True Humility

by Martin Luther

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in god my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed.” (Luke 1:46-48)

A good deal of pride lurks behind the outward show of humility we see in the world today. People put themselves down but don’t want others to look down on them. They decline honors, but they really want more honors to follow them. They appear to avoid prominence, but they still want to be praised and don’t want to deal with unimportant matters.

Yet in this passage, Mary says little about herself except that she is a servant. She was content to remain in her lowly position the rest of her life. She never gave any thought to her own glory or honor. She wasn’t even aware of her own humility. Humility is so fragile and sensitive that it’s not capable of looking at itself. Only God can look at it, as we read in Psalm 113:5-9.

If we were able to look at our own humility, we would conclude that we deserve to be saved because we know that God saves humble people. That’s why God reserves the right to look at humility for himself. He hides it from us by making us look at unimportant things and by keeping us busy with them so that we forget to look at ourselves. That’s the reason we have to endure so much suffering, death, and all the other kinds of hardships here on earth. Pain and difficulties force us to get rid of envy within us.

By using the word humble, Mary shows us that she served God with the attitude of a despised, unimportant, lowly servant. She had no idea that her humility was so highly regarded by God.

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5 thoughts on “True Humility

  1. Humility…another one of those gifts from heaven that is given to us freely and has nothing to do with us conjuring it up. Thankfully He works it in us…some of us just a little slower than others…like me for instance :o)! John M. once said that if we ever did feel humble about something we would then think, “Oh, I’m being humble about that!” and then there goes our humility. I think Luther was right. Mary didn’t even realize she was being humble otherwise she would have lost the humility as soon as she discovered she was being humble. Pride is a VERY hard sin to kill. Only keeping our eyes on Him through His grace will keep us humble.

  2. Sarah,

    Yes, pride is impossible for us to kill by ourselves. God must enable us to do it. I think Luther was exactly right about our suffering being used by God to humble us. I have had an upper respritory problem for last two weeks that I am SOOOOOOO tired of. It just will not go away. I have prayed and prayed and prayed that God would take it away, but He hasn’t. Why? I don’t know, but I do know that I must still serve Him despite my any suffering on my part for in doing that He will give me the grace to do it and then it is Him not me. How can I take pride in that?

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

  3. Humility is not only submitting to God’s will, it is having no will of our own from which to choose. As I was beeing taken to surgery last week I held my wife’s hand and looked in her eyes and said, “For our light affliction which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding weight of glory”.

    I can take no credit for the faith I found at that time, it was the Holy Spirit speaking through a vessel of His choosing. I must decrease and He must increase. Humility for me is being Him and living by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. May Jesus Christ be praised and not even a whisper praise another!

  4. Amen Rick!

    I pray you are recovering well. I would be sorrowful if God had taken you home, but also joyful that you would be with our savior in glory. The more I think about that the more I see how silly it is for us to have any goals and aspirations here that have nothing to do with that.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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