“Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” (Matt. 18:1)

Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:2-4). Why Yeshua uses the example of a child in His Word? That because the characters of a child are: Innocence, transparency, openness, honesty, directness, humility, truthfulness and complete trust in God. These are characters, which the Lord demands from us, in order to enter into the kingdom of God.

Our Self-humiliation is important in God’s eyes. “And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Matt. 23:12). “… for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:14). “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6). And Yeshua indicates Himself as lowly in spirit: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt. 11:29).

In Yeshua’s parable about the Tax-Collector and the Pharisee in Luke 18:9-14, we can see that Yeshua justifies the Tax-Collector, who humbles himself and He rejects the self-justification of the Pharisee. (Self justification is part of a religious spirit). “And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 18:13-14).

Self-humiliation involves meekness. Meekness is one of the true believer’s signs. True believer is ready always to receive conviction for sin, confesses immediately and repents. True believer, not willing to remain in his sin for even a minute, when he knows that sin separates between him and God. All of us are still in our sinful flesh and might fail. But – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 John 1:9-10). Sometimes we get angry with brothers who convict us, because it is unpleasant for us when somebody reveal the works of our flesh, but it would be better for this to happen now on earth than before the Lord. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10). When we reject the conviction, we miss the opportunity to humble ourselves before a Holy God, (He respects that) and to repent to Him and to receive His forgiveness (1 John 1:9). Instead, we blame the brother with judgment or criticism, keep him away from us and justify ourselves. When we justify ourselves, we despise the Lord’s justification – He is our righteousness! He has justified us by His blood!  “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood…” (Rom. 5:9).

King David is an good example for us, as a man who failed in sin, and when the prophet Nathan convicted him about his sin, he humbled himself and confessed: “Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight— That You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge” (Psalms 51:4). By these words, David confesses that he has sinned in his deeds against God (and not only against person). David justifies God (and not himself) and also declares that He is God of justice. 

What can we learn today from David’s character? He loved God with all of his heart and soul, therefore his heart broke, when he understood he sinned against God. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart. These, O God, You will not despise” (Psalms 51:17). He also understood the outcome: “Then You (God) shall be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering; Then they shall offer bulls on Your altar” (there verse 19). When we repent to God with a broken heart and spirit, after we received the conviction, He forgives and accepts our “sacrifice” which is: worship, praise, thanksgiving and of course prayer. 

But if we haven’t accepted the conviction and haven’t repented, then… 

David was a man after God’s heart (Acts 13:22). He is an example for all of us today! 

Paul, the greatest apostle, also teaches us self-humiliation. “For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God” (1 Cor. 15:9). 

Paul didn’t take the glory to himself for being the great apostle. He knew that everything he acted and worked in his life was by God’s grace: “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (there verse 10). Paul gave God all the glory for his ministry and works and this is an example for all of us today.

Our self-humiliation before God and giving glory to God, in everything we do, must work together in our spiritual life. “…do all to the glory of God”(1 Cor. 10:31)I am the Lord, that is My name; And My glory I will not give to another…” (Isa. 42:8).   

When we stand rightly before God and do His will, we receive the reword: “That you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Phil. 1:10-11). Amen!