King David penned Psalm 131 as a reflection of his humility before God. Although David was anointed and exalted to the throne over Israel, he reaches a place in which his heart is not proud – rather, he is calmed and quieted in a contentment which is from the Lord…
1 My heart is not proud, Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
2 But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
3 Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.
Humility before God and other people is precious and increasingly rare. Selfie culture and self-importance has been bred into us. This is King David. This is the man after God’s own heart. This is the one whom God anointed to be King over King Saul.
In other words, there is considerable reason for David to be proud and his life was concerned with great matters. Yet he has calmed, quieted, and is content.
That sounds like a pretty good definition for humility: calmed, quieted, and content.
In Philippians 2, Paul outlines the humility of Jesus and challenges us to be like him – not looking for our own gain over others; rather, valuing them above ourselves.
Humility is a state of being calmed through experience and wisdom – the very things which give reason for pride can be harnessed to help us settle into calm. When we are content with who we are and what we have, we no longer have the driven need to place ambition over love for others. And we express our humility in a quietness in which we live out James’ advice to be quick to listen and slow to speak (James 1:19).
Will we put our hope in God like David encourages us to do? Will we find the same virtues in relationship with our Lord?