Humility is one of those rare qualities that we sometimes possess ... until the stubborn human side of us rears its ugly head and we dig our heels in. When that happens, we become unreachable and unteachable - a dangerous combination.
It is hard work to be humble. We are generally pretty sure of ourselves and lean toward our own understanding. After all, life has taught us well and we have all that experience we've learned from. The Lord, however, might have a thing or two to teach us yet. If we are closed to new ideas, even his, we might find ourselves missing out on life lessons we need to make us worthy to live with him.
We can compare ourselves to a lump of clay and a rock. If we are humble like the clay, we will allow God to mold us into a receptacle he can fill with enlightenment and wisdom. We are more likely to live in a manner that pleases him. If we are the rock, all that he has to give us cannot break through our hard exterior and we are left to our own very limited understanding.
How do we find that humility?
Examine the past
Think of times in the past when you have used your own wisdom and it has backfired. Then, think of another. And another. If you are like me, you will find no shortage of experiences in which your very limited understanding really let you down. In most of these instances, if we had humbled ourselves and asked for God's blessings, or even a portion of his advice, we might have saved ourselves a whole lot of heartache and trouble. We are not so clever as we might think.
Study the scriptures
We can use our scriptures as a kind of workbook, examining the stories of proud people and their downfall and the other stores of humble people and their closeness to divinity. We can liken these stories to our own lives and use the patterns set forth as a guideline. After all, there is a reason they were given to us.
What would Jesus do?
It sounds cliché, but it does stand true. Asking ourselves not only what Jesus would do, but what we would do if we were standing in his presence can be a great barometer to judge our actions by.
Think of the eternal consequences
Try to imagine the repercussions of your actions and their impact on your future as well as the future of others. We often think of what will make us happy this instant and forget to humble ourselves by looking more than five minutes ahead.
Listen to the Holy Spirit
We all have access to God's spirit and if we are humble enough to pray for guidance, we will feel good when our choices align with God's will.
There is no decision so trivial that the Lord won't advise us on it. The more we pray and ask, the more he will realize we really are interested in learning his ways. We will feel better about our choices and more peace in our lives.
Keep a record
When you are successful in your life through humility, write it down. Keep track of the good things that happen as a result of your being open to God. Look at it often and share the experiences with your family. By keeping the memories close, humility will be more likely to become a habit.
Being humble, reachable and teachable won't always ensure that we are successful in all that we do. But it will keep us at peace even when the waters get choppy. If we know we are living according to God's will, we will be more likely to be able to calmly navigate the storms.