Since this pandemic, we have heard 2 Chronicles 7:14 repeatedly quoted, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Quite frankly, I have been stuck at the “humble themselves” portion of this scripture. I know the Church, collectively, has been praying and seeking God for the healing of our land. Nevertheless, I believe we need to spend some time on the criteria for the healing of our land. I want to discuss the humbling requirement.
It is interesting how, for the most part, the humbling portion of this scripture is passed over. I fully understand how that can happen. I have read this scripture countless number of times with the intent to just get to the “good part” – “then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” The seriousness, uncertainty and dangers of this present time have given me much pause. I cannot do what I have been doing; I cannot think the way I have been thinking. It is time to submit every motive, every action and every thought for examination. This, I believe, will lead to the pathway of humility.
According to Merriam-Webster, humble is defined as: one of the definitions for humble is: “not proud or haughty; not arrogant.” Of course, we do not think of ourselves as prideful or arrogant, so we quickly give ourselves a pass on humility. However, if we would look deeper at another meaning for humble, we would find there are some things we need to work on (emphases added): “reflecting (thinking deeply or carefully), expressing (conveying – a thought or feeling – in words or by gestures and conduct), or offered (extended or presented) in a spirit (attitude) of deference (respectful submission or yielding to the judgment, opinion, will, etc., of another) or submission (the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person),” The Bible explains it this way in Philippians 2:3 (emphases added):
Let nothing (no thing) be done through strife (angry or bitter disagreement over fundamental issues) or vainglory (inordinate pride in oneself or one’s achievements); but in lowliness (lack of vanity or self-importance) of mind (the part of a person that enables them to think, feel emotions and be aware of things) let each esteem (respect and admire) other better (of a more excellent or effective type or quality) than themselves (yourself). (KJV)
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit (excessive pride in oneself) [through factional motives, or strife], but with [an attitude of] humility [being neither arrogant nor self-righteous], regard others as more important than yourselves. (AMP)
Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves. (TPT)
When we look at the definition, along with the descriptive words in these scriptures from the various versions, we can clearly see that we really do not pass the humility test. There is indeed some humbling that is necessary.
In our social media driven society, self-promotion is the norm – showcasing our talents, telling of our goodness – all in an effort to amass a large following to gain access to large platforms. It is difficult to check our motives and hidden agendas when we think we are only grinding and promoting our ministries and businesses. We are working so hard to be great, when the Bible gives us the formula for greatness, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6. While we are racing to get to the top, Jesus said, “But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.” Matthew 19:30.
The pursuit for greatness is the biggest trap for selfishness, conceit, arrogance and pride – everything becomes about us and what we want to achieve. Considering another person is not on our radar, neither is promoting someone else – unless we stand to gain something. Humility is not demonstrated through an attitude of every man for himself; every church for themselves; and every denomination for themselves; not according to Philippians 2:3.
There is no better time than right now to pause and ask the Holy Spirit to search our hearts, search our motives, and search our actions; and allow Him to show us what is there. We cannot search our own hearts because our own hearts will deceive us. (“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9). When we pray, “If you find anything wrong,” that is false humility from a deceived heart. We should follow David’s example of a sincere prayer – Psalm 139:23, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts.” The Amplified version reads: “Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong— then guide me on the road to eternal life.”
“For God resisteth the proud, and gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5(b)