If you were sitting in a small group, talking to Christ (can you even imagine?) what would you ask? I’d probably ask something like:
- Is it worth the trouble? Do I even have a shot at this exaltation thing?
- What are the most important things for me to fix? (Listed by priority, please!)
- How can I make sure my whole family and I (and all my other favorite people) are together in the celestial kingdom?
- What should my life mission be?
- What about that polygamy thing?
When the disciples had the fireside chat with Christ (to be fair, they had lots of them, so this wasn’t their one and only Q&A), one of them asked:
Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
I’ve always wondered at that. I’ve never really wondered who was greatest. I just want to be somewhere in the hierarchy. I don’t really care where it is. Greatest, least, fair to middling. Just let me in the door and I’m a happy camper.
Christ answered the question, but not until he’d given a one-sentence sermonette:
Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
At all. Forget who’s on first. If you want to get in the door, become as a child. Then he answers:
Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
There it is. Be humble like a child.
But becoming humble is an exercise in incongruity! I once asked my dad why he never ended a prayer with the common: “We say these things, humbly, in the name…” He answered, “I always figured if I claiming to be humble, I probably wasn’t.”
As Marlin K. Jensen pointed out:
Consciously trying to acquire humility is also problematic. I remember once hearing one of my colleagues in the Seventy say about humility that “if you think you have it, you don’t.” He suggested we should try to develop humility and be sure we didn’t know when we got it, and then we would have it. But if we ever thought we had it, we wouldn’t.
King Benjamin teaches the gradual process that leads us to many “childlike” attributes, that can lead us to God:
- full of love
- willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him
Still a fuzzy character trait to seek, but it seems to me that working toward the other things on that list can lead one to humility overall.
Having spent years feeling so beat up and insecure, the idea of becoming “humble” on a Christlike scale feels like I’m being required to put myself at the mercy of those who would treat me (or my children) unfairly. But Elder Jensesn clarifies:
Some may wonder if those seeking to become humble must forever defer to the strongly held opinions and positions of others. Certainly the Savior’s life evidences that true humility is anything but subservience, weakness, or servility.
Christlike humility isn’t about human insecurity or vulnerability. It’s about your relationship with God, in whom we can put our complete trust.
What has helped you develop humility? What behaviors have you seen displayed in those who seem to live this Christlike characteristic?