We can certainly have too much of a good thing. We find ourselves taking one-bite-too-many at the end of a great meal, as we press dessert into our already filled bellies. While enjoying rich fellowship with the Lord’s people, there are times we overstay our welcome as the yawns begin and wristwatches are checked. Even such blessings of the Lord have their limits this side of glory. But in God’s economy, His children never find themselves experiencing “too much humility” prior to our glorification.
Sure, we will be pressed—but not crushed (2 Cor 4:8). We encounter heavy trials—but the Lord bears us up (1 Cor 10:13). And we are humbled under His mighty hand, but He raises us in due time (1 Pet 5:6). The believer can never get too much of this good thing: Christ-like humility.
Only of the Lord Jesus Himself could it have been said, He was the most humbled. After all, the first will be last and the last first. For Christ to have been made first of all (Phil 2:9), He first had to become the least of all (Phil 2:8).
But are there not times we believe we have hit our limit and can no longer endure our humbled estate and lowly posture? We wildly think to ourselves, ‘can I humble myself under the mighty hand of the Lord any more than I already am?!’
I was meeting with a young man whose fiancée had betrayed him and seemingly walked away from the faith altogether. They had been high school sweethearts, had been best of friends growing up, and had taken sweet company together as they walked to God’s house in the throng (cf. Psalm 55:14). As he and I met over the weeks and months, I asked him the question early on, “how do you believe the Lord is using this to humble you?” His response was to look me straight in the eyes, tears streaming down his face, skin taut and flushed with emotion: “How can I possibly get any more humble than this!?” As the months wore on, and we concluded our interactions, he made reference to that question: “You may not remember asking me how the Lord was using these events to further humble me. I couldn’t receive the question at that time. But I see it now—I understand.” While that young man walks with a proverbial limp, the Lord tends to mightily use those who walk with a limp (Genesis 32:31).
Humility is a strange thing. As we are united to the exulted and reigning, resurrected Christ (Colossians 3:1-3), He is simultaneously conforming us to the pattern of His humiliation (Colossians 3:12). And the more we are conformed to the pattern of His cross, the more we come to know the power of His resurrection (Philippians 3:10).
While no one actually enjoys the experience of being humbled, we can never have too much Christ-like humility this side of glory. So let us run to be last for the sake of Christ, for in due time, He will lift us up. Until then, as J.C. Ryle puts it in his Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Mark, “Of all garments, none is so graceful, none wears so well, and none is so rare, as true humility.” May we wear it often and may we wear it well.