Can You Touch Your Ear With Your Elbow?

Can you touch your ear with your elbow? Have you ever tried it? If you have, you know it can’t be done. It’s physically impossible – and unimportant, I might add.

There are many things we can’t do. We don’t need to be reminded that we are finite, limited creatures. Yet we like to believe in a God we suppose to be infinite, a deity that can do anything. Omnipotence (omni “all”, “potent power”) has always been implicit in the idea of deity. To the Christian, omnipotence is attributed where ability matches will. In other words, God can only do what He wills to do. 

A young boy thought he would stump the minister with what he thought was a clever concept. He asked, “If God can do anything, can He make a rock so big that He can’t lift it?” Such a silly internal logic is hard to deal with, but the answer was that God cannot violate His own will. 

Let us consider one of the areas in which God is constricted in omnipotence. One thing God cannot do: something that would violate His nature if He did it. The one thing which God cannot do is to humble you. For that matter, no one can humble you. Now you can be humiliated. You can humiliate others. But you cannot be humbled – by God or any human being. 

When you think of it, this is a tremendous insight, isn’t it? No one, not even God can humble us. It emphatically underscores the value of humanity and the high estate our Creator gave us in granting us this protection. NO ONE CAN HUMBLE YOU! Your ego is a fortress, an invulnerable sanctuary that cannot be invaded from the outside. It is the sanctuary of the self. 

The only person, the only force, that can humble you – is you. You and you alone, hold the key to your humility. Ever and always, humility is a subjective act. 

This is not a new insight, humankind has long been aware of it. Way back in Bible times, humility was recognized as a personal act. “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves.” “Whoever humbles himself like a child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4). Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you” (James 4:10). “He who humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12). 

Humility is a do-it-yourself project. It comes through inner volition. This is what makes humility so valuable. It is also what sets humility apart from all other virtue and makes it shine so beautifully when seen in a person who has humbled himself. 

This is also what makes humility so difficult to attain. You cannot depend upon others to give it to you; it only comes through your choice; and it doesn’t come easy. 

We are attracted to the figure of Jesus through His humility. He was humble in the fullest sense of the word. It was not a groveling humility; not self-disparagement; not a spineless humility incompatible with intellect and a vigorous spirit. His was a tough, free, confident humility. He was low of circumstance, of humble beginnings. But that didn’t assure humility in character. He still had to humble himself. 

Paul puts in well in Philippians: 

          “The divine nature was his from the first; yet he did not think to

          snatch at equality with God, but made himself nothing, assuming

          the nature of a slave. Bearing the human likeness, revealed in human

          shape, he humbled himself, and in obedience accepted even death –

          death on a cross” (2:6-8).