Humility. What a word. What a strange and rare and beautiful thing.
The Lord started putting the word humility on my heart this past Sunday morning. I have been reading A Loving Life by Paul Miller slowly for the past few months. This Sunday morning, I decided I’d better continue on my journey in the book if I ever wanted to finish it. And it just so happened that the next chapter in the book was title “Humility: The Path of Love.”
In the chapter, Paul Miller reflects on the nature of humility and how humility and love are inseparable by looking at the book of Ruth. After reading the chapter, I confessed how unnatural humility is to me and how uncomfortable I feel being in the low place.
That day started with me calmly reading A Loving Life on my front porch, but it ended in tears and anger and discontentment. Starting around noon, I began struggling with the circumstances I was facing.
Everyday I feel my need for the Lord, but it’s not everyday that I feel as tested as I did this past Sunday. In the testing, though, the Lord was near.
I showed up for church exhausted, frustrated, and battling jaw pain. But my pastor spoke about sharing in Christ’s sufferings and entering into his humility. He shared the significance of denying ourselves and relying on Christ. He spoke from personal experience of deep suffering, and I felt the Holy Spirit speaking to me through it.
After the sermon, I still struggled to practice humility. I was still angry, in pain, and exhausted. I still felt like I had nothing left. But the Lord never left me. He kept speaking to me through A Loving Life, through my church, and through my husband.
The Lord had a lesson to teach me, and he was faithful to let me experience the suffering and the lowering I needed to in order to learn it.
I am still learning, and the Lord is still actively and purposefully putting humility on my heart. As I sought the Lord in how to respond to the difficultly and suffering I’ve been experiencing, he answered me tonight with John 13:1-17.
John 13:1-7 is the passage where Jesus washes his disciples feet. It was read on my wedding day, and Jon and I physically washed each other’s feet to symbolize how inseparable love and humility are.
Reading John 13:1-17 at the beginning of Holy Week during the season of Lent in this season of my life is the Lord lavishing me with his tender mercy. I needed those words tonight. I needed to be reminded of how, just before the Passover festival, Jesus chose to give us that example of humility so that we may imitate him.
Humility is the path to love. In humility, we can genuinely serve without resentment or keeping the score. In humility, we are free from comparison and can overlook the wrongs of others. Humility is a lowering of ourselves, our interests, and preferences. It goes completely against my sinful nature, but it is the path to love exemplified through the life of Christ.
What encourages me the most, as I’m sitting in my favorite chair reflecting on what the Lord has been teaching me, is that the Lord teaches me. Jesus is my rabbi, my teacher. He pursues me and doesn’t leave me to my own devices. He gives me his Holy Spirit and power to practice what he is leading me in.
In this season, that is love. In humility.