“I admit that I am not as strong or smart or pretty as…”
I stopped. Kneeling at the alter rail, I stared up at the candles which flickered against the gold of the church. The beginnings of my prayer for humility faded into silence as I realized in horror what I was doing. This sort of shameful, diminishing self talk is NOT humility. This is NOT of God. Yes, humility is gentle, but it is not weak or groveling. It is one of the most powerful weapons the Christian has when battling against the devil and the twisted desires we find lurking within our own heart.
Humility is key to the boldness we need in our lives and faith right now.
First of all, it is a powerful weapon against the devil who is a formidable opponent if we try to face him on our own.
We can be as brilliant as we want—the devil is smarter.
We can fast as much as we want—the devil never eats.
We can be as watchful as we want—the devil never sleeps.
So how do we beat him? By bowing our heads, knowing our own littleness, and letting the God of the Universe work through us. When the devil attacks a humble man, he finds himself not battling the frail mortal with a weak frame and small mind that he expected; he finds God Himself who is our shield and protection. It is when we stoop low enough to enter the cave where the Christ Child dwells, when we set aside our pride and follow Jesus with his Cross that we are truly unstoppable. The devil cannot stop Christ. He never could. He cannot stop us when we are filled with Christ’s light and allow him to work freely through us.
Humility can also help us conquer ourselves. I sometimes think we are more dangerous to ourselves than Satan is; enemies within are much more dangerous than the enemies outside the gate, but humility can help us win out against our darker side as well. The twisted, wounded, ugliness we sometimes encounter within our own hearts is conquered through the virtue of bowing our own heads to the God who made us. Instead of letting the anxiety and fear fester within us as we desperately try to hide our wounds and weaknesses which shame us, instead of pridefully clinging to the rigid idol we have made of ourselves for others to see, we can accept the living, vibrant, complex creatures God has created us to be. God did not just create us, past tense, and be done with it. He creates us daily. Humility is surrendering to His will and being fully alive as we are. There is a deep, unshakable confidence and boldness that can blossom once we are authentically and fully ourselves. Humility is malleability in the Potter’s hands so that he can make us beautiful, make us a fitting vessel for his heart—so that he can make us whole.
Humility is knowing the truth about who we are.
Who are we?
Nothing without God, and He has not abandoned us. The Creator of the oceans, of the mountains, of all beauty and goodness lives within me. There is nothing I should fear. This virtue renders the devil useless and opens up our own hearts to the power of God. It is once we are humble that we can stand fearless before all the world and sing of the glory of God.
Kneeling there in the silence of the church, it was time to form a new prayer, this one more authentically humble:
“I am beautiful, intelligent, and powerful and I am loved by You—Goodness, Beauty, and Love. I am called to do great things and bring glory to Your Holy Name through every action I take. I will not insult your daughter, the precious work of your hands again. I know I am not worthy, but since You have called me, I will sing of your wonders, My King.”
I am called to much, and God is with me.
There is nothing I shall fear.