is it important? How can we cultivate humility?

It is a virtue we believe is simply defined, but difficult to practice.

On our team, we define humility as living life focused on God and developing our talents with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength to love others.

Humble people live to love God and love others. It’s a matter of identity. Life is not about me. It is defined by the humble love and sacrifice personified to us in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Pride is the opposite of humility, and it is a pattern of thought that makes everything about me. It closes the world to us. It is the sin separating us from God. God has filled the world with wonder, beauty, wisdom, knowledge, and love…and we stubbornly hold onto grudges, or isolate ourselves from the world around us, or continually seek little comforts that distract us from God and the majestic purpose He has for our lives!

Therefore, recognition of the prideful parts of all of our hearts is a matter of life and death.

And this is a painful process – truly exploring the motives of our hearts. We need to search our hearts for hidden pride, where we are not truly living with a God-centered orientation.

So how do we cultivate humility? It’s a lifelong journey, but we are going to focus on two practical principles today:

--We live to God-centered standards. Too often we go through life comparing ourselves to the people around us. Our environment – the people around us, the media we consume, our culture – sets the standard for our lives. If we are doing better than most, we are happy. If we are falling short, we are sad and depressed.

God calls us to something greater.

“Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’”

--1 Peter 1.13-16

 
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Notice this does NOT allow for arrogance. If we try to be holy to show others how holy we are, we are actually living prideful lives. Jesus Christ allows no room for religious arrogance.

No, we are holy because GOD is holy. He defines the standard. Not us. Not the world. And Jesus Christ lived and loved in the world while not defining himself by the world’s standards.

He got his marching orders from His Father. When challenged in the desert, he looked to God.

He knows we worry about food and clothes and how many likes we get on our lasat Insta post, so he tells us to worry about pursuing God’s righteousness.

People asked him questions, he pointed them to God.

People wanted to praise Jesus the human, and he reminded them everything He has comes from God.

When he was in agony in Gethsemane, he went to God.

What does this means to us? Well, aside from the obvious eternal implications, it should discipline our hearts and minds on God and what He had done for us through the cross. It should cultivate joy and passion for studying God’s word and knowing His standards. It will make our prayer life richer while also helping us persevere in prayer when life is hard.

We have to commit to knowing God’s standards.

We set our HOPE on God’s grace. God transforms our hearts and habits from there, as we fully commit our every part of our lives to Him, and He uses us to share His love with the world around us.

As we continually learn God’s standards and live trusting in His love and grace, we experience life more fully. God wants what is best for us. That’s why we commit to His standards.

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--Focus on the day. Living with a God-centered focus gives us the freedom to truly focus on living each day to the fullest. We are freed from ourselves. God gives us the love, grace, and mercy we need to live in this world and love the people around us. His love continually shapes and defines our lives. We can continually explore the depths of His love for us as we offer our lives as a living sacrifice to Him, as he continually transforms or hearts and minds along the journey.

We do not need to hold anything back!

Living with humility means we seek God will all of our heart, mind, soul and strength EVERY day. We no longer waste time. We seek ways to develop the time, talents and opportunities God gives us.

We work when it is time to work!

We rest when it is time to rest!

We cry with those who are mourning.

We seek to sacrifice as Jesus has sacrificed for us.

This is the path of humility. It is a life filled with deep meaning and significance. Make no mistake…it is not easy, and none of us are going to get it perfect.

But it is the only path for us.

Ryan Shinska