April 3, 2011 – April 9, 2011
“The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.” Proverbs 15:33.
Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 5, 253, 254; That I May Know Him, 65.
“Humility will be cultivated, because we shall feel our nothingness, and realize our dependence upon God.” The Youth’s Instructor, August 31, 1893.
1 A KEY TO UNDERSTANDING
- In contrast to the anguish of those who reject God’s wisdom (Proverbs 1:20–32), what is promised to all who seek to maintain their heart in faithfulness? Proverbs 1:33.
Note: “In the work of heart-keeping we must be instant in prayer, unwearied in petitioning the throne of grace for assistance. Those who take the name of Christian should come to God in earnestness and humility, pleading for help. The Saviour has told us to pray without ceasing. The Christian can not always be in the position of prayer, but his thoughts and desires can always be upward. Our self-confidence would vanish, did we talk less and pray more.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1157.
- How do we become eligible to gain heavenly wisdom? Proverbs 3:34; 4:1; 11:2.
Note: “Obtain an experimental knowledge of God by wearing the yoke of Christ. He gives wisdom to the meek and lowly, enabling them to judge of what is truth, bringing to light the why and wherefore, pointing out the result of certain actions. The Holy Spirit teaches the student of the Scriptures to judge all things by the standard of righteousness and truth and justice. The divine revelation supplies him with the knowledge that he needs.” Counsels on Health, 371.
2 PREPARING FOR SERVICE
- What is the key to life’s happiness? Proverbs 3:5–8.
Note: “In our separation from God, in our pride and darkness, we are constantly seeking to elevate ourselves, and we forget that lowliness of mind is power. … Pride and self-importance, when compared with lowliness and humility, are indeed weakness. We are invited to learn of Him who was meek and lowly of heart; then we shall experience that rest and peace so much to be desired.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 477.
- How can God use us most effectively? Proverbs 15:33; 16:3.
Note: “The Lord can use most effectually those who are most sensible of their own unworthiness and inefficiency. He will teach them to exercise the courage of faith. He will make them strong by uniting their weakness to his might, wise by connecting their ignorance with his wisdom.” The Signs of the Times, June 23, 1881.
- What attitude are we to cultivate from our very youth? Ecclesiastes 11:9, 10; 12:1. How can we promote the grace of humility in the children and youth within our care?
Note: “One of the characteristics that should be especially cherished and cultivated in every child is that self-forgetfulness which imparts to the life such an unconscious grace. Of all excellences of character this is one of the most beautiful, and for every true lifework it is one of the qualifications most essential.
“Children need appreciation, sympathy, and encouragement, but care should be taken not to foster in them a love of praise. It is not wise to give them special notice, or to repeat before them their clever sayings. The parent or teacher who keeps in view the true ideal of character and the possibilities of achievement, cannot cherish or encourage self-sufficiency. He will not encourage in the youth the desire or effort to display their ability or proficiency. He who looks higher than himself will be humble; yet he will possess a dignity that is not abashed or disconcerted by outward display or human greatness.” Education, 237.
3 A MEANS OF ACQUIRING STRENGTH
- What is the secret of true strength? Proverbs 10:29; Isaiah 26:3, 4.
Note: “The Lord can work most effectually through those who are most sensible of their own insufficiency, and who will rely upon Him as their leader and source of strength. He will make them strong by uniting their weakness to His might, and wise by connecting their ignorance with His wisdom.
“If they would cherish true humility, the Lord could do much more for His people; but there are few who can be trusted with any large measure of responsibility or success without becoming self-confident and forgetful of their dependence upon God. This is why, in choosing the instruments for His work, the Lord passes by those whom the world honors as great, talented, and brilliant. They are too often proud and self-sufficient. They feel competent to act without counsel from God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 553, 554.
- What is the main difference between the proud, self-sufficient person and the teachable one? Proverbs 9:8, 9. How are those who are teachable blessed? Proverbs 9:10.
Note: “The teachable and trusting ones, having a right purpose and a pure heart, need not wait for great occasions or for extraordinary abilities before they employ their powers. They should not stand irresolute, questioning, and fearing what the world will say or think of them. We are not to weary ourselves with anxious care, but to go on, quietly performing with faithfulness the work which God assigns us, and leaving the result wholly with him.
“If they but preserve their sincerity, their meekness, and humility, the poorest, weakest, and humblest of Christ’s followers, working in love, may start waves of blessing that shall go on widening and deepening, to refresh and bless the world. In order that they may do this, Christ must shine forth in their character. Let the daily life be a reflection of the life of Christ, and the testimony thus borne to the world will have a powerful influence. Heaven alone will reveal the fruits of an unselfish, holy life.” The Signs of the Times, June 23, 1881.
4 A QUALITY OF GOD’S TRUE CHURCH
- What thoughts should we keep in mind, especially during this present era of Laodicea—the antitypical Day of Atonement? Isaiah 53:3; Ecclesiastes 7:2–8; I Peter 5:5, 6.
Note: “Another great need of the church is humility—the deep humility of Christ. Believers need to see the necessity of working as Christ worked. O for that devotion and humility of heart that will lead God’s people to do those things that Christ has commanded, and still in all humility and truth say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done only that which it was our duty to do! But many, many are swelling with pride and importance, who in God’s estimation are lukewarm. Self-gratification is revealed because of a few things accomplished. Where do we hear the testimony of hearts that are broken in repentance and confession before God? Where do we see professed believers wearing the yoke of Christ? How little time is given to fervent prayer, the result of which would be the possession of a meek and quiet spirit, which in the sight of God is of great price.” The Review and Herald, September 16, 1909.
- Throughout history, what has caused both men and churches to either rise or fall? Proverbs 18:12. What must we realize in seeking to follow Jesus? Proverbs 29:23.
Note: “There is too much of self and too little of Jesus in the ministry of all denominations. The Lord uses humble men to proclaim His messages. Had Christ come in the majesty of a king, with the pomp which attends the great men of earth, many would have accepted Him. But Jesus of Nazareth did not dazzle the senses with a display of outward glory and make this the foundation of their reverence. He came as a humble man to be the Teacher and Exemplar as well as the Redeemer of the race. Had He encouraged pomp, had He come followed by a retinue of the great men of earth, how could He have taught humility? How could He have presented such burning truths as in His Sermon upon the Mount? His example was such as He wished all His followers to imitate.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 253.
5 LEARNING TO LIVE GOD’S WAY
- How did Christ illustrate the life of God—and why was He so often misunderstood? Proverbs 13:9; 4:18, 19.
Note: “Our Saviour was the light of the world, but the world knew Him not. He was constantly employed in works of mercy, shedding light upon the pathway of all; yet He did not call upon those with whom He mingled to behold His unexampled virtue, His self-denial, self-sacrifice, and benevolence. The Jews did not admire such a life. They considered His religion worthless, because it did not accord with their standard of piety. They decided that Christ was not religious in spirit or character; for their religion consisted in display, in praying publicly, and in doing works of charity for effect. They trumpeted their good deeds, as do those who claim sanctification. They would have all understand that they are without sin. But the whole life of Christ was in direct contrast to this. He sought neither gain nor honor. His wonderful acts of healing were performed in as quiet a manner as possible, although He could not restrain the enthusiasm of those who were the recipients of His great blessings. Humility and meekness characterized His life. And it was because of His lowly walk and unassuming manners, which were in such marked contrast to their own, that the Pharisees would not accept Him.” The Sanctified Life, 14.
- How should Christ’s life affect us? Proverbs 4:10–13.
Note: “If Christ had to make so great a sacrifice, if he had to endure such sufferings because of my sin, shall I not bow in humility, and regret that I have inflicted such grief upon his divine soul?” The Signs of the Times, October 28, 1889.
Review and Thought Questions
1 Name one essential key to diligent “heart-keeping.”
2 How can we improve the attitude of our children?
3 Why is a teachable spirit so desirable?
4 What is special about God’s true remnant in any age?
5 Why can the true believer expect to be misunderstood?
Copyright © 2002 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.