Characteristics of True Humility

One of the most beautiful character traits of a Christian is humility. “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).

It can only benefit us to consider the fruits of true humility in the lives of godly people. The life and character of David provides us with a fine example of this.

Though he was promoted to a higher position, he was not corrupted as a result. While he was still an ordinary young shepherd, Samuel sent for him to come from the field and anointed him as the future king of Israel. God had chosen him over all his brothers. However, he was still willing to return to his father’s flock and await further guidance from God.

David preferred to present himself as he was rather than attempt to imitate others. When the Spirit of God aroused in him a righteous indignation at hearing Goliath’s blasphemies, Saul gave him his own armor to confront the Philistine. David, however, laid aside this armor, preferring to take his sling, which he had so successfully used in slaying the lion and the bear.

God has equipped each of His children with an individual personality. He can use each of us best when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. He wants us to place ourselves at His disposal just as we are and not try to imitate others. 

David did not become arrogant because of his victory over the giant. Although he was highly honored after slaying the boastful giant, he remained humble. He did not boast about his victory. He did not plot to seize the throne, as some might have done in his place. He regarded Saul as the “Lord’s anointed,” even though the disobedient king was no longer worthy of that position. David was willing to suffer bitter persecution from the wrathful and envious King Saul, who repeatedly tried to take his life. Although he was hounded like a wild animal, he refused to kill Saul when the opportunity arose.

When David heard of his rival’s death, he lamented instead of rejoicing. When Saul’s army had been defeated, King Saul threw himself on his own sword to avoid falling into the hands of the enemy. The way to the throne, for which David had been anointed long before, was now open to him. David, however, lamented for Saul and Jonathan.

David humbled himself when he was rebuked by God’s messenger. Like many others, David experienced that carnal comfort is often ruinous to the spiritual life. At the height of his earthly power, he fell prey to temptation and sinned grievously against God and man.

Nathan sought out David when he had sinned grievously against Uriah. Many other kings would have had the fearless prophet executed, but not so David. He humbled himself before God and obtained forgiveness, even though he had to bear the consequences of his sin.

In later years, when his own son rose up against him, David was once again a fugitive who was unsure of his life. But when one of his men asked permission to kill the rebel, David would not allow it. He thought of his own case and accepted this affliction as a punishment sent to him by God.

Truly, it is worth remembering the words of Scripture in all circumstances, “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6).

H. A. Sherwood

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