I almost walked past these little blooms on a low brown shrub. I don’t like brown. I spent years trying to rid my house of the brown walls, flooring and trim that was so trendy when we bought it. The experience left me with a dislike for brown décor and an aversion to popular fashion trends.
I wondered why anyone in a country prone to vegetation-killing frost almost three-quarters of the year would intentionally decorate their garden with a bush that looked so, well, humble compared to the colourful alternatives. When I slowed down to pay attention, I noticed the beautiful little intricate blossoms.
In dreams, the colour brown often represents humility. (Not always, of course. When God chooses to communicate through symbolic language he customizes it to take into consideration the connotations for the one receiving the dream as well as their willingness to follow clues.) In a culture that honours the right, even need of the individual to be “the winner,” the humble person who puts others’ needs before their own seems to exert little influence.
And yet God says over and over he is attracted to the humble.
We’ve heard Shakespeare quoted: “Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them.”
I wonder if, in the upside-down arrangement of the Kingdom of God, where the proud stumble regularly and last shall come first, it might be accurate to say: Don’t be afraid of humility. Some are born humble, some humble themselves, and some have humility thrust upon them.
I can tell you from experience it is better to humble oneself than to have humility thrust upon one, but a loving Fathers chastises when necessary if we continue to ignore his advice. “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and he will lift you up.” He’s serious about your character development.
The humble are not victims, or grovelling worms unworthy of attention, or door mats willing to be trampled underfoot by the ‘entitled,’ nor are they sympathy addicts who use their challenging circumstances to attract people who will take responsibility for them.
Truly humble people have the advantage of knowing who they are in God’s sight. They know they are loved and secure and have no need to push other people out of the way in the race to admiration and acceptance. They are accepted already. They can appreciate help and correction, but they don’t need the approval of people who compete.
The humble know that God is God and they are not. Their confidence (which may be mistaken for pride) is a result of their trust in their Creator. They can afford to lift another person up to become all they are meant to be. They can afford it because they have access to all the riches in their heavenly Father’s house. The truly humble have prosperous souls.
Jesus-followers follow his example of humility.
So I’m asking you, my friends, that you be joined together in perfect unity—with one heart, one passion, and united in one love. Walk together with one harmonious purpose and you will fill my heart with unbounded joy.
Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves.
Abandon every display of selfishness.
Possess a greater concern for what matters to others instead of your own interests. And consider the example that Jesus, the Anointed One, has set before us. Let his mindset become your motivation.
He [Jesus] existed in the form of God, yet he gave no thought to seizing equality with God as his supreme prize. Instead he emptied himself of his outward glory by reducing himself to the form of a lowly servant. He became human! He humbled himself and became vulnerable, choosing to be revealed as a man and was obedient. He was a perfect example, even in his death—a criminal’s death by crucifixion!
Because of that obedience, God exalted him and multiplied his greatness! He has now been given the greatest of all names!
(Philippians 2:3-9 TPT)
Thank you, little brown shrub. I see you.