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The Word of God tells us that the Lord formed man from “the dust of the ground” and “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” (Gen. 2:7). After man’s fall into sin, the Lord said to Adam, “By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (3:19). It is humbling to be reminded that we are dust and to dust we will return. But then also to grasp that the Lord formed us and made us in His image ought to make us rejoice with sincere gratefulness.
Because of our sin, we are not as humble or as grateful as we ought to be. Humility and gratefulness cannot be separated—they are the closest of companions. Gratefulness is born of humility, but entitlement is born of pride. At the heart of the sin of Eve and Adam was their feeling of entitlement rooted in their pride, for they believed they could be like God. They were not content to be who God created them to be; they believed they knew better than God. This same sin is at the heart of our own sin and much of the sin we see in the world today. When we don’t live as God has designed and called us to live, it is because we think we know better than He does. When those in the world live however they want, they are acting out the same sin. The difference is that while the world puts its pride on display, we as Christians ought to despise the pride that lurks in our hearts and repent of it.
There is a war within us between the flesh and the spirit, between Spirit-wrought humility and pride. As Christians, we must humble ourselves before God and pray daily that He would make us humble. This is one of the scariest prayers we could ever pray because God often answers it with a trial that humbles us and makes us utterly dependent on Him.
We pray for genuine humility so that God will get glory, not so that we might get glory for being seen as humble. Genuine humility isn’t making ourselves seem humble but forgetting ourselves for others’ sake. The truly humble man is one whom others see as humble but who does not always see himself that way because his eyes are so fixed on our humble Savior.