The Connection Between Humility And Obedience

sad_snot-nosed_kid“Fool! You fool!” the five-year-old shouted. As it turned out, he was talking to his mother. She didn’t reprimand him for the name calling or for the disrespect. Instead she asked him if his father gave him sugar that morning. He growled in reply. She asked again and he growled again. Finally she asked him why he was making those noises. He said, “I’m a monster,” and proceeded to growl a few more times. At last his mother told him to stop being a monster. He growled in reply.

Is there a connection between this five-year-old’s disobedience and his disrespect for someone in authority? I think absolutely. Philippians tells us that Jesus humbled Himself by becoming obedient (2:8), and Hebrews tells us He learned obedience through suffering.

Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. (5:8)

Jesus was not disobedient until he learned obedience. Rather He was sovereign, the One others obeyed. Being God, He was not in a position to obey anyone else. So when He came to earth, He needed to learn.

Suffering was the means by which He learned, and humility was the outgrowth of this obedience.

So here’s a thought. If suffering leads to obedience that leads to humility, then it makes sense that withheld punishment leads to increased disobedience that leads to pride. Consequently, when parents withhold punishment from their children who are disobedient, they are missing an opportunity to teach them humility. In short, they are enabling their child’s pride.

Ah, yes. Pride. Satan’s plaything. He loves to convince children they know as much or more than their parents, that they don’t have to listen or obey, that their way is as good or better than the way they’ve been instructed.

Those prideful little people, when left uncorrected, end up becoming prideful adults who may tell God they are nicer than He is, that they think He’s wrong to send people to hell, that His Word is outdated, irrelevant, intolerant. In other words, pride is at the heart of much of the apostasy in the western Church. Unlike Jesus, twenty-first century westerners have not learned humility through what we have suffered.

May God have mercy so that we learn humility at the hands of our parents rather than through the consequences a prideful people can accrue.

Published in: on January 28, 2013 at 6:24 pm  Comments (2)  
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  1. Just read another blogger’s comments about God being in charge, and how, then, we must serve a lesser Being, one who makes foolish decisions and is weak, because He doesn’t stop all the bad things from happening. Reminds me of my young niece’s charge that everything thwarting her strong little will isn’t “fair”.

    Yes, bad things happen. Yes, life isn’t fair. But God is still good, and He is still in control, and we can still trust Him. If only we set aside pride, and the notion that, if we were in charge, well, then, things would be different!

    Indeed, they would, but not better. We tend to forget that nagging but overwhelming obstacle: our own nature.

    We Americans in general — and believers in specific — also tend to forget that people in great poverty and oppression in other parts of the world can have an overwhelming faith in God as good, despite their circumstances. It’s humbling to know that people suffer worldwide yet still love God, while we here complain He isn’t good because we’re having trouble at work, or a loved one died, or our finances aren’t as much as we’d like.


  2. An old Christian teaching on how to conquer pride and learn humility is by never doing something by your own will, but to be in obedience to someone. No better place is that illustrated than in the family. Good thoughts.


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