“What else does the Eternal ask of you
But to live justly,
and to love kindness
and to walk with your True God in all humility?
Micah 6:8 (VOICE)
When I read the phrase “to walk with your True God in all humility”, the first picture that pops into my mind is of an Asian courtier following a respectful distance behind the emperor. Head bowed deferentially, the courtier is ready at a moment’s notice stop when the emperor stops, bow when the emperor turns to face them, and obey whatever command they are given. Somehow, I most easily associate humility with self-debasement and subservience. But applying this picture of humility to the verse in Micah makes God feel distant and it makes me feel unloved.
While it is true that Jesus is the King of kings and I have chosen to follow him, in my daily life I don’t relate to Him as my emperor or master. Most often, I call Him “Father God” and think of Him as my helper and guide. I don’t think I’m out of line in this, since Jesus called his closest companions “friends” while He was here on earth (John 15:15) and Jesus’ dear friend John assures us that through Jesus we have become children of God (1 John 3:1). If I relate to God as a loving father, my picture of the emperor and the courtier doesn’t seem like a helpful model for humility. So what does walking with my Father God in all humility look like?
As I explored this question, I discovered that if I want to understand humility, I’ll need to get a handle on pride. One of the definitions of being humble is literally “not proud” and humility and pride are often described as the opposite of each other. In sifting through the definitions of pride, humility, and their various synonyms and antonyms, this is what I’ve learned. The pride that is the opposite of humility is an inordinate, unreasonable, excessive opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority. It is a lofty and often arrogant assumption of superiority in some respect. Thus, by implication, humility is a reasonable opinion of one’s importance, merit, or place, an unexaggerated or realistic estimation of one’s self in some aspect. There is a sense of honesty and openness in humility, a presentation of one’s self without pretense, falseness, or being showy. Humility also displays a courteous respect.
In light of these ideas, when I think about walking with God in all humility, I picture myself being honest and open with God. I’m not exaggerating my competence or denying my failings. I’m not exaggerating my importance or denying my worth. I’m not trying to prove anything to myself, to God, or to someone else, because I’m assured of who God is and who I am with God. I picture myself living in a way that demonstrates respect for God, for the world He created, and the people made in His image–including myself. This is the humility I want to walk in with God this week. Won’t you join me?