Sunday, January 22, 2012

What is humility?

I have been asking God a lot about humility lately. What is it? How can I know if I'm even going after it? The Bible has some great promises concerning humility. "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up." James 4:10. I know that humility is essential to staying sober. One of my favorite sayings in CR (Chemical Recovery) is: "When the pride goes up, the sobriety goes down." But how do I know if I am headed towards pride or humility? What are the signs? I think one element that is important to humility is complete and total honesty with God and others. The "How it works" section in the AA Big Book says the following is necessary in order to recover: "rigorous honesty", being "fearless and thorough" and being "willing to go to any lengths." There has to be a depth to our honesty that goes as deep as we possibly can go, as honest as we can be with God, with others, and with ourselves.

Pride wants to look good before others. It cares more about what others might think than about being right before God. The thing is, when we give in to pride and are not honest about the sins in our hearts and minds, it keeps us ashamed and fearful. There is such a freedom in being more concerned what God thinks than how other people might judge us. I am not saying we have to broadcast our sins on a billboard, but we need to be transparent people and we need to have people in our lives; mentors, sponsors, best friends, who will be willing to listen to the nitty-gritty and call us to the table on sin.

Another element of humility that seems essential is obedience to the scriptures. Proverbs 3:7-8 says, "Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones." For Christians, it is easier to know, than it is to be. That was Jesus biggest problem with the religious leaders of his day. In James 1:22 it says, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." We can be fooled by our pride and think that because we know a scripture and are trying to love God, that it makes disobedience somehow okay.

In the past few days, I have been totally convicted of this. I reread 1 Peter 3:1-6 and there are so many things in this passage that I don't like and don't "make sense" to me. Ugh. But to be honest, I don't want to be gentle, quiet, submissive, and ultimately (trusting) both God and my husband. I want to be in control. I don't want to be vulnerable. I want things done my way. Gross and ugly! But that is how I have felt. I have felt afraid that if I truly let God (and my husband) be in control that they will hurt me.

But my pride and excuse-making about these scriptures have kept me from the promises God has about humility (and obedience). Why would I want to miss out on that? To jumpstart repentance, the first thing I have to do is get honest with loving and spiritual women. The second thing is to realize that God will bless my life, if I just obey! I need to trust God (humility) and not my own ways (pride). When I do those things, it will help me to grow in my recovery. "When the humility goes up, the sobriety goes up!" Good news for people like me. -Wendy

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