Humbleness doesn’t just happen in a person’s life, but is carved out by years of experiences that mold a person’s perspective on life. Moses was such a person in the bible as he initially felt powerful when in the ranks of the Egyptians until he took solving conflict into his own hands and killed an Egyptian soldier who was beating an Israelite slave. When found out he ran away and began herding sheep for the next 40 years. When God came to him in a burning bush and wanted him to lead the nation of Israel out of Egypt, a very humble man emerged in his conversation with the Lord. (Exodus)
When you follow the life of Moses, you begin to see characteristics of humbleness. One of the first traits of a humble person is the trait of being broken. “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?. . .Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” (Exodus 3:11, 4:10) He had gotten to the place in his life where his confidence had eroded away and when he looked at his skills and abilities, he came up far short of the task at hand. A broken man is the first necessary trait for being humble. A broken spirit recognizes faults quickly and is easily convicted of wrongs that have been committed. The conscience of a humble person is very soft and moldable.
Jesus told his disciples a parable relating to this issue of a broken spirit (Luke 18:9-14). He begins by talking about two people who prayed to God. The first man was a Pharisee, a Jewish religious leader, who prayed, “God, I thank you that I am not like other people–robbers, evildoers, adulterers–or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.” The Pharisee was comparing himself with the lower life’s of the world, those that had greater sins than himself. He was using self-righteous terms to justify himself. In our society, we often compare ourselves with either people who have more than we do or people who have less. If we do the former, a common outcome is insecurity and poor self-esteem issues. If we do the latter (compare ourselves with lower class) we find ourselves becoming self-righteous and puffed up which is what the Pharisee did.
The second man in Jesus’ parable was the tax collector who stood at a distance and would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” (Luke 18:13) The tax collector was totally broken because he compared himself not to the Pharisee, but to the Lord. Whenever we compare ourselves to the Lord, the immediate response is going to be a contrite and broken heart because we see our sin and unworthiness to come and have communion with a holy God
Jesus finishes the parable by saying, “I tell you that this man (tax collector) rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14) A person who is broken will look only to God for comparison, and will not be reactionary in their interaction with others, easily bent and moldable in the hands of the Master.
Humbleness comes from a broken and contrite heart. In your journey this day as I am seeking to do, come to God with a contrite and broken spirit and allow Him to guide and direct your steps.