Proverbs 15:33 says, “The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.”
In each proverb thoughts are intentionally linked together. Isn’t it interesting that the fear of the Lord, instruction and wisdom are linked together with humility? Many times instruction puffs us up. Not so with the wisdom that comes from knowing and loving God. When we learn of God’s justice, love, mercy, strength and His countless other attributes we should be humbled.
Humility is more than just an attitude though. It is an action. Humility displays itself in the way we treat others. It’s not that we think we ought to serve others, but we actually serve others. Meekness is thinking of others as better than you. This doesn’t mean you’re worthless. It means your find your greatest joy in looking for ways to serve others and then acting on your investigative work. Meekness is the attitude that brings about humility, but humility is more than an attitude – it is an action.
Many of us believe we are humble. Yet, is there evidence to prove this in your life? When was the last time you put your own interest aside and spent time serving your family, your friends, your co-workers, your neighbors, your church family? When was the last time you put down the remote and gave your family your undivided attention? When was the last time you gave a gift or sent a card without any desire to be thanked? When was the last time you heard of a need in someone’s life and you secretly met that need without anyone else knowing about it? We all like to think of ourselves as humble, but would there be enough evidence to support your claim?
This type of thinking flies in the face of our nature. Our nature tells us to eat or be eaten. Our nature moves us to be greedy, to hoard, and to think only of ourselves. There must be a change within us for our desire to move away from our self-centered interest and focus on serving others. According to this proverb, this shift only happens in light of the instruction of the Lord. It is there that we learn humility is better than honor. It is there that we learn it is more blessed to give than to receive. It is in this instruction that we learn that the last shall be first. Even if these truths aren’t recognized in this life, they will be in the one to come.
Humility is indeed greater than honor and can only be attained through the instruction of the Lord.