Why Humility Is Not What I Thought It Was

July 4, 2016

Matthew 11:25-26

25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.26 Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.


We’ve covered it here before and, frankly, we can never cover it too much. Let’s begin with a pop quiz. How many distinct prayers do we have recorded in the Gospels from Jesus?

I’ll share the answer tomorrow. In today’s text we see one of those prayers. It is known as the prayer of great reversal. Scan it again now.

This prayer holds one of the most neglected truths in the Kingdom of God. The truth about God must be revealed. It cannot be figured out or ferreted out by intellectual pursuit. While certainly good things, learnedness or scholarliness or advanced degrees are not the key to understanding the truth about God. The truth about God must be revealed. And the bottom line: God reveals himself and his Kingdom to the humble. Sure, one can be a scholar and be humble just like one can be completely uneducated and be proud.

We will come to it in a few chapters, but remember that time when Peter made his famous confession of the identity of Jesus as the Christ, the son of the living God? Remember Jesus’ response?

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. Matthew 16:17

When Jesus says God reveals himself to “little children” he’s not getting all sentimental with us. So often we want to associate Jesus’ comparisons with children to somehow mean becoming less adult-like—like the most spiritual thing we could do would be to drop everything and go pick daffodils while running through the meadow. Jesus is drawing a contrast with the relative powerlessness of children. Humility is not so much a way of thinking less of yourself. Nor is it, as I used to think, thinking of yourself less. I’m coming to believe that humility is the God given realization-becoming-posture of our absolute powerlessness before God. It’s easier for a little child to realize this than it is for a learned or otherwise powerful adult.

As an aside, it’s fascinating to me how step one of the twelve steps of alcoholics anonymous is all about coming to grips with one’s powerlessness. This is why I think what we most need is an AA for the rest of us (by which I mean people who don’t identify as an addict or a person otherwise in the traditional notion of  “recovery”).

Daily Text MATTHEW 07-04-16


1. How do you see the difference between outward ‘posturing’ and inward ‘posture?’

2. How do you relate to this understanding put forth here about humility and the realization-becoming-posture of our powerlessness before God—rather than a way we think about ourselves? Push back?

3. So, are you becoming humble? Are you becoming the kind of person to whom God can reveal himself, his wisdom, and his will? What would a step in that direction look like?

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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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