How to Eat Humble Pie

“So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited”
(2 Corinthians 12:7).

Few of us enjoy answering the question, “What was your most embarrassment moment?” Other than causing us shame, we really cannot figure out any upside to such questions. We’ve witnessed people tripping on slippery ground, backing into another automobile in a parking lot, and forgetting their own phone numbers (not hard to do in this digital age where we press speed dial). It causes embarrassment and possibly a degree of shame.

When God humbles us, it’s actually a sign of belonging to God. The Lord disciplines those He loves (Hebrews 12:6). He chastises us for our good, that we might partake of His holiness (Hebrews 12:10). To a certain degree, God humbles his children all of their life in various ways to remind them who they should trust.

In the Apostle Paul’s case, God knew Paul might grow proud over his spiritual advantages. God therefore humbled him with some sort of “thorn in the flesh,” possibly a physical hardship of some kind. The question now becomes: How should we respond when God humbles us?

1. We should ask God to show us what He wants us to learn.
God does not humble us unless He has a very good reason. We must remember that all of God’s motives pass the purity test: He can only do good to us. But God also wants to show us something, or teach us a spiritual lesson. In order to get our attention, He humbles us in some manner. Maybe we face a setback, or suffer some hardship. During such times, we need to ask God if He wants to teach us something. We need to be all ears.

2. We should stay humbled.
What do we mean by this? If our pride somehow contributed to our fall, let’s not grow proud again. We should be willing to “associate with the lowly” (Romans 12:16). Once we’re back on our feet and begin to accomplish things, let’s not forget who lifted us up. One way to remember this is to walk humbly and depend on God alone.

3. Be willing to be used by God to lift others up.
When others grow discouraged by the trials of life, let’s remember we once walked in their shoes. We should not forget how lonely and helpless we felt. We would have welcomed a friendly face and helping hand. God can use us to lift the spirits of those discouraged, who in turn, will one day help others.

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