Humility. It's the one characteristic that is essential to living the Christ-honoring life. Opportunities to reveal our Christ-like character are presented daily. How we respond to situations reveals much about us. Sometimes we evaluate ourselves and assume we're further along the spiritual journey toward maturity. We may feel like a mature follower of Christ but our actions can speak louder than words.
We may have a sudden outburst that deeply wounds a trusted friend or loved one or we act on a temptation that has been plaguing us for months. Inconsistency in our behavior makes it difficult for others to trust us. There are crucial moments in all of our lives when we must humble ourselves, apologize for our behavior, ask for forgiveness and change direction. The bible calls this repentance. The Apostle Paul poignantly identifies the difference between the repentant God-honoring life and a life that is full of spiritual ambiguity by saying, "Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death." 2 Corinthians 7:10 NIV
King Josiah was the great grandson of King Hezekiah. It was reported that Josiah's father, Amon, was the most sinful of all the wicked kings of Judah. He was assassinated in his palace by a band of conspirators composed of his own servants two years after inheriting the throne. The people avenged his death by slaying the conspirators and putting the king's son, Josiah, on the throne at age eight. Amon declared publicly he could live the wicked godless life and repent like his father Manasseh on his deathbed. Amon never had the chance to repent. You can read more about the depravity and succession of this family of kings here.
Repentance plays a crucial role in the God-honoring life not only for individuals but for nations as well. God responds to our humbled heart. The birth of Jesus was preceded by the birth of John the Baptist whose message of repentance prepared the way for coming King of Kings to enter our world. Humility comes before repentance like pride before a fall. The familiar figurines of the Nativity are often formed kneeling at the side of the baby in the manger. Like them, may we humble ourselves, repent and kneel at the side of his manger as we find our way to the Christ child this year.
Tell the king of Judah, who sent you to inquire of the Lord, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says concerning the words you heard: 19 Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the Lord when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people—that they would become a curse[b] and be laid waste—and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I also have heard you, declares the Lord. 2 Kings 22:18-19 NIV