Gratitude is all about humility. When it strikes us, we realize we didn’t make ourselves. We don’t support ourselves. We do not go alone through life. It is all about dependence. Bending. This means gratitude and awesome humility.
“There but for the grace of God go I” was allegedly said by John Bradford in the mid 16th century as he saw a group of prisoners being led to execution.
The statement of the apostle Paul reflects the same spirit as he says of himself,
1 Corinthians 15:9–10 9For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10But by the grace of God I am what I am…
It is the gratitude we feel when we realize how immeasurably good God has been to us, as we count and recount our blessings—with Grati-tears.
There is this common expression, and so meaningful:
“Thank you” is the best prayer that anyone can say.
As has been said, “gratitude is the twin sister of humility. Pride is foe to both.”
Humility and gratitude are twin sisters that go hand in hand all the way into the Kingdom.
Why humility? Simplest answer: Because God requires it. He both commands and commends it.
James 4:6 6…He says: “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
Proverbs 22:4 4By humility and the fear of the Lord Are riches and honor and life.
1 Peter 5:6–7 6Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
He gives the command, then leaves it to us to figure out how to get there.
Or maybe he doesn’t. If we are open, if we are teachable, we can learn much from the simple lessons of life.
Stop and think, and we will realize we are short-term actors on the stage of life. We don’t know everything, don’t observe everything, and can’t do everything. What are we in God’s sight anyway?
Isaiah 40:15 15Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, And are counted as the small dust on the scales; Look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing.
A bit of dust on the scales? Truly, “Thank you” is the best prayer that anyone could say. “Thank you” expresses extreme gratitude and humility.
Humility is accepting the lot God has assigned us and using it to glorify Him, promote His cause and His praise. When we ponder His AWESOME greatness, what are we? Not far above… NOTHING!
Humility is realizing the world doesn’t revolve around “me.” Whatever the current culture tries to tell us, the facts remain: I will soon be gone, and the world will go on. It is a picture of reality. What can we do about it? Seek God. Seek his help. Seek to please Him, not ourselves.
How do we picture humble? Not running himself down, not holding back because he can’t do it “perfect,” not feeling worthless, but being and doing all that God makes us able to do!
The humble person is patient, never running thoughtlessly ahead or making decisions hurriedly which he or she will regret later.
The humble person puts others FIRST, taking time to listen, think, and consider others.
The humble person acts with self-control, not self-confidence. His tongue is doubly guarded. He thinks thrice and speaks once.
Who are we to stand against God’s will, God’s word, or God’s way? No one is humble because he was born into poverty, or because he had little ambition for this world.
The humble person has the highest type of ambition, ambition that reaches beyond this world to the world that is coming!
The humble person is not running himself down. He has surrendered his naturally high opinion of himself for the higher opinion of God.
No one is humble by nature. We are naturally self-confident and self-assured. Literally “selfies.” (When I just typed the word “self,” the system made it into “selfie”!) Ask a small child a few questions, and you learn very soon that he or she is at the CENTER of the world! The trait is born in all of us, art of our animal “survival” package. Paul didn’t address his warning to a few but to ALL. He said:
Romans 12:3 3For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
He is more conscious of the eye of God upon him than the eye of man. This is what Jesus said, as the lesson of supreme value:
Matthew 23:12 12And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
Pride takes us down. Humility exalts.
Proverbs 18:12 12Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, And before honor is humility.
What a lovely grace humility, what Sister SKeels called “the low sweet root from which all heavenly virtues shoot.” And it puts the love of being right above our natural love of “selfie.”
Are we ever tempted to say, “IF I did such and such I’m sorry”? I was very surprised when I first heard this lesson. What is wrong with “If I said such and such” or “If I did such and such, I’m sorry”? With the “If” our ego is still alive and well! It’s saying, “I’m sorry I offended you,” or “I’m sorry you think that way”—the “IF” makes it is no acknowledgment at all!
True humility will acknowledge the misstep and says flat out, “I’m sorry, I was wrong.” No explanation needed. The one making the accusation or the judgment may not be 100% right, but taking it in the right spirit is our first need. It shows that our desire to be right is foremost. Not our image, not what others think of us, but only what will please God.
There is some instinct in us that wants to justify us, and current thinking usually allows that! (Notice the politicians?) You don’t have to feel guilt for what you said, even if it was a lie!
But most of the time, we thought we were right in what we did or said—of course! or we wouldn’t have done it! This is where we all have to watch—and grow, because
Proverbs 10:17 17He who keeps instruction is in the way of life, But he who refuses reproof erreth.
And quite naturally,
Proverbs 21:2 2Every way of a man is right in his own eyes.
It is born in us. This makes the setting for Proverbs 25:11 and 12.
Proverbs 25:11–12 11A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold In settings of silver. 12Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold Is a wise rebuker to an obedient ear.
A wise reprover to an obedient ear. Isn’t that a beautiful description of gratitude?
When someone tells us we didn’t measure up as we should have, can we take it in a humble, grateful spirit?
To refuse the correction is to refuse a priceless opportunity. What did Jesus say?
Luke 16:15 15And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
There is the core of it: God knows our heart.
It is something we can all improve on, I know I can. It is so easy to justify ourselves. After all, we wouldn’t have done it if we didn’t have some reason for doing it. Or maybe we just didn’t think? Or did we hope it wouldn’t be noticed?
These are the opportunities for building character and the heart God is looking for, a humble and contrite heart.
Psalm 51:17 17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise.
Isaiah 66:2 2For all those things My hand has made, And all those things exist,” Says the Lord. “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.
Humility is facing the reality that God holds the final verdict on our life, and we must come to His standard. We don’t want anything on our record that will stand against us. We want to have that ready response to any correction. Not “If I did so and so, I’m sorry,” but simply, “I’m sorry, I was wrong.” Then we can say with the Psalmist:
Psalm 141:5 5Let the righteous strike me; It shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; It is the finest oil, let not my head refuse it.
Accepting correction with gratitude, that is awesome humility!
Gratitude Is Awesome Humility because gratitude is other centered. It is being grateful to God for His provisions in so many different ways, more than we can count; plus what we don’t even know about, the far greater number.
Then try to recall all the benefits we have received from the actions of others who think of us in good times and bad. The Lord has provided our caring Christian community to encourage us and lift us up in moments when we are down. We suffer together and rejoice together.
Proverbs 22:4 4By humility and the fear of the Lord Are riches and honor and life.
There is truth in the saying, “Of all the marvelous works of the Deity, perhaps there is nothing that angels behold with such supreme astonishment as a proud man.” Because what is man that God is mindful of us?
Pride and ingratitude are as inseparable as humility and gratitude