LESSON IN HUMILITY FROM MOSES
Some men want to be leaders so others will think they are important and be impressed with them. There are other men who don’t want to lead because they are afraid people may criticize them. They fear failure and rejection. In both these cases it is pride that is behind these feelings. Pride makes some men feel better than others, and it leads others to think they aren’t as good as others. Pride doesn’t just mean we think we are superior others; pride also can lead to us thinking we are inferior to others. In both cases the person is self-centered, thinking about themselves before anything else. Pride is self-centeredness, focusing on self.
I have struggled with fear of failure and rejection, and at times that kept me from being a good leader because I was more concerned about what others thought than with doing what was right. Moses had this same struggle. He didn’t want to be a leader. He made five excuses to God about why he couldn’t be a leader (Exodus 4). He was afraid he would fail, or the people wouldn’t follow him, or something would go wrong. That is pride because that is thinking about yourself instead of God. Yet God patiently worked with Moses, showing him that He would be with him, helping him, and that he could be a good leader if he depended on God for wisdom and strength. Moses learned to be humble, and the Bible tells us he was very humble, more than anyone else (Numbers 12:3). Humility means we don’t think we are better than others or inferior to others. It means thinking we are equal to others. But it also means realizing that we are in total need of God’s help to life for Him and serve Him. Moses learned to be humble.
How did Moses learn to be humble? God used the painful struggles in his life to teach him to depend on God and not himself. He learned to overcome his fear of criticism and rejection by focusing on God instead of himself or others. We cannot have faith in God and fear of others at the same time; one will push the other out. Moses learned to grow his faith in God so it was greater than his fear of others.
Ask God to show you if there is any self-centeredness in you that keeps you from trusting and following Him. Are you afraid of what others will think or say, of failure or rejection? Do you like being a leader because others are impressed with you? How can you become more humble like Moses?
Moses was a good, faithful leader who was used by God, but that doesn’t it was easy for him to lead the Jews. Sometimes the people loved and followed him, other times they blamed all their problems on him and wanted to kill him and go back to Egypt (Exodus 14:11-12; 32:1; 7:9; Numbers 12:1,8; 16:1,3). The same was true of Jesus. He wasn’t liked by everyone either, and He said that the same would happen to us (Luke 6:26).
The Bible says that when we are criticized, and we will be criticized, we should keep silent and listen (John 19:9; Proverbs 17:27-28). Think about what is said before reacting in self-defense (Proverbs 15:28; James 1:19-20). Learn what good you can from the words spoken and think carefully before responding (Proverbs 15:1; 16:21; 25:15). When you do respond, do so in love and humility. If others don’t accept what you say, don’t argue. Let God change their hearts in His time. Humble yourself and be quick to apologize if you should (1 Samuel 15:24, 30; 25:28). Don’t give in just to keep the peace, but don’t get into a fight either (Ephesians 4:31; Proverbs 17:14). Don’t defend yourself. Just listen, learn what is helpful, apologize for what you could have done better, forgive them for hurt caused against you and leave in peace. The best place to learn and practice those skills is at home with your mate and family.
Philippians 2:3-8 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
How do you respond when you are criticized? Does your mate feel free to make suggestions to you? What can you do to better learn from criticism? Do you apologize for your part in things or find reasons to blame the other person? Are you quick to forgive those who hurt you by what they say?
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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