Throughout history, people have tried various methods to get closer to God. Many have tried solitude, meditation, minimalism or even self-denial. But these won’t get you there. If you want to get closer to God, you have to be like Moses.
No, you don’t have to lead a large nation around a desert for 40 years and you don’t have to spend 40 days and nights on a mountain with nothing to eat or drink. But there is one way in which we can strive to be more like Moses.
Let’s take a look at Numbers 12:1-8.
Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” And the Lord heard this. (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.) At once the Lord said to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, “Come out to the tent of meeting, all three of you.” So the three of them went out. Then the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud; he stood at the entrance to the tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam. When the two of them stepped forward, he said, “Listen to my words: “When there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, reveal myself to them in visions, I speak to them in dreams. But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house. With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?”
In this passage, God tells Aaron and Miriam that His relationship with Moses is qualitatively different than His relationship with anyone else. God speaks to Moses face to face. And why were Moses and God on a first name basis? I think the key is in that little parenthetical statement in verse three: Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth. Moses was closer to God than any other human because he was more humble than any other human.
Humility is the doorway to a close relationship with God.
What is humility?
Biblical humility is characterized by complete and utter submission to the Lord.
We can’t be humble if we don’t know our place in relationship to our Savior. But humility is not about self-loathing or being a doormat. It is about following God’s lead. Jesus was perfectly humble and submissive to God – where God directed, He followed. In righteous anger, He cleared the temple and without a word, He allowed men to nail Him to a tree. This same type of humble submission was cultivated in Moses in the desert where he had to completely rely on God.
How do we develop humility?
I stumbled across a great article that practically outlines the ways that we cultivate humility in our hearts. I would highly encourage you to spend some time reading that article. As you read it, do a heart check. What “fleshly” arguments rise up in you as you read through them? What barriers to authentic humility are you holding on to?
How do we help our children develop humility?
As Christian parents, we all want our children to have a close relationship with God – and humility is the key that unlocks that door. But humility comes from the heart – we simply can’t “make” our children more humble. That is the work of the Spirit. But there are some things that we can do to pave the way so that they are more receptive to the Spirit’s prompting. Here are some tips:
1) Model it. One of the best ways we can model humility in our homes is when we apologize to our children after we have made a mistake. Confession and seeking forgiveness restores relationships and heals wounds. You can read about the importance of apologizing to your children here.
2) Develop an other-orientation. Teach them to let others go first, hold the door for others, create a “love others” poster, or create a service jar.
3) Serve others together. Participate in a church work day, help a neighbor shovel, etc.
4) Realize that submission to parents will translate into submission to God. Consistently provide discipline and guidance to your children that reinforce the importance of submission.
5) Point out humility when you see it at work. Encourage your kids when when you see them demonstrating humility – no matter how small.
6) Allow them to make mistakes. Help your kids accept their limitations, apologize for mistakes, and seek forgiveness when necessary.
7) Teach them how to take every “arrow” pointing at them and aim it toward God. Is your child a great reader? That comes from God. Does your child have a beautiful voice? Thank God together for it. You are not teaching them to deflect compliments, just re-direct them. James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.” Everything good that we have comes from the Lord.
Humility is not the same as perfection (even Moses struggled with self-doubt and pride). In fact, at its very core, humility is the realization that God alone is good. Let’s ask God to cultivate humility in our hearts and pray that He makes the humility in us attractive to our children.