As I write this blog today, it’s exactly 2 years to the day since I discovered my wife’s infidelity. The temptation on “D Day” is to focus on me, my pain, my loss, my damage and my journey. However, if I have learned anything in these past two years trying to recover, it is this: it’s not about me.
In my three-part series on Attitudes for Recovery, we’ve already looked at the attitudes of faith and surrender. Today I want to focus on the attitude of humility. You will recall that our Bible verse for this series is based on Matt 11:28-30 NLT:
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
What is Humility From God’s Perspective?
The best book I know on the subject of humility is “Humility: The Journey Towards Holiness” by Andrew Murray. He defines humility in this way:
“Humility, the place of entire dependence on God, is from the very nature of things the first duty and highest virtue of His creatures. And so pride- the loss of humility- is the root of every sin and evil… It is not something we bring to God, or that He bestows; it is simply the sense of entire nothingness that comes when we see how truly God is everything.”¹
You see, Jesus didn’t simply humble Himself before God, He humbled Himself before mankind. He allowed soldiers to beat Him, mock Him and spit on Him. He allowed Himself to be crucified in a manner reserved only for criminals. He lived a simple life with no great riches. He emptied Himself.
What if your mission is to point your wayward spouse back to God? To show God’s kind of love to him or her? To be a shining example of grace instead of the hammer of condemnation? These questions pierce the very soul because they question if we can truly love as God loves us.
“If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers.” 1 John 4:20-21 NLT
Jesus Is Our Example
Jesus declares that “I am humble” and asks that we allow Him to teach us, partner with us and learn from Him how to find rest for our souls. Humility is a central characteristic of Jesus Christ and the the Bible declares very clearly,
“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had…He took the humble position of a slave…He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” Phil 2:5-8 NLT
You see, when God asked His one and only son to come to earth and give up his divine privileges in order to save us, Jesus accepted the mission. It was the supreme act of humility. There is a saying at our church, “We give up the things we love for the things we love more.” Jesus surely loved heaven and his relationship with the Father and Holy Spirit, and it was perfect lacking in nothing. Yet there was something greater to be accomplished. He loved you more than He loved His position in heaven. He became nothing so that we could have everything.
Are you willing to lay down your pain, your hurt, your desire for revenge and your hate at the cross in order to save your marriage? This question is not based on what your wayward spouse does or doesn’t do. God is asking you this question. Jesus’ sacrifice to redeem us wasn’t based on whether we asked for it or not. It was because God asked Him. What is God asking you to do about your marriage? True humility will lead you to the answer because you will care more about God’s will than your own.
Circling Back To The Big Picture
You can never lose with others when displaying humility, surrender and faith in obedience to Jesus because He will always advocate better for you than you could ever advocate for yourself. Do you believe that? Because of sin in this world, it means you will carry burdens. Jesus describes the burdens we carry without being partnered with Him as “heavy”. But He promises the burdens we carry partnered with Him as “light” in comparison.
Partnering (or being yoked together) with Jesus is where rest for your soul is ultimately experienced. It is freedom from sin’s heavy burdens. Jesus says, “Let me teach you…” which is better translated as a command to “learn from me through observation”. Jesus will pull in the direction you should go, you need only to follow. His burdens are lighter so you won’t feel all the weight. He is doing the heavy lifting. You will find the “rest for your soul” that is needed.
I’m learning more and more that it’s not about me. My greater purpose? What about saving my marriage for the sake of my children? What about being a mirror that reflects God’s kind of love to my spouse so powerfully that it completely changes and heals her. What if I gave up everything so that my wife could see God through me and know Him more deeply? This is why Jesus declares,
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Matt 16:24-25 NIV
¹”Humility: The Journey Towards Holiness” by Andrew Murray, Pgs 16-17.