Cultivating Humility

I read a really good blog post at Scriptorium Blogorium today that got me thinking – about humility. In the post, Michaela asks if our humility involves:

  • Subjecting myself?
  • Submitting myself?
  • Crying mightily to God all the day long?
  • Repenting?

I thought that instead of writing a long comment, I’d answer her questions here, on my blog.

Subjecting Myself
I feel like I can best subject myself to the Lord through consistent scripture study, church and temple attendance, and through experiencing nature. I love the idea of subjecting myself to the word of the Lord as a way to keep us humble.

I’m not a very humble person. I tend to get caught up in myself – and proud. When I read the scriptures daily, I’m reminded of my own nothingness and my dependence on the Savior. I have noticed that the more I study my scriptures, the more familiar I get with the scriptures. As I get more familiar with the scriptures, I find that the Lord is gently correcting me more often. Scripture study used to be about learning what was happening. I would read the scriptures, and learn. I would feel excited as I understood concepts and started making meaning of the symbols and metaphors of the scriptures.

Now, I feel relatively comfortable with what I read in the scriptures. I love reading them. I have found that more often than not, the Lord is using His word to remind me of my nothingness, and His mercy, and my need for Him. I find that I’m being corrected, gently, and in a way I understand. Even though I have a hard time being humble, I know that the Lord helps me to be better at this through studying His word.

Church helps us to be taught His word, which also helps to keep us humble.

Temple attendance is especially helpful in keeping our lives in perspective – which encourages humility. When we go to the temple, we subject ourselves to the Lord in such a pure way.

And finally, I think that we can subject ourselves to the Lord in nature and through coming in contact with His creations. I’m not sure that there is anything more humbling than looking at the night sky in the desert. In one glimpse, you can see the stars – the expanse. The desert sky is so big. When we look at it, we feel so little.

Subjecting ourselves to the Lord – through scripture study, church and temple attendance, and experiencing nature -helps to cultivate our humility.

Submitting Myself
Submitting ourselves to the will of the Lord builds upon subjecting ourselves to the Lord. We can subject ourselves to the Lord without ever submitting to His will. Submission is taking action on the humility that we may feel and learn as we subject ourselves to the Lord. Submission is an admission of our nothingness and our need for the Lord.

To fully submit to the Lord, we need to accept His will. Even if we don’t understand he reason why he is having us do or endure something, we trust in His perspective, power, and love, and we submit ourselves to Him.

Mormon gives a great example of submission:

“And I do this for a wise purpose; for thus it whispereth me, according to the workings of the Spirit of the Lord which is in me. And now, I do not know all things; but the Lord knoweth all things which are to come; wherefore, he worketh in me to do according to his will.” – Words of Mormon 1:7

It is difficult to submit – as often we are required to submit to things that are hard. It is also difficult because we do have our own perspective on life. We want to make decisions based on what we see and know. Submitting to the Lord means that we will be making decisions and accepting things that are unknown to us. Yet this exercise is crucial in cultivating humility. It takes humility to accept our own weakness and to, in turn, draw strength from the Lord.

Crying mightily to God all the day long
Prayer is an act of devoted humility. The act, in and of itself, is humble. We kneel and pray to the Lord. In the Bible Dictionary, we learn:

“As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are his children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part. Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work, and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.” – Prayer, Bible Dictionary

If we are crying mightily – with full purpose of heart, then we are remembering our dependence on God. When we pray, we both subject and submit ourselves to the Lord.

When we humbly pray, we receive the blessings of humility:

“…for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” – Ether 12:27

When we humble ourselves, we qualify ourselves for the grace of God.

Repentance
I feel like repentance is a natural outcome of subjection, submission, and prayer. When we are doing these three things, we begin to become humble. We recognize the gulf that stands between us and our Father, and then look for the mercy of God – through Christ’s atonement. We understand our need for it. And, we learn that in order to receive the mercy of God, then we must repent.

Repentance also increases our humility. I have experienced this. When I have truly repented, I’ve been forgiven, and blessed. While being tested and tried can be humbling (it really is), I find that being forgiven is even more humbling. When I have been forgiven, I have felt so overcome by the Love of the Lord, I wanted to shout or sing. I don’t even know – I was left confused -not in a bad confused way, but in a flabbergasted, “wow, I can’t believe that I have a God who loves me this much way.” I understood that I didn’t deserve to be forgiven, but I have been because God loves me. It is an amazingly great feeling.

I feel like this hymn adequately expresses what I want to say:

“I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me,
Confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me.
I tremble to know that for me he was crucified,
That for me, a sinner, he suffered, he bled and died.

I marvel that he would descend from his throne divine
To rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine,
That he should extend his great love unto such as I,
Sufficient to own, to redeem, and to justify.

I think of his hands pierced and bleeding to pay the debt!
Such mercy, such love and devotion can I forget?
No, no, I will praise and adore at the mercy seat,
Until at the glorified throne I kneel at his feet.

Oh, it is wonderful that he should care for me
Enough to die for me!
Oh, it is wonderful, wonderful to me!” – I Stand All Amazed

So…head over to Scriptorium Blogorium and read about how Limhi’s people humbled themselves. How do you work to stay humble and receptive to the Spirit of the Lord?

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