As a non Christian I always wondered why a great and powerful god would brag about being great and powerful. After all, assuming this god exists, shouldn’t he take the moral high ground and be humble about it? Where was his humility?
And why does God demand we worship him? Shouldn’t he be meek and humble and self abasing? And yet throughout the Bible, God constantly calls attention to how wonderful he is.
To me this sounded like a fiery volcano god. A petty god of thunderbolts and lightening, who like Zeus, was nothing more than a cosmic bully. Even if this god could prove he existed, I knew such a god would always be morally inferior to his subjects. To worship such a creature would be a step down. And I was no butt kissing sycophant.
Might does not make right. Power does not equal perfection. So I dismissed God out of hand and looked for higher ground. Until June 13, 1994, that higher ground was me, myself and I.
Why God Is Humble Even When He Says He’s Great (Thank you John Piper)
No one likes a braggart. When a normal person says he’s great, we instantly know there’s something wrong with him. Even a brilliant person who proclaims his greatness is looked upon with disdain.
The reason? No matter how great, or how brilliant we are, there’s always something bigger or better outside of ourselves. No one is perfect. There’s always someone smarter, someone stronger, someone who in some way is more uniquely gifted.
So when we say we’re great, we draw attention to ourselves. We put the focus on a limited, flawed being who is mortal, egocentric and full of obvious failings. It’s like someone drawing your attention away from a magnificent sunrise so you can look at their mini flashlight. Not too impressive is it?
Those who brag about their gifts know there is something greater than themselves. They simply ignore this fact and steer people to their limits instead of the infinite.
Not so with our God. When God says he’s great, he is describing an objective property of himself. Water is wet, ice is cold, the sky is high. God is great. It’s like a guy who’s 6 foot 9 saying he’s tall. Is he bragging?
Or better yet, imagine asking a man who’s 9 feet tall, “Is there anyone like you?” Is the man bragging when he says “there is no one like me. I’m the tallest man in the world.” Obviously in this case, he is the tallest man in the world. To say he’s short or common place would not be humility. It would be a bold faced lie.
And this is the crux. God does not lie. God is the sum total of everything good. When He proclaims his greatness it’s not because He’s insecure. He’s just stating the facts.
Unlike the human braggart, God wants you to be all that you can be. And that means being focused on Him. He is not pointing you to a cul de sac. He is pointing you to the wide open sea. There is nothing greater than He is. And so God in His desire for your good, points you to Himself. If God claimed He was nothing, He would not be humble. He would be a liar.
So What Does Real Humility Look Like For Us Humans?
Real humility is about standing your true height. It’s seeing things in their true perspective and saying what is. It’s not about being self abasing and trying to look small. But with human beings, we are small. So we are correct not to state our strengths with braggadocio.
We can talk about our talents and gifts. But we should always be mindful of our failings too. And when we talk about our gifts, we should be doing so not to draw attention to ourselves, but to the awe inspiring God who gave them to us! When all is said and done, they need to see the brilliant sunrise, not our dim flashlight!
Jesus Was Humble, Even By The Standards of An Atheist
On a final note, while God is all powerful, He also is humble. Through Jesus He came to Earth to serve when He could have ruled. Jesus washed people’s feet. He fed their hunger. He was quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. Even for athiests, He was a model of how to treat others.
Our God knew we needed a human to look up to. So He gave us someone who was both human and God. True humility looks to helping others with what you’ve got. And not letting your ego get in the way of what’s good for the other person. This is what our God did and still does for us. This is one of the many reasons I love Him.
For other blogs, see Below
Does God Send Good People To Hell? Are Christians Just Mean Spirited?
Who is God? Are we really good? Should God just accept us as we are?
Do You Suffer From Delusions of Adequacy?
Here are two ways to find out!