The one most essential character trait. . .


no love

It’s not love.  I know, today is Valentine’s Day, so you’re expecting me to say love, but that’s not it.  Yes, Jesus did say,

“‘’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  (Matthew 22:37-40, NIV)

But I see one more character trait  in the great love chapter of the Bible that actually sits right in the middle of love and  makes that love meaningful—and it’s humility. ( I Corinthians 13:4)

Because, lets be real, if the best looking guy (or girl) in town gave you flowers today but had this condescending air that said, “Aren’t you thrilled that I choose you out of all others,” the flowers would not make you feel very good, would they?

Not only is love meaningless without humility, as I read through the book of James, I see that the Word of God can become meaningless without humility (which is a very dangerous situation).  James 1:19-22 is a powerful passage about humbly accepting the word planted in us.  James then gives this great illustration about a person who looks in a mirror and as soon as he walks away from the mirror, forgets what he looks like.

I’ve got this mirror at the top of my stairs that’s amazing.  For the first year we lived in our new house, I would walk up the stairs and look at myself in this mirror and think, “hmm, not too bad Michelle.  You’re looking pretty good for a 47 year who’s gained 15 lbs. and never exercises.”  Then my friend Jody from out of town came to visit.  She took one trip up the stairs and said, “you know that is a skinny mirror, right?”  I was devastated.  In my pride, I couldn’t even see how chubby I was getting.

The person without humility does the same thing with the mirror of
the Word of God
.   Sometimes I read “do not be anxious about anything” but worry all day (Philippians 4:6).  Or read “do everything without complaining or grumbling” and fuss about every little thing (Philippians 2:14.)

Let’s be real, it takes great humility to look into the mirror of God’s word, recognize what I need to change, and let the Spirit of God begin to make the changes.  But that’s what I long for, a real humility like Jesus that helps me love God and others with all my heart–  to look in the mirror and see a humble reflection of Jesus.


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