“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. . . Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise….”
1 Peter 5:5 and Psalm 100:4a, NIV
Muhammad Ali was in his prime and on a cross-country flight. As they got underway, the flight attendant asked him to buckle-up. Ali curtly replied, “Superman don’t need no seatbelt.” Not missing a beat, the flight attendant responded, “Sir, Superman don’t need no plane!” Perhaps he got a lesson in humility.
Humility and gratitude are partner virtues. They are exercised in tandem. Our gratitude to God is heightened by our understanding of His majesty and greatness. That awareness is designed to humble us. When Isaiah had his famous encounter with God, his immediate reaction was humility. (Isaiah 6:5) That humility came from Isaiah’s
awareness of his own sin. There is the key. Our sin makes us humble; God’s mercy makes us grateful. We are humbled by His holiness and grateful for his forgiveness.
Psalm 100 gives a perfect example of the harmony of these two characteristics of the spiritual person. “Know that the Lord is God. It is He that has made us and we are His.” This part of the psalm teaches us that God is Creator and Sovereign and has revealed himself to us. We belong to Him. He is in control, not us. “We are His people, the sheep of His pasture.” Because we are His, He cares for us. We are humbled by His care and reminded that we are utterly dependent on Him. “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise… for the Lord is good.” All that God is and we are not, elicits thanksgiving and praise from His grateful children.
How humbled we are as we ponder this awesome Father! How grateful we are that His mercy never ends in the face of our sinfulness!
QUESTION: What changes should your attitude take to conform to this biblical call to humility? How can you daily express your gratitude to God?