Humility and Identity
WE may sometimes think of humility as a pleasant but unimportant quality. Or maybe we've mistakenly equated humility with self-depreciation. I used to wrestle with that misconception frequently, and still do on occasion. But self-depreciation doesn't help us. It doesn't forward our progress. Genuine humility, on the other hand, strengthens us. Christ Jesus taught very simply, ``Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.''1 How do we humble ourselves? We're counseled elsewhere in the New Testament, ``Humble yourselves...under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.''2
The Bible seems to be saying that genuine humility is a state of thought that acknowledges God as our creator and our dependency on Him. To be humble isn't to deny our ability or worthiness but increasingly to understand their divine source. Humility is, then, an essential aspect of obedience to the Biblical command to have but one God.
We may feel that to be humble would somehow obscure our individuality. Yet humility doesn't take away anything; it doesn't hide our identity. It strengthens our expression of individuality by bringing us into greater harmony with God, the sole source of genuine individuality. To the degree that we think we're the originators of intelligence, creativity, joy, strength, and so forth, we tend to cut ourselves off from the true source of these qualities and from the direction and care that God alone can provide.
We learn from the Bible of God's supremacy. We learn that He is Spirit and Love, the one true creator, who is totally good. If, then, God is good and the only creator, all the good we can possibly express comes from Him. It's not something we generate ourselves. Man is God's image, as the Bible teaches. This is our true selfhood. Our real being is His spiritual likeness, governed by His wisdom and love.
Through prayer we can come to feel this truth more deeply, to understand ourselves as expressing the one divine Ego. We find that this enables us to bring out our true individuality more vividly. Ultimately we have to recognize our genuine identity as, in fact, being God's expression, inseparable from Him. Humility enables us to discern this and to find our way out of the maze of materialistic thinking that would lead us astray.
Action that's strong and decisive in humble obedience to divine direction can benefit many. But an aggressive, ``take charge'' attitude, with little if any thought of God's leading, can cause much mischief. And even when we're receptive to His guidance, we need to keep listening, to keep yielding humbly to divine direction and the new insights it provides. When a feeling of personal glory or ego enters the picture, we're not humbly waiting on God.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, observes: ``Mortals are egotists. They believe themselves to be independent workers, personal authors, and even privileged originators of something which Deity would not or could not create.'' And she continues, ``When mortal man blends his thoughts of existence with the spiritual and works only as God works, he will no longer grope in the dark and cling to earth because he has not tasted heaven.''3
Humility is essential if we are to work only as God works. It's vital to our happiness and continuing progress.
1Luke 14:11. 2I Peter 5:6, 7. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 263.