The Pathway to Humility

The Pathway to Humility

May 18, 2017

“He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” Deuteronomy 8:3 (NIV)

Devotion Graphic

A friend of mine who is a young leader at a growing organization recently confessed to me some discouragement he’d been wrestling through. Basically, he’d been working so hard, seen great success, but was given no recognition or encouragement by his leaders. And hardest of all, due to some transitions in the company, he’d been demoted to a lower position.

I asked him a seemingly strange question on the heels of him pouring out his heart to me: “Do you know what the opposite of pride is?”

He tilted his head and asked his own question, “Do you think I’m struggling with pride?”

I wasn’t trying to imply my young friend was prideful. I was setting the stage to help him see his circumstances through a different lens.

So I simply stated, “I believe the opposite of pride is trust in God. Pride begs us to believe it all depends on us. Trusting God requires us to place our dependence on Him. And the pathway that leads us away from pride and into a place of truly trusting God is paved with humility. Humility is never bought at a cheap price. It will always cost us something but will be worth the price we pay.

“Might God be using these humbling circumstances to get you to a place of deep and unshakable trust in Him? If God sees big things ahead for you, and I believe He does, then He must remove all hints of pride. Even if pride is but a tiny thorn in your heart now, when you are given a bigger position with more recognition, that pride will grow from a thorn to a dagger with the potential to kill your calling.”

In the Old Testament, we see God revealing this same kind of pride-stripping process by feeding the children of Israel manna in the desert for the purpose of humbling them. It was crucial that God prepare them to trust Him as they stepped from the desert into their destined Promised Land.

Deuteronomy 8:2 says, “Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.”

And then our key verse Deuteronomy 8:3 goes on to reveal, “He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.”

So why exactly was having to eat manna so humbling? And what can we glean from Deuteronomy 8:3 for our own lives today?

Here are three things I think we can take away from today’s key verse:

  1. God is our provider.

The children of Israel were used to looking down at the ground in Egypt and working the land to provide for themselves. They trusted their own hard work for their provision. Now, they would need to look up and trust God for His provision.

  1. God’s provision is what we need but not always what we want.

This manna God provided was not like the normal food the Israelites were used to providing for themselves. But God knew it was the perfect nourishment for those in the desert. He knows our needs better than we do. God is more concerned about our ultimate good than our temporary pleasure.

  1. God’s provision protects our heart. Our desires have the potential of corrupting our heart.

Man-made bread is not what gives the fullness of life God desires for us. Man-made success, riches and popularity are the same way. They will not fulfill us like we think they will. Only the Word of God can seep into the hungry places of our souls and make the dead and discouraged places within come fully alive and deeply satisfied. We must want Him most of all. And then He will see our hearts are prepared and trustworthy to handle other things.

At the end of our discussion, my young friend thanked me for helping him see that in each hard step of his journey as a leader, he’s either walking the pathway of pride, by trusting himself, OR the pathway of humility, which is trusting God. And the same is true for each of us.

May we all choose to trust Him and let that be the lens through which we process our circumstances. May we see how God isn’t trying to break our hearts but rather make us ready for what He sees just ahead.

Lord, thank You for always having my best in mind. Search my heart for any shred of pride. And help me live a life of humble and complete surrender to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
James 4:6, “But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.’” (NIV)

RELATED RESOURCES:
The things of this world will never fulfill us. So where do we look for true soul satisfaction? Discover how Jesus fully fulfills every cry of our heart with Lysa TerKeurst’s new study, Finding I AM. You can order here today.

CONNECT:
You can follow along with Lysa as she follows after the heart of God at her blog and on Instagram.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Have you recently walked through a situation that was tremendously humbling? How could God actually be using that to do a good work in your heart?

© 2017 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.

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Comments

  1. Kristen Kreuzwieser says:

    If you only knew the ways God used your words to speak to my heart and soul this morning. No matter how challenging a path may be, I’m thankful He’s showing me humility. He has directed my mind & heart to this concept more & more recently. Each time I think I may be starting to get it, He so lovingly guides me & redirects me & reminds me He is my loving Shepherd who I can focus on at all times & trust for everything I need. I’m so grateful. Thank you for this. ❤️

  2. Kendra Schmidt says:

    Wasn’t able to sleep the last couple hours before my alarm clock will go off because of a struggle in my life God is obviously working on in me. God brought this at the perfect time to see things in a new lens. Thanks for being used by God to help others, like me, on their journey with the Lord.

  3. Margaret says:

    Thanks Lysa. Just the word l needed today! Been going through something that has left me with alot of questions. God really does work in amazing ways. God bless you

  4. I’ve been reading “Dark Night of the Soul,” written in the 1500’s by St. John of the Cross. He shares the same wisdom you do here, Lysa: what we perceive as dry desert time is actually God working in our spirits to strip away our attachment to the sweet feeling we get from our good God-moments. God’s goal, says St. John of the Cross, is “to prepare our senses and faculties for union with God through love.” We have to let go of what is good to free our spirits for God’s best.

  5. Exactly what I’ve been dealing with. Just struggling with where I am. I also got caught up with the Instagram lies. Peeping on people’s instagram and just envying their lives. God keeps reminding me He’s got me. Envy and pride are two sins that go hand in hand. When you envy, you are indirectly saying God is not able and just like Lysa said the opposite of pride is trusting God.
    Dear God, thank you for giving me the grace to be grateful for where you have me knowing that your plans for me are of good in Jesus name.

  6. Johanna Miller says:

    Being a parent is always humbling. Especially of teens as they are striking out their own which is great but being deceitful
    Is not. My daughter didn’t come to her dads office when she was supposed to after being out with friends she’s been caught
    Drinking. Then I saw a a couple things in her car which seemed odd. I let my mind go and not trust in the Lord or her. I thought my mothers instinct, pride, was onto something. Again today I humbly set my family before the cross that He may do His work in each of them including me

  7. I needed this word so much this morning. As my husband and I try to learn how to parent a child with special needs, it is very humbling because we have no idea how to do it on our own. I have to rely on God’s wisdom to lead us to the right resources and treatment available. Learning daily to press in and press on!

  8. I’m struggling with completely trusting God right now. After surviving a rough year of cancer, new medication to prevent recurrence is dragging my body and sadly, my soul down. Then last night my husband told me he is worried about his job. I know God has this. Thanks for reminding me of that this morning and helping me remember to lean on Him!

    • Lifting you up in prayer right now, Edith. I pray for healing over your body, renewed strength and joy for your heart. Also for stability in your husbands job, and the courage to trust that He will provide for you, no matter the circumstance. I pray that you are held tightly in the palm of His hand today and every day.

  9. Thank you for the timely words, I also enjoy reading others response (and encouragement) from what is shared, because God’s living Word is just awesome like that, it meets us where we are, speaking into 1000 different situations, yet the Words stand true and individual .
    Thank you Jesus for your goodness and loving guidance in each of your breathed words.

  10. Like anything else, the struggle between pride and humility is a constant and daily struggle. Especially in this time of social media, digital over-sharing, comment boards, etc. Everyone has an opinion and feels the need to share it. Humility is about yielding control to God. He already knows our feelings, we don’t need to remind everyone so much. That’s a lesson I had to learn the hard way. Letting God handle things is hard, I like to be in control, or at least feel like I’m contributing. Though most days, I am very thankful that God is control instead of me!

    • Julie, I completely relate to not reminding others of our feelings. That has been a struggle for me for so long. Recently I have been remembering to tell God my feelings and trust that He will meet my needs.

    • Nathalie V says:

      I can totally relate with what you said Julie. I was (and sometimes am) overly opinionated and the Lord has been really tailoring my desire to constantly respond when one isn’t really needed from me. I am grateful that He is in control of my tongue and sanctifying me in this way daily.

  11. Sandra Pleasure says:

    . Pride begs us to believe that it depends on us. I’ve always been able to fix things, make it right, take care of others. Doing things for myself and others have put more dependence on me and less on God. Every ounce of me has tried to finance my daughter’s college expenses. In spite of my well-laid plans things, I only have a fraction of what’s needed. There is so much uncertainty looming in the air concerning this situation
    and I stop and reflect how God has provided for me and continues to do so. I choose to walk in the pathway of humility and trust God for my provision. For a doer like me trusting is hard but I will walk this out stumbling at times but trusting that God is my provider.

  12. God used this devotion in His perfect timing to speak into my life. I have been in humbling circumstances since my husband was laid off from his job 6 years ago. We had to sell our beautiful house that was so suitable for entertaining and have been moving into successively smaller houses that we rent. I have struggled greatly with my pride as God limits us financially. My husband is self-employed and makes good money but it just doesn’t seem to go far enough. Lately I have found myself longing for my Egypt (the beautiful house, nice neighborhood, vacations, etc.) instead of praising God for His provisions and His plan. I have felt overlooked at my church, watching as my friends are asked to serve on ministry teams as I sit on the sidelines. Please God help me to be faithful to You and You alone. You are answering my prayers. I repent of my comparisons and envy. I rejoice in your timing and Your provisions.

  13. Shirley Stallworth says:

    Needed this word today Lysa.

    Thank you.

    Shirley

  14. Kathryn says:

    Just what I needed. Thank you for sharing the wisdom what God placed on your heart. 💗

  15. Even in the smallest of ways, this has spoken to my heart. I have been dealing with anxiety and some depression for almost a year now. It has been tiring and has left me with lots of questions and strong moments of anger over this suffering. I am praying that God will carry me through and soften my heart.

  16. Nathalie V says:

    This right here….
    “Might God be using these humbling circumstances to get you to a place of deep and unshakable trust in Him? If God sees big things ahead for you, and I believe He does, then He must remove all hints of pride. Even if pride is but a tiny thorn in your heart now, when you are given a bigger position with more recognition, that pride will grow from a thorn to a dagger with the potential to kill your calling.” – See more at: http://proverbs31.org/devotions/devo/the-pathway-to-humility/#comments

    I don’t have any words right now but what you said here totally spoke to me. I’ve been going through some serious financial struggles lately, looking for a job with not much success, frustrated, up and down emotionally, confused…..all types of craziness brewing in me but I believe what you said here hits the nail right on the head for me; you just put words to my situation. Thank you for this and I will be meditating on this devotional today.

    God bless you all!

  17. Kara Landorf says:

    This is everything I needed to read this morning. Pride was a big obstacle in my life. He has taken and He has provided and He has shown me this area of my life. Slowly, He corrected me and I am in awe of Him

  18. God’s timing is perfect. Had just been praying and wrestling with struggles over finances and fears for our future. Worried about losing our house and what others will think. And then I read this devotion – God speaking to me through this, perfect timing. God is so faithful!

  19. I’m not envious or jealous about anyone’s success,but this devotion spoke to me too. At my workplace, over lunch break I started a conversation about how important is the physical appearance (proffesioaly).Yet, I didn’t realize that my words hurt (even tough I wasn’t criticizing anyone) one of my dearest friends and co- worker.Next day,I felt something in my heart that it wasn’t correct at all. Then, I read a bible scripture Matthew 5:23 I knew my friend was offended…once again over my lunch break, I humble myself ,apologized ,and clarify what I meant to say.I was relieved!! I deeply thank you my LORD because I used to be way too proud, but not anymore.HE is continuously reshaping me.Thank Father for loving me no matter what!!!

  20. Kitty Hoffman says:

    Wow…this is exactly what I need to hear at this stage in my life! I have been struggling with pride lately…knowing that God has me where he wants me to be at the moment but I am restless!. I know that He has something planned that can only happen after I have overcome my pride issues, embrace humility and the lessons that accompany. I feel God’s rumbling inside of me and can’t wait to see what He has in store!

    • Merle Nursten says:

      Kitty this is me 100% I thank God for what’s to come in my life and I know His plans far out reaches my biggest hearts desire…but I need to know without a doubt that I am where He wants me to be to be I need to be obedient. My pride is right in my face at the moment and He’s teaching me!! And I need to listen!! Whew, yo put it all so simply but I think its gonna change my life Kitty! Xx

  21. God is so amazing. Just recently, like within the past 24 hours, I was thinking about the stories in the Bible and the significance of the details that we overlook. Ironically the story and detail that came to my mind was when the Israelites were in the desert and the manna that God fed them. I wondered what I may be overlooking. I knew the basic truth that God provides and gives just what we need when we need it. But, wow! Lysa, you have no idea how much your insight has resonated with me. God has certainly used you to speak to me. He is answering my prayers and giving me wisdom and guidance about my circumstances that I have struggled with for over 20 years and about my children’s futures. God is so good! I’m in awe of how He put manna on my mind and then your devotion today was on that specifically!

  22. I was “humbled by today’s devotion…thank you again for starting my day with just what I needed

  23. Deborah Dean says:

    Thank you Lisa

  24. Anne Fernandes says:

    I. Love. This!!!! Oh, this was sweet reading this morning, Lysa, and I’m so thankful to have read it! I will use it in my study today 🙂

  25. Kathy Wyg says:

    Good Morning….Lysa….of all your story/devo’s….this one was the best….I would love to send you some comments….is there a specific e-mail to send them to….thanks

    Have a blessed day…..guys…..

    Here is my info….
    Kathy Wyg
    Bwygant@bellsouth.net

  26. Melanie says:

    Ouch. It’s so funny that I’ve always equated fear with faithlessness, and IT IS, but this. Pride is also distrust of God, faithlessness in His ability and provision. Such a hard lesson. A slap in my face as if from a sister making me wake up. I have struggled my entire life with pride. I know it will be the thorn that I struggle with for the rest of my life. Even this morning getting bent out of shape over a perceived slight from someone (and it definitely was, but my reaction should be humility).

    God be patient with me. Holy Spirit sanctify me that I will humble myself before the LORD and not seek prestige or recognition or power. Jesus thank you for being my example of real humility even to death on a cross.

  27. Kate Baugher says:

    I am a single mother to the worlds most adorable 4 year old. I struggle everyday with wanting control over everything, including my sons father. I want to be the best mom that I can but I also seem to always want to prove that I am better than my sons father. Recently I have been trying to let go of that and giving his dad more of a chance to be there for my son. It has done nothing but great things for my son and myself. Although, it is extremely hard to let go and feel as though I am losing control it is great for my son and has brought so much happiness to him. God has a plan and I trust that God will help me through these tough times. Thank you for this read today, gave me encouragement to keep on keeping on 🙂

  28. I really needed this today! And I’ve never made the connection that relying on myself is being prideful. I knew I worried too much, but didn’t understand that it’s coming from a prideful place. Lord let me fully rely on you for every provision!

  29. Coco Symone says:

    A very nourishing and encouraging article.

  30. My husband and I have been on the pathway to humility ever since we got married in 2010. Our ‘word’ for 2017 is humility; we wrote the word humility on a stone and decorated it so that we can have it as a reminder of our journey. This message was a beautiful reminder that God is our provider and knows the exact route we need to take that will take us to that place of deep unshakable trust in God alone.

  31. Wow thank you for this word I never looked at it in that way.

    Blessings Robin

  32. Anna Snell says:

    I recently came through a very humbling situation at my workplace, this article has opened a window in some dark places in my heart that were filled with bitterness. As I was reading it I began to think, “yes, Lord! I understand maybe what you were doing here!” and its encouraging.

    Thank you for your words.

  33. Living for Jesus. says:

    Lysa, thank you this was a blessing to me. May God blessing be upon you. God Bless.

  34. Wow! It’s as if you know my situation at the moment. Thanks for blessing me.

  35. Jesse Noel says:

    Thank you for sharing this timely devotional, words my heart and mind very much have been needing to hear. Over the past several months, God has gently, yet persistently, opened my eyes to the truth and depth of my own pride. (“Prideful! Who, me? Certainly others, but me? I’m not that prideful. Why, I take pride in my lack of…pride….Oh. Oh, my. Yes, Lord, I see what you mean.”) It’s understandable how this sin came to be known as “deadly.” But in learning how pride leads away from faith in God and love for one another, I hadn’t really considered how his ridding us of our pride also prepares us for what he has in store. Thank you all for your insights and inspiration.

  36. I have been dealing with a loss relationship, I though we were in a relationiship, he was thinking other thoughts because he actualy walked out on me about this time last year, I was shell shocked up until about two months ago, and I reached out to him and wanted to meet, to get some whys out of the way and just to see him one more time, even though clearly he didn’t really care for me or what impact it had on me at all, which effected me in a huge way. I have really fallen into a deep depression these last two months, I suffer from a depression anyway, have migrains on top of it. This is the first time in my 49years that I have gone this long without being with someone. It is a very lonely feeling. My last child of 5 is graduating high school this coming Monday night, so I am dealing with my role change, which I am having problems dealing with as well. This whole last year I have worked 3 or 4 jobs to get out of the financially situation I have been in, that is finally getting better stating next month. I am going through this what do I do know, I know I have a allot of healing to do not just because of this last relationship, of never finding out what happen, but I was in an abusive marriage to the kids father for 22 years, then a couple of abusinve relationships after that. I know I have allot of healing to do before I let another man in my life and my kids life.,. I did learn one important leason out of this last relationship as I thought, I will not introduce any man into my kids life until I have been with him for awhile and know he is gong to stick around. I have no intentions of letting a man in my life right now until I can heal from all of these past hurts so I can be healthy for once in my life. So keep me in your prayers, I struggle everyday just to get up and face another day

    • Deborah says:

      Praying God will be the perfect husband to you and the perfect Father to your children. Claiming His Promise for you as I pray. May healing come. God is so faithful and His mercies are new every morning to carry us through that day. Psalm 68:5 Deborah

  37. This is exact for my situation. Today’s devotion is an answer from God, for my questions, that I was asking Him.. So precise. PRAISE God.

  38. Carolyn R says:

    Hi Lysa, I can so sympathize with the young man in your message today. I have been in the same place and am just now learning the lesson you shared with him. Where was your message 10-15 years ago? Just kidding! Blessings to Proverbs 31!

  39. Thank you so much for these true words! It was just what I needed! God’s ways are truly higher than ours!

  40. Lysa.. I have been in a year long battle of offense with another family. It involved our adult children who are dating. The concern, fear, anxiety elevated to hatred and nearly killed my relationship with my daughter and even my husband. Three days ago after 9 months of sheer silence between us the other couple showed up at our door. They wanted to talk. My husband shared our concerns, but just as he began to share what we’re really my offenses I stopped him. A sudden confidence came over me to ‘own’ my feelings, faults, and anxiety. As I spoke their defenses came down. Our daughter began to shed tears and I thought if I’d come this far I’d lay my heart out completely prostrate before them in hopes that I was fully capable of what I felt God wanted me to do. I began to cry but did not stop the process of humbling myself before everyone in the room. I had to take responsibility for my actions or lack thereof to be the welcoming person I knew I should’ve been.
    Although the other mother admitted various things she’d said over the year, she did not apologize for anything. Believe me there was definite reason too. However it wasn’t about that. It was about me at that moment and how I was finally brought to the most humbling part of myself and asked forgiveness for holding offense. I begged God to move on my behalf and remove the source of my pain. I guess I never realized that I was actually the one causing so much distress. I learned that I need to work on finding my voice and addressing such situations when they happen. I learned what it felt like to forgive. I learned that though the road was bumpy and long, God used my pain for my gain. I never realized before that the path to peace begins with a humble heart. My anxiety, nightmares, panic attacks and hatred have all ceased since that day. I feel free for the first time in a year and probably ever! As now I know that pride and peace can’t coexist in one heart.
    After we closed with hugs and tears, my daughter came right into my arms for a big baby bear hug. I never knew how much pain my growing hate caused her and my husband. I only hate the lesson I had to learn, but just like a child that finally passed the class they struggled with, I’m grateful that my teacher pressed in to tutor me in the best way he knew would prepare me for my future, whatever that may be. 😉
    I look forward to meeting you at the She Speaks Conference in NC this July. I have a feeling that what I planned to write is being orchestrated into a new direction.
    Blessings!
    ~ Nancy

  41. Laura D Jones says:

    Had a huge blow to my ego today! Reading this made me realize how prideful I have been about the situation. Thank you for such insight.

  42. Priscilla Simon says:

    A very beautiful, inspiring message today. Thanku! Praise God!

  43. Susan G. says:

    Thanks for this good word. I haven’t really thought of the opposite of pride as not trusting God, but it totally makes sense!
    Thanks for the eye-opener!

  44. Thank you for such a humbling reminder Mrs. TerKeurst. It is so true of how easy we can oversee pride when it’s just a tiny little thorn until it becomes a dagger that our human nature wrongly justifies as something right. Love the true opposite of pride. And yes I pray that during hard situations I would be reminded to TOTALLY & UNDOUBTEDLY Trust GOD!

  45. Thank you for your sweet message and speaking to my heart. I have been praying to God daily to help me let go of my pride and to love (again). It’s been a battle.

  46. Betsy Heller says:

    Thank you for this devotion. My husband and I have just moved from a home of about 5000sf in a “popular” neighborhood to half of a duplex we own that is 750sf on the “wrong” side of the tracks. I truly feel the Lord is leading us down this path, but my husband has been feeling like he is in “jail”. I know He is preparing the next step for us. Our kids have left home and my parents who lived with us passed away this past year. In some ways it feels like “failure” to take a step back but I know He has something planned and we needed to get ready.
    Thank you again for the scripture and devotion!

  47. B E Flowers says:

    I am so grateful I read this devotion today. I, too, am struggling within myself as I complete a personal journey and start on another one. I am conflicted about how to proceed. I know everyday I need God to direct my path because I cannot make it without Him. Too many things and temptations want to take His rightful place, head of my life. He alone has brought me this far and the only way I will fall is taking my eyes off him and putting them of temporal things of this world. No, I am not a young, wide-eyed doe, impressable to the trappings of the world, but still, I am fallable to sin and satan’s device to strip me of my most valuable possession, heaven and my soul. Please saints of God pray my faith fail me not.

  48. yenny corredor says:

    Of course I am facing many situations in my work,I am teaching english in a college but I am new at my job I really do not know how to do it well and I fail so my boss is cheking what I do and she gets very upset about my behaviour and she shows me in front of my students, it has been dificult but I know God is working on my proud heart.

  49. Thanks, Lisa, this was helpful.

  50. Courtney Martinet says:

    Thank you for this message. It is so true that God keeps bringing things in my life for the purpose of increasing my dependence on Him. And like the Israelites, I need to learn this lesson over and over. I appreciate your reminder. It’s timely 🙂

  51. Thank you Lysa. I am so thankful for your ministry! You are a powerful woman of God. Thank you for your work! I sincerely appreciate all that you do. May God continue to bless you. Thank you again for all that you do! 💕

  52. Shelly Fitch says:

    Lysa, I just want you to know what an inspiration you have been to me the last couple of months. I too found out 8 weeks ago that my husband of 24.5 years hasn’t been faithful to our marriage. The hardest part was telling our church of which my husband had been the pastor for 12 years. Even though I wasn’t the one who unfaithful, I felt like I had let them all down. We were supposed to be the “example”…this wasn’t supposed to happen to us. However, when I read of your story, I seen the Devil isn’t respecter of persons. You have been an active in the ministry for all these years.. I have seen you at Women of Faith many times doing what God called you to do. The Devil attacks all… Just as you , I am leaning on the Lord everyday and praying for his guidance in my life. My husband and I have been separated for 8 weeks and will be signing dissolution papers in a week. Such a scary thought being alone again but I know that with God ALL Things are possible. I just finished UNINVITED and it was such a blessing to me. I hope there will be another book released soon 🙂 God Bless in all that you do !

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