by Emma Strelan
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Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:6,7).
It’s always been a secret desire of mine to be known for my humility. One of my favourite Bible passages is Micah 6:8, ‘Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly’. I’ve wanted people to say to each other after I’ve spent time around them, ‘Wow, Emma’s such a humble person’. Of course, I’d never say I was humble – that wouldn’t be very humble of me! But after reading this passage, I wonder if I’ve had the right idea of what humility really is.
I often think that humility is a form of lowering oneself, not expecting or feeling you deserve a specific level of respect or power.
However, when I try to be humble by telling myself that I’m worthless, not good enough or not deserving, this actually leads to a lot of anxiety. The Greek word for anxiety (merimna) suggests worry ‘as when one does not know whether to do this or that’. And boy, do I have a lot of that kind of anxiety! When I put myself down in an attempt to be humble, I don’t feel I can trust my own decisions – after all, what right do I have to know what to do?
It may seem like this 1 Peter passage gives us two separate commands. However, it actually suggests giving one’s anxiety to God as a way of humbling oneself. If I were to give up my anxiety, I would feel much more secure in who I am. And that’s what humility really is – a sure understanding of who you truly are.
Humbling oneself is not necessarily the act of self-denial but pursuing an active dependence on God and entrusting your troubles to him. So maybe it’s alright to want people to say, ‘Wow, Emma’s so humble’. But not because I make myself seem lesser than I am. Rather, because of the way I trust in God and place myself under his mighty hand. And in ridding myself of anxiety, I can glorify him.
Lord, help me take an example from the way you humbled yourself. Today, I give my anxiety and fear of making decisions to you. Help me to stand firm in who I truly am – your child. Amen.