Cultivating Humility

I heard someone say recently the most humble thing you can do is believe you are who God says you are. To put it simply: when God says something to you, believe Him. Whether it’s a specific identity, a promise, or even a kind word, believe that He means it. He’s not a God who teases us or gives things just to take them away. Psalm 111:5 says He satisfies all who love and trust Him, and He keeps every promise He makes. He takes care of His people—He satisfies and meets every need we could have and He keeps His promises every time.

I believe Jesus fully lived in this place. He was so connected to the Father that he knew exactly who he was every moment of every day. John 5:19 says, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. Everything Jesus did, whether it was praying, signs and wonders, healing, etc. he did from a place of knowing the Father and knowing His identity as Son.

 The first time we see this identity is in Matthew 3 when John baptizes Jesus. Matthew 3:16-17 says,

 "And as Jesus rose up out of the water, the heavenly realm opened over him and he saw the Holy Spirit descend out of the heavens and rest upon him in the form of a dove. Then suddenly the voice of the Father shouted from the sky, saying, ‘This is the Son I love, and my greatest delight is in him.’”

Other translations of this verse say, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” I think it’s important to highlight the fact that Jesus’ identity as Son was given to him before he ever started his ministry. In other words, Jesus had done nothing to earn this identity; the Lord freely gave it to him because that’s who he was. The Holy Spirit empowered Jesus to fully rest in his place of Sonship, and I think this moment of declaration and identity prepared Jesus for his ministry to come.
 
 Jesus was in step with the Holy Spirit. Recall John 5:19—Jesus did nothing apart from what he saw the Father doing. The Holy Spirit empowered Jesus to be connected with the Father. 1 Corinthians 2:9-11 says, “’What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him,’—these things God has reveal to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” Because the Holy Spirit rested upon and lived inside of Jesus, he was able to connect with his Father 24/7. Jesus never questioned who he was as Son because he so deeply trusted and believed in what the Lord declared over him in Matthew 3. Jesus knew the weight and the authority of his identity and place as Son and he fully lived out of that place. He lived from a place of relationship and rest with his Abba Father. He lived from a place of deep trust that his Father would take care of him no matter the circumstance. Jesus knew God and was so deeply known by God that he did whatever was asked of him. We see this depth of trust and humility in Matthew 4:1 immediately after he was baptized:

 “Afterward, the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the lonely wilderness in order to reveal his strength against the accuser by going through the ordeal of testing.”

Immediately after the Lord shouts from the Heavens about His beloved Son, Jesus went into the wilderness and was tested by satan. Now I don’t know about you, but I would be pretty upset if I were Jesus. He could have started his ministry right then and there. He could have proclaimed that he was the Messiah in that very moment. But instead, he follows the Lord into the wilderness where he fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, an act that required him to be fully dependent upon God.
 
 Why is this important?

 Because immediately after the Lord revealed Jesus’ identity as Son, He asked Jesus to fully believe in that identity. He called Jesus to a place of dependence that empowered him to walk out of the wilderness unharmed and victorious over satan’s attacks.

 The truth is Jesus was so humble that He believed He was who God said He was. He wasn’t anything more or anything less that his identity as Son. He didn’t overcompensate or have fear about not being good enough. He fully trusted in the identity the Lord have given him and lived from that place. He exemplified humility so well and so beautifully—even in the most tempting and trying times Jesus trusted his Father without question.

 So, how do we cultivate this kind of humility in our own lives?

 Boy howdy is this a million dollar question. Obviously Jesus sets the bar infinitely high with a perfect example of how to live from a place of humility and confidence in identity. So practically speaking, what does it look like for us to live from this place too?

 I think first and foremost we have to know God and be known by Him. We have to know His character and His nature in order to believe His truth. We have to know that the God who called us by name out of our grave is the same God who gets down in the dirt with us and says, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” We have to know that we are unconditionally loved by a good Father who satisfies those who love and trust Him and keeps every promise He makes.

 Secondly, I think we have to give God the space to speak into our identities and then believe Him when He speaks. We will never hear what our hearts long to hear if we don’t give God the opportunity to speak. Now this requires some vulnerability and some trust, but I think it’s worth it if it leads to an encounter with our Abba Father. Once He speaks, then it’s our turn to believe Him.
 
 Finally, I think we have to remember we could never earn what the Lord freely gives. No amount of persuasion, achievement, or striving would ever be good enough to earn something from the Lord.

1 John 3:1 says, “Look with wonder at the depth of the Father’s marvelous love that he has lavished on us! He has called us and made us his very own beloved children.”
 
 Romans 8:16 says, “For the Holy Spirit makes God’s fatherhood real to us as he whispers into our innermost being, ‘You are God’s beloved child!’”

 Both of these verses reveal the unconditional beauty of God’s Father heart. He lavishes His children with love and His Spirit empowers us individually to hear and believe that we are “God’s beloved child.” In the place of realizing we could never earn God’s love I pray we would know the depths of it at the same time. Our good Father knows no boundaries and freely gives His Son, just so we could know what it means to be the children of God.
 
 In the midst of our brokenness, our shame and our sin, I pray we would encounter God with naked trust. I pray we would take our projections off our Father and let Him show us who He actually is. I pray we would humble ourselves and believe Him when He speaks. I pray we would let Him empower us the same way He empowered Jesus, and I pray we would live from the identity that we are the beloved Sons and Daughters of a good Father.

Author | Elizabeth Sprinkle

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