Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

How to be Cloth with Humility

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"And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord" (Deuteronomy 8:2-3).

It is hard to talk about humility in this world we live in since our world tends to think of another person’s success is less opportunity for us to succeed. People can fight and trick each other in order to maintain their positions and their status with no regards of other’s feeling.

Without humility it will be very difficult to see what is in your heart and what it is God is trying to show you. That is why endurance, submission, and self-denial are a very important part of our spiritual growth.

Humility is not something we are born with rather it comes from our God and our choice to follow the commandant of Him. Great mastery that most of us strive to do but we fail continually because we do not realize we practice it from our effort or because the life we live does not work with what we are trying to achieve. Therefore we end up failing.

What is humility? How can we gain humility?

"Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:5-8).

God blesses Him when He sees a person trying to follow His steps by leaving the world behind; not literary as the monks do but in a sense of nothing in the world matters before serving God and obeying His teaching.

  • Abstain from the things that blesses him
  • Abstain from the things that can take hold of him
  • Adopt the life of praises and thanksgiving
  • Regularly pray and meditate on the words of God
  • Give time and energy to help others
  • Use his giving talents in the glory of God

"If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14).

In fact God will not wait for us to do all these things. God knows our heart before we will even take one single step and will help us all the way because He can detect our desire to follow Him and be closer to Him.

"And the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 'See how Ahab has humbled himself before Me? Because he has humbled himself before Me, I will not bring the calamity in his days. In the days of his son I will bring the calamity on his house.'" (1 Kings 21:28-29).

The story of King Ahab was an amazing one because clearly shows us the mercy of God towered over everyone. The story started when King Ahab desired the land next door to his royal house in Jezreel. He was willing to pay a sum of money to get hold of it, but Noboth refused to sell his land, the land he inherited from his fathers. King Ahab was displeased, when his wife Jezsbel saw that she took the matter in her hand and plotted against Noboth and wrote a letter to the elders accusing Noboth that he has blasphemed God and the King and brought two witnesses. Noboth was stoned and murdered.

King Ahab claimed the land of Noboth, then the word of God came to Elijah that because King Ahab had followed Jezebel’s advice and disobeyed God, he will be murdered in the place where the dogs licked the blood of Noboth along with his wife Jezebel.

But when King Ahab heard those words he quickly tore his clothes and put sack cloth on his body and fasted and mourned. Then the word of God came to Elijah saying see King Ahab has humbled himself before Mee.

Here I pause to the wonder of God’s grace although God knows the heart of everyone and the wicked heart of King Ahab. The only reason he humbled himself in front of God after being frightened from the judgment; unlike King David when the prophet Nathan rebuked him and he repented in front of God with all his heart.

The reason I am saying that King Ahab’s repentance was temporary and external because he:

  • Kept the land of Noboth
  • Did not rebuke his wife Jezebel
  • Returned to his old self the next chapter

Despite our wickedness, through a humble repentance God’s grace and mercy can forgive and give us a new chance to overcome our sin and show true repentance. And that is wonderful to know that nobody is disqualified from God’s mercy.

Therefore pray diligently and ask God to help us to overcome our weaknesses and lead us to a life of humility that we may be pleasant aroma in front of God.

Written by
Nagwa Abdou

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