"I want to be a great man of God." "I hope to be used greatly by God." What do these phrases mean though?
Years ago, I used to pray that my husband would become a great man of God. One day, I felt convicted for praying that prayer. I imagined my husband and me having some kind of prayer ministry with long lines of people waiting for us to pray for them. But something seemed off. I heard the question in my mind, "Why do you want your husband to be a great man of God?" I didn't have an answer. But I don't think my motives were completely right either.
What if you performed miracles like raising dead people back to life, and no one, or maybe just a few people ended up knowing about it? How would you feel about that?
God is glorious, and one of the faults of mankind is that we want to be glorified as well. We are careful to give the glory to God, but deep down inside we want to share that glory as well. I know I have done that many times.
Do we ever wonder why we don't see miracles taking place in America like they do in other countries? I believe there is an answer to that question, and it has to do with humility. People in third world countries are just grateful to get a bowl of rice a day, yet many know a powerful, holy God that we here in America do not know. We make sure we have on our suits and ties and that the television cameraman or photographers are aiming their cameras at us. We must look our best because others will be watching and evaluating us by what they see (or don't see).
What is humility though? Humility is recognizing that we are not God, and that we are not the ones who call the shots or have miraculous powers in us. Humility is serving and loving others, and wanting others to be successful even at our expense. Humility is allowing God to work through us but without any recognition to us. God will actually reward those He uses but it might not happen in this life. We have to be ok with that.
Humility isn't belittling yourself or rejecting the talents and giftings God has given you. Humility isn't thinking less of yourself, but rather it is thinking more of others. Also, humility is not the same thing as humiliation. Humiliation is a degrading of someone and stripping them of their dignity. Humility doesn't strip people of their dignity. It prefers to regard the dignity of others instead of focusing on ourselves.
In counseling, we learned that many think of a counselor as a person wearing a counseling cap. It is a recognition for a person who does counseling to a counselee. The problem is, that the counselor is more like the counselee than different. We have more in common with those we counsel with than differences. But there is this mentality that counselors are above counselees. While we respect Biblical counselors, we should not put them on a pedestal. That is not humility.
Humility involves edifying others and bringing encouragement and hope to lost people. But humility does not flatter people. This can be confusing because we think that people need encouragement and we try to do that in an ungodly way. We have to speak the truth in love with everyone we meet.
Humility and love tie in together. John Piper had an amazing statement one time which said, "The opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is pride." If you look at the love chapter in the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13, you can see how true this is. Love does not boast. Love does not envy. Read the description for yourselves.
Finally, if nothing else here is important, the main reason we need humility is because God only responds to humble people. He turns away from the proud. Pride is listed as an abomination in Proverbs 6.
Here is a link to some verses in Proverbs that pertain to pride: http://epreacher.org/sermons/b-provpride.pdf