Be Clothed with Humility
NO GARMENT is better styled or more becoming to the servant of God than the gracious garment of humility. None is better designed to please Jehovah. Humility will help us to become unassuming, natural, simple, sweet. It is styled to make us gracious, gentle, forgiving, kind. It is not attracted or distracted by outward appearances, the height of stature, personal abilities or personalities. It helps us to see ourselves as God sees us: “For Jehovah seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but Jehovah looketh on the heart.”—1 Sam. 16:7, AS.
Humility means submissiveness; submissiveness means obedience; obedience means to do God’s will. God’s will as expressed in his Word teaches us humility. “Unless you turn around and become as young children you will by no means enter into the kingdom of the heavens. Therefore, whoever will humble himself like this young child is the one that is the greatest in the kingdom of the heavens.” (Matt. 18:3, 4, NW) “All of you gird yourselves with humility of mind toward one another, because God opposes the haughty ones, but he gives undeserved kindness to the humble ones. Humble yourself, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.” (1 Pet. 5:5, 6, NW) “For though Jehovah is high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly; but the haughty he knoweth from afar.” (Ps. 138:6, AS) “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth Jehovah require of thee, but to do justly, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with thy God?”—Mic. 6:8, AS.
Humility will help us to walk humbly before our God. It will safeguard us from becoming haughty, assertive, boastful, proud. It will save us from our own self-importance in personal bearing, in our manner of dress, and in our style of living. It will keep us from the vanity of our abilities and attractions and protect us against the damaging, ego-inflating effects of higher learning, a collegiate education, a diploma or an honorary degree. It will check us from exalting ourselves in the presence of the lowly, it will not be abashed in the courts of the mighty of the earth. It will help us guard against seeking the favor of men, the praises of others, or searching for flattery when our work is done. It will guide us to do our best and leave it with Jehovah, and not look for the praise and plaudits of men.
Humility will help us in our prayers to God. It will make us keenly aware of our need of Him, of our inability and imperfection. It will save us from trying to justify ourselves; from becoming like the Pharisee mentioned in Jesus’ illustration, who began to pray these things to himself: “O God, I thank you I am not as the rest of men, extortioners, unrighteous, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give the tenth of all things I acquire.” Rather, humility will help us to maintain a lowliness of mind, a meekness and modesty about ourselves, which says: “O God, be gracious to me a sinner.”—Luke 18:11-13, NW; Acts 20:19.
Humility teaches us to incline our ear toward Jehovah, and not away from him. “Unto thee, O Jehovah, do I lift up my soul. Show me thy ways, O Jehovah; teach me thy paths. Guide me in thy truth, and teach me; for thou art the God of my salvation; for thee do I wait all the day.” (Ps. 25:1, 4, 5, AS) It moves the heart to say: “Oh magnify Jehovah with me, and let us exalt his name together.” (Ps. 34:3, AS) It directs the humble to a life of dedication, praise and honor to God. But it also teaches, “before honour is humility.”—Prov. 15:33; 16:18; 18:12.
HUMILITY IN THE ORGANIZATION
Humility will help the dedicated servant of God to appreciate Jehovah’s organization, his arrangement for doing things in the earth, and it will aid him to see that only by staying in the organization, maintaining integrity, remaining faithful to Jehovah, will he be safe from all harm. It will help him keep his proper place in the organization and work in harmony with it. It will help him to think soberly, according to the facts of God’s Word, the Bible, which tells us honestly what we are. A humble man will not think he ought to be in this or that job or position. He knows that “the reward of humility and the fear of Jehovah is riches, and honor, and life”; and that Jehovah exalts the humble and abases the proud.—Prov. 22:4, AS; Luke 14:11.
Humility will help the servant when dealing with his brothers in the congregation. It will save him from self-consciousness. It will take away the constant sense of his own importance, and the desire of wanting to be the center of attraction, the thought of being the object of observation and attention; also from wanting to steal the whole show. When dealing with the brothers, it will help him treat the flock of God with affection, courtesy and kindness, even as Christ did. It will caution him not to be more exacting of others than God is of him. It will help him not to become easily offended if his kindnesses are not appreciated, knowing that God is kind to the thankful and the unthankful alike.
Humility will keep us subdued when we seem to be overflowing, allowing for love but not envy, for consideration but not prejudice. It will not allow the servant of God to say, “I am all right and you are all wrong.” Rather, as Jehovah says: “Come now, and let us reason together.” (Isa. 1:18) It will restrain the self-confident and tone down the arrogant in spirit from saying: “‘Today or tomorrow we will travel to this city and will spend a year there, and we will engage in business and make profits,’ whereas you do not know what your life will be tomorrow. . . . Instead, you ought to say: ‘If Jehovah wills, we shall live and also do this or that.’”—Jas. 4:13-15, NW.
Humility will shield us from bragging and prating about ourselves in a vainglorious way before our family, in the presence of strangers, or in the Christian congregation. It will keep us from assuming that others are as much interested as we are in our personal achievements. It will save us from taking offense because people may seem to ignore us, because perhaps our congregation servant did not recognize us or did not call upon us to make a comment or take a part on the service meeting program.
Humility will not allow us to have a high opinion of ourselves, nor will it grant a display of self before others, nor will it permit us to belittle others of whom we may be envious or for whom we may have contempt. No matter how elated or enthusiastic we may become over our accomplishments or merits, humility will keep self out of sight and under control. It will suppress the tendency to swagger and boast. It leaves no room for feigned piety or poses of sanctimoniousness and mock humility, which is commonly seen among the clergymen.—Col. 2:18, 23, NW.
Humility teaches us respect for our fathers and mothers, for the brothers and sisters in the truth, and for the whole Christian organization. It keeps out pride of nationality, race or color. It leaves no room for division. It teaches man that God “made out of one man every nation of men, to dwell upon the entire surface of the earth, and he decreed the appointed seasons and the set limits of the dwelling of men, for them to seek God, if they might grope for him and really find him”.—Acts 17:26, 27, NW.
Humility teaches the humble Christian that these truths belong to Jehovah God, that the servant merely bears fruit of Jehovah’s production. It counsels us that God’s will is reasonable, practical, right. The humble are conscious of their devotion and zeal toward God, and they earnestly strive to measure up to their God-given responsibilities. They are slow to err, quick to forgive. It teaches man that the most ignorant can be proud and haughty, but only a wise man can be humble. The proud are stubborn, brittle, and break easily. The humble are meek but not weak; wiry and unbreakable in integrity.
Humility is knowing one’s own insignificance in relationship to everything else. It clothes man with a lowliness of mind. It esteems others as better than he. It heeds the apostle’s counsel “to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called, with complete lowliness of mind and mildness, with long-suffering, putting up with one another in love, earnestly endeavoring to observe the oneness of the spirit in the uniting bond of peace”. (Eph. 4:1-3, NW) It allows no room for fornication, uncleanness of any kind or greediness, nor room for “shameful conduct nor foolish talking nor obscene jesting, things which are not becoming, but rather the giving of thanks”.—Eph. 5:3, 4, NW.
Humility keeps us from trusting in ourselves or men, but it teaches us that it is wisdom to ‘trust in Jehovah with all our heart; and to lean not unto our own understanding. In all our ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct our paths’. (Prov. 3:5, 6) It teaches us that Satan the Devil is the father of pride and the god of confusion. It was he who thought of himself more highly than he ought, and he has been debased and will be still further debased by Almighty God. He will be squeezed out of existence. Humility teaches us we must remain humble if we are to receive God’s approval. “God opposes the haughty ones, but he gives undeserved kindness to the humble ones. Humble yourselves in the eyes of Jehovah, and he will exalt you.”—Jas. 4:6, 10, NW.
Humility will help you see that “evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate”. (Ps. 34:21) It will help you walk obediently before Jehovah, not demanding justice from others but always rendering justice and mercy as far as possible. It will help you to stand on the streets and pass out handbills and offer magazines to passers-by; it will help you to go from house to house with literature and to make return visits and start home Bible studies. It will aid you to get on a platform and deliver a public address and serve faithfully in a congregation.
It requires humility, increased humility, to do these and other parts of the organizational work in delivering a world-wide witness to God’s name and kingdom. It is the garment styled by Jehovah himself. Wear it. “Walk humbly with your God.”—Mic. 6:8, AT.